Thursday, December 19, 2013

Exploring Creative Outlets

mountain fortress
EM has just completed his fourth class at our local YMCA Art Center. He usually wants to take the pottery classes, but this month there were not enough students for that class and instead he ended up in an abstract expression class. He wasn't sure if he would like it, but after the first class, he was sold.

He was allowed to work with some tools I tend to shy away from at home, things like hot glue guns and sharp knives. 

EM is a people-pleaser, so he is more inclined to work hard just to make an instructor happy, where JT never worries about whether anyone approves of his behavior or work. These opposite personality traits generally result in EM doing more organized events and JT sticking with independent projects. Remember the piano lesson difficulties?

EM's pottery instructor is great with kids. He has all the patience in the world. EM is always excited to go to his classes. After the last session ended he gave a small piece, a cat, to the teacher because he knew he liked cats. It's nice to see my kids finding adults that they can look up to as mentors. One of the things that can be lacking in a homeschooling child's life is the opportunity to find that one teacher who fills the role of mentor.

The house that EM built.
I'm not saying that I think a child can't find a mentor if they aren't seeing teachers every day. I believe mentors can be found in many places, not just schools. I have worked to place my boys in situations that allow them to participate in activities where multiple age groups are involved so they can see people that have already succeeded in something they are starting to explore. JT's drum lessons and EM's art lessons are just two of those opportunities. Upward basketball, scouts, and church functions have been other places we have looked for those relationships.

future mobile
I know that even though my children have looked at me and their dad as their prime role models for years, it is important to expand their vision to those outside of our family. My goals for life may not match what the boys see as important. How will they know that unless I allow them to find other inspiration? It will only be through seeing how others deal with challenges in life that they will be able to make well thought out goals for their own futures.

 As always, I try to remind myself that as a parent, I'm trying to work myself out of a job. My primary role is to get these boys ready to handle life on their own when they leave home. They will have a better chance at success if they have many mentors to give them advice when they encounter difficulties along that path to success.

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