Saturday, June 18, 2011

Have art. Will travel.

"This is one of my favorite pix. I can't even remember the purpose of all the paints out back, maybe we were painting on paper, maybe on boxes or something.

Did I go inside to do something? Go hang clothes on the line? Ellie called me to come and see her art. I think her expression shows that she knows I think it's as cool as she thinks it is (might have been because I ran to get the camera to photograph the art before it got messed up.)

Your project made me think. The ideas you listed brought me immediately to this photo, but the part that made me contemplate is the idea that some other moms might not have reacted with pride lol. I tend to forget how weird many people think we are as parents for our focus on joy not discipline. I could imagine, now that I look at this favorite photo through that lens, some traditional parents thinking "what a waste of paint," "you need to discipline her for ruining the project/wasting all the paint/messing up her clothes/the concrete, etc.," or finding it funny to a point but more of a hassle for them for having to clean child and ground and buy six new sets of paint.

I think that and am so grateful we found unschooling and can enjoy playing outside the box together! How much fun she must have had, how happy she looks, how cool the art she painted, how sad would it be to miss all that and see "disobedience" instead of love." -- Osie

Alexa Meade. She's allowed to paint on skin
because she's a professional!

Perhaps, also, body art makes some moms think "dirty kid = bad mommy." Perhaps it's personal preference for their own skin. Perhaps their moms shamed them for doing this and it's deeply rooted in their psyches that This Is A Very Bad Thing even if they don't know why.

One of Kat's favorite marker canvases when she was 3 was her own body. Sometimes, if she ran out of room, she'd expand onto mine but her favorite was her own. :-)

When the voices make you want to stop a child's joy, it helps to ask, "Who will be harmed?" Usually, for every day purposes, the answer will be no one! If you have a hard time accepting skin art for yourself, see and feel the experience through your child's joy :-)

Photoshopped store ad. No brides were harmed!
The answer, though, isn't always no one! No laws stop an adult wedding guest from self-expressing in very attention getting ways. But thoughtful, respectful adults will choose not to steal attention from the bride on her day. When the answer needs to be no, let them know when they can do it. Then make sure the opportunity happens so they can trust your word and trust that you take their needs seriously.

Maybe Grandma can't see markers on skin as anything other than dirt. You don't need to understand why or agree. Respect her differences as you respect your child's differences. Make Grandma and your child's time together be about supporting their unique relationship, not trying to reform Grandma into an unschooler.

The clerk in the store disapproves? Find stores with child-friendlier clerks!

There are times and places for self expression. Help your kids make thoughtful choices. Help them make respectful choices. And kids find it much much easier to set aside a need until later when their wants and needs are treated with respect.

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