After a decade as a mother of a school-age child, I have learned that the arts can motivate children to be better at school. Yes, my daughter comes to school from an artsy home. Her mom, a writer, is her dad, a theatre director. However, my daughter is not an extension or a product of her parents. She’s unique, and her exposures in a variety of arts has helped her discover her own passions and proclivities.
My daughter’s engagement in arts makes her happier and more engaged in school, even when she has the most challenging classes. You can’t take it all. The messages broadcast frequently by Sir Ken Robinson – author of the book Find Your Element, How to Discover Your Talents, Passions, and Transform Your Lifestyle. Robinson, a TED favorite and a creative and education expert, believes that education is about helping children be creative thinkers instead of good workers.
Robinson’s theory, that a child is exposed to a constant stream of their talents leads to future work, is important. Our children will eventually solve the most difficult problems faced by civilization. Are we aiming for them to be docile workers, or to be creative thinkers and problem-solvers that we all were born to solve?
For well-rounded, happy children, the arts are just as important as academics. The arts help children find their passions and talents through spontaneity. My daughter loves to dance, sing, act, draw, and acts. Recently she has taken hip-hop classes and read Shakespeare.
I am not bragging. But, I am very aware that my imagination may have limited the creative potential of my daughter. Her example has helped me realize that she is capable of doing anything. Isn’t that exactly what we want?
Parents should not limit kids’ creative potential when it is clear that creativity benefits real-world performance. My daughter has the entire life she will have to discover and pursue creative hobbies that ignite her heart and inspire her. Between now and the day she leaves home on her own, it is my responsibility as her mother to make sure she doesn’t miss any opportunities to become her multi-faceted self. She can discern what she likes and dislikes for herself and make her own decisions. She doesn’t require me to help her do this. All she needs is for me to remind her how she chooses to spend her energy and time in her daily life.
When I depart this world one day – and I will, as well as all of us will – I want to know that I have given my daughter the best possible life experience. This endeavor will include the arts. My daughter should not be concerned with survival or drudgery. She should be celebrating the art and joys of being herself. In order to do that, she will have to find and use her talents and skills in her own way.
You might be restricting your children’s access to the arts out of fear that creativity will become less important or less valuable than academics. I hope you are prepared to stay for a few more decades so you can see firsthand the vital role creativity plays in the future.
If you are inadvertently decreasing the number of creative activities your children take part in to levels I consider reasonable, I hope this is something you realize and will change. We shouldn’t cut arts activities from our kids’ lives. We need to make sure that they have access to as many arts activities in their schedules as possible. They can set the bar high and make it feel right.
These 25 activities can be used to introduce your child to different kinds of activities, inside and outside of school. You don’t need to be confused about who’s job it is to expose your kids to the art. Arts engagement starts with parents before instructors or teachers. See the magic happen when you involve your children with the arts. Your children will be thankful for your support today and in the long-term with their smiles as well as feelings of contentment and happiness.