Through my contemplations about what it means to be creative I keep going back to one thing: Confidence. Having the confidence to try new things, to explore and to create.
I’ve been thinking a lot about things I can do to help my little ones build confidence.
A few days ago I came across a link to a blog article titled “Would you let your baby do this?” Intrigued I clicked through and read the article and of course watched the video. It really caused me to pause and think about my own parenting style and how I would have handled myself in that situation.
Then I was in that situation. A day or two later I was at the park with my girls. E went for the climbing wall and I decided that rather than help her climb the wall as I had the week before I would watch closely… and on a whim I decided to video tape the experience.
“I did it!”
This video absolutely captures for me what Janet Lansbury’s article is all about: allowing children the opportunity to practice their gross motor skills without interfering and observing the benefits!
What struck me the most as this was taking place is that E asked for help remembering that I had helped her before. She had developed a bit of dependency and thought she needed the help. I let her climb and she asked again “Mommy Help Evelyn.” Again I didn’t say anything but I watched closely, not touching her. (The part where the camera moves was me carefully watching to make sure I was there to catch her if she fell, but I didn’t touch her and she made it to the top!) In this moment she realized she could do it! I can watch this over and over and over again.
This video was her first solo attempt. After reaching the top, she went down the slide and practiced her climbing an additional 3 times, each time proclaiming “See! I did it!” with great pride and confidence!
Building confidence is a practice.
I share this experience here because it was a great reminder to me that sometimes it’s best to stand back (but not too far back in this case!) and observe. To let children practice, fall, explore, try, concentrate, make decisions, question and find their own answers because when they do the reward is so much greater than if I had helped her climb the wall.
This experience also demonstrated for me that helping our children doesn’t always help them. I’m just glad that I realized this soon enough that she didn’t not try because she didn’t think she could do it herself.
I have come to understand that creativity has everything to do with confidence. Building confidence is a practice that needs nurturing. It can be lost and found again. Artist Kelly Rae Roberts thoughtfully talks about this on her blog and offers ideas for inviting confidence back into your life.Print and Be Merry.