intentionalcreativityAll the way back in January, my word for focus and inspiration this year was “intention” – and here it is, popping up yet again in October.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege to attend my second Hutchmoot, a conference gathering for Christian artists and for those who support that art. The whole Hutchmoot experience is a bit like being a teenager at summer camp. We are immersed for a few days in what seems to be the perfect world for living out our faith and practice, and then we are forced back into the real, grown-up world on Monday morning with bills, getting kids ready for school, going to work, and all of the other daily rituals that keep the world turning.

So before I left my hotel room on Sunday morning, I wrote down what I believe are my biggest epiphanies from this year’s conference so as not to lose them somewhere on the drive home. But as you will see, I actually left with a series of three questions, rather than the answers to the questions.

  • Am I being intentional in the ways I bring creativity and inspiration to my home and family?
  • Am I passing along a love for good things (delicious food, good music, excellent literature, fine art)?
  • What are ways that I can do these things better?

During one of our session times, I was able to hear Clay and Sally Clarkson speak about releasing the creative spirit in your child. I left that session so challenged to take a good look at my parenting, and the ways that I am shaping (or failing to shape, as the case may be) my son through his preschool years.

Here are the short answers to my questions: I don’t believe that I am being intentional enough to introduce Henry to the particular art that we enjoy. He sees me rehearse, either vocally or on the piano, but I’m not necessarily communicating a love for what I do. I read and write when he is at school or asleep, not where he can see me. We are not always intentional to introduce him to a wide variety of music, and we don’t take him to enough culturally rich experiences.

The thing is, we keep a very busy calendar without a lot of white space. So while I’m not looking to make sweeping changes to what we do, I am seeking to find small ways to incorporate a love for good art into our busy life, in the music we choose, in our free-time, in our family time.

I want to turn the TV off more, and turn on good music instead.

I want to find a few age-appropriate theater or art events to attend.

I want to spend more time actually playing music with Henry.

I want to read more books with him, both the books he likes most and new books that will challenge and inspire him.

I want to give him the tools that he needs to be creative in the ways that he enjoys most.

I want to speak encouragement into his life, letting him know that God has made him with certain gifts and abilities, and He has a plan for using those in the future.

I want to use the good china, cook a nice meal, burn candles, buy flowers, and set the stage so that he knows that the “nice” things are just for Important Occasions, but that every single day is a day to celebrate.

In my experience, parenting is a lot like art. Ready or not, we dive in, and we make adjustments, edits, and course corrections along the way. Here’s to making an adjustment to passing along a love for the art that makes our family unique.