Creativity: An easy kill

Photo by on Unsplash

Dad, look at me.
Dad, look at this.
Dad, watch this.
Hey, Dad.
Hey, Dad.
Hey, Dad. 
Look at this, Dad.

This is my life right now. My daughter, as you may know, is four.

She’s all about showing off. She wants approval. She wants attention.


Everything she creates is a display. Every heart she draws. Every little doo-dad she cuts out and pastes to another doo-dad (yes, we have a lot of doo-dads in the apartment right now). Every new dance move. Every cool stunt she learns. She must showcase it to us, right away.

Nothing is more important than immediate approval of her self-expression.

Yes, it’s adorable. But damn, it gets really overwhelming and outright annoying at times — especially when I’m tired or stressed or wishing I was doing something else (these are the real feelz, as a parent).

It’s during those times that I see how easy it would be to unconsciously murder her creativity. Absolutely slaughter it.

Telling her to knock it off and sit down so Daddy can do this really important thing has bumped right up against the inside of my lips a number of times. I don’t think I’ve blurted it yet, but I’ve come really damn close.

Shut up. Sit down. Stop showing off. You’re not that big of a deal.

At four, coming from your parents, this is the world.

Listen… We’re going to mess our kids up. At least a little.

And they’re resilient. 
We have to be kind to ourselves as parents.

I’m not saying you should drop your entire life and never draw boundaries with your kids. But when you do, may they be boundaries drawn with care and expressed with love. It’s a fine line, but there is a subtle difference. You know in your heart how to draw that line.

Killing a kid’s creativity is so easy to do.

So easy.

I just hope to keep that little creative flame alive inside that little girl as long as possible.

Or, at least until she can tend to it herself.