On Monday, S came home from school with a paper bear, and instructions to decorate and return. My eyes lit up. So many possibilities! So many directions this bear could take!
S was less enthusiastic. I asked how he wanted to decorate his bear. "I don't." He said. I told him Miss Denise asked us to do it, knowing his teacher's words hold more weight than mine. Under this pressure, he decided he'd put stickers on his. I cringed, imagining a brown paper bear plastered with Halloween-themed stickers.
"Maybe we could do something a little more creative," I said, thoughtlessly.
"Stickers are creative!" he said and began to cry. Oops. I let it drop, for the moment.
When it was time to actually tackle the project, I made no mention of stickers. I silently filled the table with all the fun supplies I could find... glitter, sequins, ribbon, buttons, stamps, glue, beads, pipe-cleaners. S was still unconvinced. He dragged his feet for about 10 minutes, saying I should do it, he didn't want to. Eventually he started to enjoy himself. And, as you can see, eventually we did pull out some stickers. I think they add a nice graphic punch, don't you?
It's becoming clear to me that S does not share my love for arts and crafts. At least not the four year old S. I'm starting to surrender my dreams of collaborative art projects with my son. Instead of disappointment, I feel relief. I'm not going to beat myself up anymore for skipping over the craft days I penciled on the calendar earlier in the year. Instead we'll just do our own things.
One great thing about S is that, even though he doesn't share my interest, he sweetly supports me in it. For instance, if I am embroidering, he'll ask, "What are you stitching?" I will show him and he will invariably say, "Oh, that's so nice."
Now that I'm coming to grips with his reluctance to craft, it's time that I offer him the same support. How, exactly, will it play out? I'm not sure. Maybe I can compliment him on the ferocity of his dinosaur roars. Or listen with rapt attention as he tells a long and winding story. You get the idea. I want to encourage his passions, even if they are worlds away from my own.
I'll leave you with a quote. I have been thinking about it a lot lately. It opens this book, which I am currently reading and loving.
Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue to exist, a wonderful living side by side can grow up, if they succeed in loving the distances between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.
Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters