One of the greatest gifts of parenthood — and perhaps one of the greatest tricks — is that as much as you are teaching and guiding your kids, so too are they teaching and guiding you.
Even though my daughter doesn’t yet comprehend what I do, she has been an invaluable source of inspiration, and education, for my writing. Here are 3 of the biggest lessons — on process, craft, and creativity in general — that I’ve learned from her during our not-quite-3-years together.
1. Have Fun, Be Fearless
I love playing Legos with my daughter. She has no sense of “right” or “wrong” when creating. She just snaps pieces together, following whatever whim strikes her in that moment. All different shapes, sizes, colors…
Everything is possible, and nothing is impossible.
We imagine, build, pretend, destroy, build again.
Nothing is too precious to take apart and use in a new way.
She riffs on things she has seen.
She makes up things she’s never heard of.
It doesn’t have to be logical, it just has to be fun.
There is a purity to her process — or lack thereof — that I envy. For the most part, she does not judge her work or herself. And on the rare occasion that she does get frustrated or disappointed, I am there to remind her: It’s OK not to be good at something right away, to make a mistake. That’s part of the learning process. Whenever you try something new, you will inevitably fail in some way, at some point. But the more you try, the better you will grow.
Sometimes I don’t know if I’m talking more to her or to myself.