Alternate title: Stop. Collaborate and listen.
I'm enchanted by this post by artist Mica Angela Hendricks, an illustrator and graphic artist. Her 4-year-old daughter wanted to join in drawing in a special ordered, newly arrived sketchbook. In spite of her inward groans (and rather hoping it would be a short-lived sharing) Hendricks reluctantly gave in and let her go to work on a page where she had been sketching a face from an old Hollywood black-and-white still.
And so a collaboration was born, producing uniquely creative mash-up art together that draws on both the experienced mastery of the artist mom and the unabashed creativity and go-for-it-ness of the artistic daughter. (They're even selling some of it here.) And I love what Hendricks said about what she learned (go read the whole thing; it's all good!):
"Try not to be so rigid...The things you hold so dear cannot change and grow and expand unless you loosen your grip on them a little."
"If you have a preconceived notion of how something should be YOU WILL ALWAYS BE DISAPPOINTED. Instead, just go with it, just accept it because usually something even more wonderful will come out of it."
As I do with most things I come across now days, I wonder about how this might translate into our mid-stage parent lives with teens and big kids?
Is there space in our territories of expertise
(be it in running
or anything else, vocational or professional)
where our mastery might fit perfectly with our older kids' novice enthusiasm & creativity to create something almost inconceivably wonderful? Or where loosening our grips might give permission for some incredible and unexpected results?
On the other hand, maybe this kind of mashup is more rare because necessity doesn't require that we share our (metaphorical and real) sketchbooks with big kids. Or perhaps they don't ask or aren't around to see them in the first place. Or maybe now we're the ones begging them for collaborating space on their canvases! Either way, what's your experience with teaming up with your teens and big kids?