Our daughter, Grace became the philosopher/ artist she is today partly because I didn’t have time to try to force her to conform to a standard idea of what a child should be or do at her age, nor the money to put her in a constant cycle of sports or other after-school activities that she was not interested in anyway.
Grace was a unique child with amazing concentration. While four-year-old little boys were struggling to print or draw, my second youngest daughter would cover sheets of paper with tiny intricate drawings at 18 months old. Once she drew at least fifty tiny “eyes” while she stood on a chair and leaned over a piece of paper, for half an hour. We bought her a chalkboard for Christmas, just before she turned two. Grace was so oblivious to everything but her art that she kept drawing her little designs off the chalkboard in a line on the wall and kept going around the corner. We laughed so hard at that example of her quiet passion.
How did this toddler fall asleep?
Why, by cutting tiny triangles out of magazines until she passed out, childproof plastic scissors still in her hand. I’d gently remove the scissors and cover her with a baby quilt. Once a week I’d sweep up a whole overflowing dustpan of tiny triangles! When I called Grace to help around the house when she was a little older, she’d be so absorbed in a craft or artwork that she would not even hear me.
When Grace was a newborn, her hair was thick, black and stood straight up on end. Her eyes were huge and very dark brown. Actually, Grace was comical looking because her eyes literally popped out in a constant look of surprise. Those eyes seemed to study everyone and everything. Her hair became brown with gorgeous blond highlights that looked like she had streaked her hair but she still has those big, brown eyes that study everything. One day at a store, she caught a glimpse of a girl and thought,
“Wow, does she ever have huge eyes!”
A second later, Gracie realized that she was looking at her own reflection.
My daughter really marched to her own tune as a child. I am grateful that our lack of extra cash gave her the freedom and opportunity to discover and develop her talents on her own. We did not force her to join team sports or go to Brownies; we let her enjoy what she loved to do: read and draw. As a result, she is a philosophy/religious studies major and a gifted artist who still wears a tiny smile of contentment as she draws and paints.
All children need time to discover who they are in Christ. I believe in fostering individuality, not forcing conformity for God’s kids.
How do you foster individuality in your children?
Copyright 2018 Melanie Jean Juneau