1.15.2012

Parenting Like Painting

I wrote on Friday about digging in deeper as a parent, taking joy in the challenges--the messes--and growing in the rich soil of those trenches. This line of thinking was partly inspired by an encouraging note from a good friend of mine. A couple of months ago, I was confiding to her how overwhelmed I was feeling, that sometimes it seemed I was failing as a mother and wife. She has three kids close in age to my two girls, but she took the time to share this with me--a beautiful and inspired idea she had about approaching parenting in the same way I approach the process of making art.

These words have been sinking into my soul, and even manifesting in a physical way lately as my daughters are becoming little artists--they seem to be just as addicted as I am to paper and pens and paint--and as I let go a little and begin truly to take joy in the messes of raising children:

"Imagine that Eowyn and Penny are your watercolors and you alone have the delightful privilege of splashing their beauty across a crisp piece of paper--across another new day.

Penny Painting

"Though you may have to apply some wax, here and there, to guide them to where it is safe to go, to give boundaries to their vibrancy, you are skilled in art and know how to stroke them into the place where they are free to find shape and blend and contrast together--to become who God has made them to be.

marker cap fingers

"As any good artist knows, it is okay to sometimes get messy, to get down and into your painting, to play with, to enjoy the touch of your colors. The fact that watercolors and wax and crisp heavy paper requires preparation and clean up doesn't anger you or make you sigh--it is just another part of the process, a simple reality of life.

messy paint

"Sometimes a painting can become overworked--it is necessary to stop and find a new perspective. Perhaps inquire after another artist, or the Artist, for wisdom for how to continue on. His solution may be found only after some painful scraping away of layers--of emotions and old ways--but the end result, the final painting, is worth the energy and pain.

You are in the process of transforming the individual beauty of each color--of each daughter--into a larger beauty of a cohesive, complete painting--'A Schilling Life.'" --K.G.L.

Penny chalkboard

Thank you, my friend, for these beautiful words of wisdom! And thank you for allowing me to share them here. This is a great way to look at parenting and all sorts of other relationships too. I have a feeling that this will resonate with lots of creative people who pour themselves into their family and friends!

14 comments:

  1. Lovely!

    My seventh grade art teacher told me, "There is no such thing as a mistake when you create. There is always another way around it, simply by changing your perspective." I have shared that piece of advice on many occasions throughout my life with children and adults, no matter the subject. The message is the same.

    Life creates Art! Art creates Life! *We*, our full body and spirit, are the key. Perspective is Everything! Work THAT like a piece of clay or a dollop of paint and you will create a masterpiece, all before you step foot out of bed in the morning.

    Truly Lovely!
    Thank you for sharing, Sadee.

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    1. "Life creates Art! Art creates Life!" Your thoughts are truly, TRULY lovely themselves, Scarlett! Thank you so much for reading and commenting. This wisdom of your seventh grade art teacher is so applicable--in all of life!

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  2. What a great post. I'm not a mother but can take away from this too! What a great way to look at raising your children.

    Yep, your friend is VERY wise!!!

    Hugs,
    Kay

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    1. Thank you for this, Kay--you're right, the metaphor applies to any and every relationship, doesn't it?! Hugs to you too!

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  3. Oh, I can so relate - lovely and messy! :-)

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    1. Thank you, Tinajo! Hope you're enjoying your "messes" too! :)

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  4. What a beautiful description your friend wrote, Sadee! Really and truly, this does resonate with my artist mama's heart. I am seeing parts of our 'family painting' coming together now but sometimes I worry about colors that seem to be muddied or run together. I have to go back and read your post again (and maybe a third time even :) so I can let the wisdom soak in.

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    1. I keep re-reading it too, Jennifer! Muddied colors running together--I think I know what you mean there, but when I'm painting sometimes I find that what looks muddy when it's wet sometimes dries with the most unusual and beautiful effects!

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  5. in a house of seven kids we have our fair share of messes... and with everyone always wanting to paint...we have our fair share of artists... loved reading your post.
    I can totally relate and hope your words spring to mind as my week unfolds.
    thank you.
    T

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    1. Oh my goodness, 7 kids painting! That's 70 fingers covered in paint--how wonderful!!! :)

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  6. Such great wisdom from your friend and so beautifully put, Sadee! I'll be savoring these thoughts for awhile.

    And I wanted you to know I'll be linking up on Wednesdays now, my blog schedule changed a bit.
    Catherine Denton

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    1. Thank you, Catherine! Knowing that you'll be linking up keeps me going ;).

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  7. so glad you've decided to join {in the picture}! see you soon:)

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Thank you for being kind with your words and generous with your time!