Sunday, January 11, 2015

The One Thing To Encouraging Creativity In Your Kids

"The Ballerinas" -- A drawing by MerriGrace

I had this thought this evening that I am enjoying the golden age of Sabo creativity. Over the past four weeks as our older kids who are in college spent time at home our house was cozily full of people, doubled as a 24-hour restaurant, featured a virtual parking lot full of cars and was a hub of creativity. Music, art, stand-up comedy, cooking, you name it. There was simply this amazing confluence of creativity in a variety of expressions.

Evie and MerriGrace were painting and drawing; Taylor and Ethan, both self-taught guitar players, were writing and singing songs; Claire and Madeline were playing instruments such as guitars, keyboards and the cajon and singing and Claire was cooking ... Brenton is an artist with his coffee-making and a gifted Bible teacher. I could go on down the list. Abram's Legos creations are remarkable. Judah makes us laugh with his creative use of language and expressions and so does Seth.

I was thinking about this after MerriGrace showed me one of her pencil drawings. I think it's beautiful and I was wondering what, if anything, has sparked all this originality in various mediums. Are they born with it? Is it something genetic. I like to joke that I was born without the left side of my brain, the part that's for math and science. I'm more the writing type, I guess, so maybe that's where some of this stems from. Julie is a musician; she sings and plays the piano so maybe that's where the kids get their music chops because it certainly isn't me.

Who knows. It's probably a combination of things and it will be interesting if somewhere in the long line of Sabo kids we get an engineer. Or a mathematician. Maybe even a rocket scientist.

As I was kicking around these things the thought struck me that maybe it's just the way they've played together that has led to these creative giftings. I haven't done any research on it and haven't made this a thesis for my Ph.D. But something I know about a large family and how the kids play together is that it's very creative and encourages creativity.

One of their favorite games over the years has been "Town." They all dress up -- even the older kids get in on the action -- and they each have a role in the town. There's doctors, lawyers, cops, bad guys, teachers, storekeepers, bankers and everything else that makes up a town. They make business signs and currency and dress up in the various costumes and come up with laws and regulations that any town has to have to function. It's really pretty amazing and requires a good level of cooperation. They learn to work together and to be a part of a team. They come up with town story lines and elaborate plots ... and they have a blast. The games of "Town" have lasted all day sometimes. Cousins and friends have gotten involved.

Who knows. Maybe it has something to do with it. Maybe more parents should encourage their kids to play together and see what comes out of it. Then again, it's possible our kids are gravitating
to their God-given talents in art, music and cooking. Whatever the case, I know that I love to hear the music, see the art and watch them fully engage in the creative process. Truly, I'm a blessed father.

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