CREATING AND BEING
My 12-year-old German niece and I created this painting the other day. She has been visiting with us for the past few days and was very excited about the opportunity to use my art resources. I don’t speak good German and she doesn’t speak English so although I was happy to involve her this was one of a number of challenges we faced. Another is that I am not so good at structuring children and it seems that German children have learned to respond within structure. My employment as a social worker for over twenty years involved working with children in various capacities including many years of working with children in crisis and with mental health concerns. I have come to see the value of openness and acceptance with them. One would think that this would be a good way to work with children in creating art and as well maybe encouraging something more authentic in their experience. For me there is always more value in this way of relating and it has come to be more of what I am than a skill that I am utilizing. It seems that many children are not so use to this and can in fact be quite threatened with this way. Is it not really how we teach children; to develop in a structured way and to create an identity. The difficulty may be that art involves spontaneity and intuitive resources that sometimes are dulled with this other way.
To become something is how we often approach the development and teaching of our children rather than to encouraging a love for what they are doing. And this comes with a cost, maybe that they don’t know who they really are or that they don’t know how to do what they love or perhaps even that they have lost touch with what they love to do. It seems to me that art should be something that is a natural expression of our being that involves a deep connection within and it is not a matter of creating something perfect but enjoying or to be absorbed in that creating itself. If we have lost touch with that being this doesn’t comes so easy.