Can we define the creative child? What does a creative child look like? Is there just one flavor? Is there just one area of giftedness? Is there only one formula that always has the same outcome? I believe that the answer to all those questions is no. If creative means the ability or capacity of someone to create or produce something, then every one of our children would fit into that description. It’s not just talent, creative ability, or being a dreamer that defines a creative child, but also factors such as personality traits, environment, and spiritual gifts. Remember, you’re raising children, not robots. It takes a lot of time for you to study and know your children, to discover their unique characters, their gifts and talents, and then to teach them based on what you’ve learned.
One of the most important things we need to know is that each of us is a unique creation of God. In Psalm 139:14 we are told we are fearfully and wonderfully made. The Word also tells us that we are living stones, not bricks. Bricks are all the same size, but stones are all unique.
My son Andy once said, “I’m grateful for parents who encouraged dreaming, who realized that serving God could be out-of-the-box and creative. The Christian life was always framed for us as a great adventure. I didn’t realize it as a kid, but now, as an adult with children of my own, I see how many things my mom intentionally fostered in our lives that allowed us to find our purpose. I think she recognized the differences in each of her kids and allowed Jon and myself to find our unique callings as creatives and as people.”
When my sons were very young, I saw such wonderful traits unfolding in them, yet at the same time, I saw character issues that if left unbridled would one day rise up and destroy them. I had been taught that it was my job to work hard on taming the wild stallion that is such a part of all of us. Natural bents left to run free would destroy my sons, hurt others around them, and even destroy future generations. But if those same traits were brought under the control of the Master’s hand, they could be useful and would be the making of wonderful thoroughbreds.
After an honest look at them, fear could have filled my heart. Instead, I could hear Jesus speaking into it: “Shelia, bring the little children unto Me!” I began to learn that only Jesus could tame the inward man in my sons’ hearts. I also knew that He had called me to be their mom, and I was to be used in their lives by God to begin the work of transformation. He reminded me of what He said in James1:5. I learned that wisdom would be freely given to me if I just asked. So I prayed, “Here are my heart, my hands, my voice, and my mind. Please use me to parent my children, to bring them under your control, God.” In my journey of motherhood, I asked for wisdom, and God provided. He taught me how to nurture curiosity, creativity, and compassion. He will do the same for you if you ask.
Author of Raising Up Dreamers, Shelia and her husband former State Senator Hank Erwin are the parents of Jon and Andy, the founders of Erwin Brothers Entertainment and award-winning filmmakers of five major motion pictures: I Still Believe, October Baby, Moms’ Night Out, Woodlawn, and I Can Only Imagine.