Intentional Catholic Parenting:
"He told them another parable: 'The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.'" - Matthew 13:31-32
In this passage, Jesus uses a parable—a creative and imaginative storytelling technique—to convey a profound spiritual message about the growth and expansiveness of the kingdom of heaven. This event illustrates Jesus' ability to use creative and metaphorical language to teach and inspire his followers.
Creativity is a gift from our Creator, freely given by God to each person. Creativity is the essence of who God is as Creator. We are created in God’s own image and likeness and that implies that God’s creativity is within us to create for ourselves, for others, and for our world.
Children’s creative development must be supported and challenged daily through intentional efforts. To be intentional, we must plan activities and provide materials in our homes that focus on children’s creative development. If we do this, we will enable our children to reach their fullest potential in their creative development, that is to say, their fluency, elaboration, flexibility, originality, curiosity, insight, risk-taking, and open-mindedness - the characteristics of creative people.
THIS BOOK GIVES YOU OVER 150 WAYS TO NURTURE
YOUR CHILD'S CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT.
Nurturing Creativity in Children: A Catholic Perspective
Embracing Creativity from Birth through Adulthood
In the journey of parenting, one of the most valuable gifts we can nurture in our children, from birth through adulthood, is creativity. This divine attribute, deeply rooted in our Catholic faith, is not just about artistic expression but encompasses thinking, communicating, and acting in ways that are original and unique to each individual. As parents guided by Catholic teachings, we have the opportunity to cultivate these creative traits in our children, helping them grow into well-rounded individuals who reflect God's creative spirit.
1.0 Fluency: Encouraging a Wealth of Ideas
Fluency in creativity means enabling our children to produce a multitude of thoughts, words, or actions. Just as Jesus spoke in parables, offering a richness of insights and perspectives, we can encourage our children to express themselves in various ways, fostering a mindset that is abundant in ideas and expressions.
2.0 Elaboration: Expanding Creative Thoughts
Elaboration is about building upon initial ideas. In the Catholic tradition, we see this in the detailed storytelling of the Bible. By encouraging our children to expand on their thoughts, whether in writing, speaking, or artistic endeavors, we help them to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of the world around them.
3.0 Flexibility: Adapting and Shifting Creatively
Flexibility involves shifting from one thought, word, or action to another. It’s about being adaptable in thinking and problem-solving. Teaching our children to be flexible in their creativity mirrors the adaptability of the Church throughout history, always finding new ways to connect with the faithful.
4.0 Originality: Fostering Unique Expressions
Originality, or the ability to think, speak, and act in ways that are new, is a reflection of God’s unique creation in each of us. Encouraging our children to be original in their creativity allows them to showcase their God-given talents and perspectives.
5.0 Curiosity: Cultivating a Desire to Learn and Explore
Curiosity is at the heart of both faith and creativity. It's about being eager to know, learn, and explore. By nurturing curiosity, we open the doors for our children to a world of discovery, much like the explorations of the saints in understanding God’s creation.
6.0 Insight: Valuing Intuition and Feeling
Insight involves trusting intuition and inner feelings, recognizing the voice of the Holy Spirit within us. By valuing insight in our children's creativity, we teach them to listen to their inner voice and discern God's presence in their lives.
7.0 Risk-Taking: Encouraging Boldness in Creativity
Risk-taking is about being willing to try new things and step out of comfort zones, reminiscent of the apostles who left everything to follow Christ. Teaching our children to take risks in their creative endeavors helps them to grow in confidence and faith.
8.0 Open-Mindedness: Considering Diverse Perspectives
Finally, open-mindedness, the willingness to consider others’ thoughts and ideas, is essential in a world rich with diversity. It reflects the Catholic value of community and understanding, teaching our children to appreciate and learn from the creativity of others.
What You Can Do to Support Nurturing Creativity
Nurturing creativity in your child is a dynamic and ongoing process. Here are some practical ways to support and encourage this important aspect of their development:
Encourage Acceptance of New Ideas: Offer your child suggestions for clothes, food, or playtime, encouraging them to be receptive to new ideas. This openness can spark creativity.
Value Your Child's Creativity: Accept and support your child's ideas. Providing resources or assistance to bring their ideas to life validates their creative thinking.
Brainstorming Sessions: Engage your child in brainstorming for various activities like dramatic play themes, classroom projects, or story-writing. This helps enhance their creative and critical thinking skills.
Cultural Exposure: Introduce your child to different cultural experiences, including foods, customs, and costumes. This broadens their perspective and enhances creative thinking.
Spiritual Open-mindedness: Teach your child to be open-minded about all of God’s word (1 John 2:1–6), fostering a spiritual foundation for creativity.
Reading Adventures: Make library visits a creative exercise. Each of you can choose books for yourselves and each other, encouraging diverse reading habits.
Diverse Hobbies and Interests: Encourage your child to explore various hobbies and interests. This exposure broadens their skill set and ways of thinking.
Model Open-Mindedness: Be a role model in open-mindedness. Accept your child's suggestions and show that their ideas are valued.
Creative Food Choices: Experiment with food choices, letting your child choose for you and vice versa. Use this as an opportunity to discuss the importance of being open-minded.
Interactive Storytelling: Read a story but leave the ending open. Let your child come up with their own ending, encouraging creative thinking.
Prayer for Openness: Pray with your child for openness to understand God's ways, integrating faith and creativity.
Biblical Examples: Read stories like that of Samuel (1 Samuel 3) to discuss the importance of being open-minded toward God.
Openness in Prayer: Encourage your child to be open-minded during prayer, listening for God’s voice.
Travel for Cultural Exposure: Travel to different places, even locally, to expose your child to new experiences, enhancing their understanding and creativity.
Participate in Cultural Events: Attend cultural festivals and events to experience different traditions, music, and cuisines.
Artistic Exposure: Visit art museums and exhibitions to introduce your child to diverse artistic expressions and cultural histories.
Diverse Literature: Encourage reading books by authors from various backgrounds to understand different perspectives.
Language Learning: Introduce your child to different languages using apps like DuoLingo, broadening their linguistic and cultural understanding.
Volunteer Together: Engage in volunteer activities to expose your child to different societal issues, fostering empathy and social responsibility.
Family Debate Night: Organize a family debate night on various topics to encourage open discussion and respect for differing viewpoints.
Debate and Discussion Groups: Encourage your child to participate in debate clubs, discussion groups, or public speaking events to develop their ability to articulate and respect diverse opinions.
By incorporating these activities and approaches, you can significantly contribute to nurturing your child’s creativity in a balanced and holistic manner