One of my favourite things is to sit with my kids while they write and draw.
Usually a cup of hot coffee within arms reach, I’ll curl up beside them as they work on their latest creations.
First on the docket this afternoon was a family portrait, complete with geriatric mini-schnauzer and careful documentation of our ages.
Deciding that Canada also needed to be represented in his masterpiece, he set out to convince me that I should draw the maple leaf because he didn’t know how.
Encouraging him to try on his own, I found an image of the Canadian flag he could use as guidance in getting started.
Satisfied with this arrangement, he sharpened his pencil and got down to business.
As he was finishing up, he slid his artwork across the table toward me.
“Is it right?”, he asked, clearly looking for my acceptance and approval, unsure if his first attempt was up to snuff.
My heart sank, knowing I would not be able to give him the answer he was looking for.
It’s not that I didn’t think it was good enough or that I didn’t love it (which of course, I did), but because I didn’t want him to care if I loved it or not, or if I thought it was “right.”
I wanted him to enjoy the process. To scribble and scrawl and figure out his own way.
Run with an idea and make it his own, rather than spitting out a facsimile of someone else’s work.
I wanted him to decide if his drawing was “right” for himself.
It’s the kind of conversation you really can’t prepare for until you’re having it. Stumbling and bumbling your way through uncharted territory.
Trying to explain inspiration and creativity to a four-year-old, hoping your point gets across but not really sure if you’re hitting the mark.
Just when I was sure I’d totally lost him, he sprang to action.
Abandoning the examples from my phone, he whipped out his light blue pencil crayon and started working on an “underwater” Superman logo.
Not satisfied in stopping there, he took scissors to his design, cutting and taping the pieces back together. And then cutting and taping some more.
Pausing for a moment, he evaluated his work from several different angles before finally announcing that it was finished.
And that it looked “just right.”