Five ways crafting can teach children important life lessons.
Once again Huffpost is telling me I am doing everything wrong. First, I was an idiot for not opening Chinese takeout containers into plates, now I am ruining my child's life by looking on Pinterest for crafts and activities to do with my child.
Well, if crafting is wrong, I don't want to be right.
I know the author was actually talking about the pressure we parents put on ourselves to make everything perfect for our child. It isn't the crafting or theme park trips or parties in and of themselves that are the issue. It is the pressure we feel to make everything "magical" by getting too far out of our comfort zone either with money or activities we don't enjoy.
Every parent needs to define his or her own comfort zone:
- For people that don't live in theme park central, going to a theme park is a big vacation. For us, it is an hour drive to the nearest one. We have annual passes, go for an hour or two during off peak season and come home.
- Elf on a Shelf? Not in this house, if he (or his friends) ask me I will inform them the Santa Surveillance Squad installed mini video cameras throughout the house and school.
- We threw a party for J's 1st birthday and haven't done one since. I doubt we will do one this year. He doesn't care right now so why should we spend a mortgage payment or more on something that he won't miss?
Searching Pinterest and other sources for crafts and activities to do with my child is out of the author's comfort zone. Apparently, she did not grow up with a crafter.
I sure did.
When I lost my first tooth the Tooth Fairy left my coin in a pile of shiny clear glitter. My response? "Mommy, the Tooth Fairy uses Diamond Dust too!" We were always making "something" and being a young girl I probably had a penchant for sparkly stuff like glitter.
Mom sent me a text the other day asking if I had popsicle sticks because she needed one for something she was working on for her favorite (and only) grandson. Once a crafter always a crafter.
Since crafting has always been a part of my life I know there are many life lessons to be gained beyond the enjoyment of crafting. Here are a few
1. Life is messy, clean it up.
I know that line is from a commercial, but crafting, like life, can be messy and you need to clean up your own messes.
2. Life doesn't always turn out like the picture on the box (or on Pinterest).
Life isn't easy and never goes exactly as you planned. You just make the best of it and enjoy the experience.
3. It's okay to try something and find out you don't like it.
Carving, painting, sewing, and knitting are not for me. I don't have the talent or interest in them. I have tried, they weren't for me. I am not great at quilting either, but I enjoy it as long as I don't EVER use knit again!
4. Sometimes you have to figure out what doesn't work to find out what does.
Sometimes you need to step back and rethink how best to accomplish your goal (creative problem solving). Scraps of knit = nightmare for me: use the whole t-shirt if I am insane enough to try again.
5. You don't have to buy everything!
His grandparents naturally love all of their homemade cards and gifts, because they are his grandparents. But, I want him to understand that there is a pleasure and an internal sense of accomplishment by making things yourself - be it crafting, gardening or cooking or any other interest he may take up in the future.
I could have bought him a bed spread, but making one with cut up pieces of his baby clothes meant a lot to me and hopefully to him someday too.
If you don't enjoy crafting, don't do it. I never said you had to and anyone that did is full of themselves. I enjoy crafting, and gardening and cooking. So, I do those activities with J. My husband does not enjoy any of those things, so he and J do other things together. And we do activities as a family that are different too.
Every family is different and that is okay. Maybe that should be life lesson number 6.