We serve a creative, glorious God who, with His finger, created the beautiful world we live in. Have you ever noticed that every four year old is an artist? They love to create, and it’s our job as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and grownups to encourage that creativity!
When I was five I drew a picture that every five year old draws. It had a strip of blue across the top for the sky and a strip of green across the bottom for the grass. I proudly showed my mother my picture, and she told me how beautiful it was and what a nice job I did, and then she did something that changed my life forever! She took me to the window and said “I want to show you something! Do you see the sky? Look how it goes all the way down and touches the grass. And the grass is not just a strip at the bottom, but it goes all the way up and touches the sky, and where they meet is called the horizon.” What an epiphany! She taught me not just to look, but to see! You can teach your kids to see and observe their world when you’re in the car driving. “Look at all the different shades of green there are in that hillside!” or “See that series of hills over there? Can you see that the further back they go the bluer they get? That’s because you are seeing the effect of the atmosphere and humidity in the air, causing the ones farthest away from you to appear bluer!” (Art and science go hand in hand)
Another necessary component to creativity is mess-making. I know the thought of a Play-doh, or finger paint mess, may make you moms cringe, but having the opportunity to experiment with creative materials is so important. Consider arts and craft supplies, instead of Barbie dolls or another car that is going to end up in the bottom of the toy box. If your child shows an interest in drawing or painting, buy books and art supplies that will encourage that. Craft stores are full of art kits and projects for budding young artists. Copying and tracing things is also a valuable way to learn. I remember tracing animals from my Dr. Suess book as a child. I traced his “animals” then I made my own by placing different heads or feet on my “animals”. A tablet of tracing paper is a small investment to make, or better yet, a child’s light table, which can be found in any craft store. My mother let me do things like carve a bar of soap, or paint stained glass window designs on the living room window. I remember one Thanksgiving I saved all the bones from the turkey, boiled them down to clean them, then reconstructed the turkey by gluing the bones back together. (Okay, I was an odd child but I learned a lot about turkey anatomy.)
One of the attributes of God is creativity and a love of beauty. In the Old Testament, God gave instructions to David and Solomon for building the temple, the place where He desired to dwell. Only the best materials and artisans were used. Most of the temple’s beams, posts, walls, and doors were overlaid with gold and decorated with carvings of palm trees, garlands, and cherubim. The Most Holy Place alone was overlaid with 23 tons of fine gold. In this room two giant gold cherubim, with seven-and-half-foot wings overshadowed the Ark of the Covenant. A veil of blue, purple and crimson fine linen, lavishly embroidered, separated the Most Holy Place from the holy place. The color purple was expensive and highly prized because it was made from shellfish from the Mediterranean Sea. Approximately 250,000 mollusks were required to make one ounce of dye. This extravagant beauty wasn’t put there for the people to enjoy; in fact, the only time anyone could see this magnificent room was one day a year, when the high priest went in to the Holy of Holies by candlelight. I believe the Lord delighted to dwell in a place of beauty and glory, although no manmade beauty could possibly compete with His glory.
God is a creative God and because we are made in His image He also delights in our creativity. Let’s encourage the next generation not just to look, but to truly see their world with the eyes of creativity! This encouragement will be stronger if we model it. As an act of worship why don’t you try doing some new creative expression! It will please the heart of the Father and you’ll be modeling an aspect of His nature in child-like faith!