A writer colleague of mine wrote this beautiful piece that I think is SUCH a great reminder for all of us about how important it is that we approach children's creations (and our own) with great respect and notice their beauty, before we start to instruct them (or ourselves) on how to make it better - which may or may not ever be necessary! I asked if I could share it with you all and she graciously said yes!
From Elizabeth Spelman:
What you Must Say First to the Child
One day when I was little, I stood in my grandmother’s kitchen and helped her dry the dishes. I took the dishtowel and pulled it tightly over the top of a glass, like a drum. “Look Nana,” I said, “I’ve made art.”
She took it from me and pushed the towel into the glass. “No,” she said, holding it up, “this is art.”
It was true. The cloth doubled over in curious folds inside the glass and flowered out at the top. If Picasso had come to dinner, he would have agreed with her.
That day, sorrow made me hate my own work, and anger made me hate hers.
This page is the glass; these words are the towel. Today I will tell myself, “First you must say, ‘It is beautiful.’”
Yes, yes and yes.
And to all of us (myself included) who cringe remembering times when we have jumped right to instruction about "how it can be better" - self-compassion, self-forgiveness. We start where we are and it is good.
To those of us who are remembering being the child with the crushed spirit, may we find healing and reclaim our creations, calling them good.
Here's to thriving,