Sunday, October 13, 2013

Using creativity in a difficult moment with a child!


Are you creative? Or rather do you think you're creative? And does creativity go by the wayside when we get to the age of watching our children struggling with their own children? Do you have to be an artist to be creative? What does that really mean- being creative?

Webster's defines creativity as the ability or power to create, to bring into existence, to invest with a new form, to produce through imaginative skill, to make or bring into existence something new.
Creativity has a place in problem-solving but sometimes it occurs in the moment and not as the result of thinking or planning!

For instance, I was just now approached by my three year old granddaughter who asked me for juice in her "sippy" cup. I would have been happy to oblige her by opening the thing and giving her some fresh juice, but I couldn't seem to get it open. I probably could have tried harder, but that would have taken more time and she wanted it now.

When I told her, she started to get a little bit frustrated. Three year old self-preservation is something I wish I still had! Without even thinking much about it, I grabbed the closest glass on the counter to offer her an alternative. She said she still wanted the "sippy cup". Then I happened to notice two more glasses standing on the counter.

Luckily all three glasses were different sizes!  Taking all three and lining them up on the counter I offered her the chance to pick the Daddy glass, the Mommy glass or the Baby glass to put her juice in. With a satisfied smile on her face she chose the Mommy or middle size glass, probably because she had been expressing missing her mom every two minutes for the last half hour. Needless to say she was happy with her choice and all thoughts of her precious sippy cup had gone by the wayside as soon as she had the beloved "Mommy" glass in hand!

Evan, the main character in my book for middle readers- Babysitter Blues encounters a similar moment when he could just choose to enforce his "parental"authority (designated to him by his mother when she left him to babysit his half-siblings) and risk alienating his little sister or instead choose to allow
some creative understanding of the situation to change the outcome! His little sister has just announced that she is refusing to go with her Dad when he comes that evening to pick her and her younger twin brothers up to visit for the weekend. Dani crawls under the table and refuses to come out.

       “I don’t wanna go, and you can’t make me!” Dani folded her arms across her chest stubbornly.

       Evan took a deep breath and let it out slowly. This was one Friday night Evan was planning to have to himself, and he didn’t need any problems right now. And Dani’s attitude surprised him, because she always seemed to love being with her dad. “Why don’t you wanna go?”

       Dani crawled under the table, where the twins were busy with the play dough, and sat with her legs crossed and her arms still tight across her chest. “I wanted to go to Cara’s birthday party tomorrow, but Mom said no!” In a sarcastic voice she mimicked her mother. ”It’s Dad’s turn this weekend to be with you kids. And I have plans!” She twirled one of her pigtails around her finger. “Why doesn’t Daddy love us anymore? If he loved us he would live here with us. I don’t wanna go!” She turned her back to Evan.

       Evan knew that Josh would show up any minute to claim his kids. The twins were involved with their playdough creations for the moment, but were more or less ready to go.

       The quote, “God is at peace with all his children; why should they engage in strife and warfare among themselves?” came into his head. He decided to meet Dani on her own turf, instead of fighting with her. The Remover of Difficulties prayer he had recently memorized floated through his mind. “Is there any remover of difficulties save God? Say: Praised be God! He is God! All are His servants, and all abide by His bidding.”

        He got down on his hands and knees and crawled under the table to join Dani.

       “Get out!” Dani demanded.

       “OK,” Evan said simply, and started to back out. ”I Just thought you might want some company in here. I’m sorry you can’t go to your party. That must make you really mad. It would sure make me mad.”

       Dani grabbed his arm as he continued to ease his tall frame out from under the table. “No. Stay.” Dani wiped her eyes with the back of her hand.
Evan settled back under the table, crisscrossing his legs. It wasn’t easy because he couldn’t sit up very straight. “So you think your Dad doesn’t love you?” he asked in a soft voice.

       “I dunno.” Dani wiped her nose on her sleeve. Evan noticed a tear still sparkling in the corner of her eye. Just then one of Corey’s legs under the table twitched in a funny way, and Evan had to move out of the way to keep from getting kicked in the nose. Dani and Evan both laughed.
Corey poked his head down under the table. “What choo doing?”

       Just then Casey jumped up to stand on his chair. ”Daddy’s here, Daddy’s here!” Dani rushed into Evan’s arms so quickly she almost knocked him on his back. ”I love you,” she whispered, and scrambled out from under the table to greet her father.

       Evan decided to mention the party to Josh on Dani’s behalf, because his recent brush with Dani’s frustration had made him more aware of his own feelings of being frustrated. He knew what it was like to have other people making all your decisions for you. But as he unfolded himself awkwardly out from under the table, he heard Josh say something about an amusement park tomorrow, and as he straightened up he saw Dani and the boys jumping excitedly up and down. Dani turned with a big smile on her face and waved to Evan as Josh ushered the twins out the door. 

From Babysitter Blues by Leona Hosack, published by One Voice Press.

Click here for a great article at on cranking up your creativity!

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