I guess I am always very aware of family – my own, my friends’, all the families I know and see in my work as a Parent Educator – so it shouldn’t be any real surprise that this past week I was so struck, once again, by the intimacy of family.
Several children have come in to The Parenting Place to paint pictures for An Evening With The Parenting Place, An Event for Grownups who care about Kids. The paintings are a charming part of our silent auction. The theme for the children’s art this year is My Family.
The first thing I recognized in these young artists was their keen sense of familiarity and observation. These children were so aware of each family member’s style and personality, their favorite colors, the details of their hair, eyes, body shapes, and patiently tried to replicate them as best they could.
One young boy ran back and forth to his siblings and mom in the play room giving them choices as to which signage they wanted on their t-shirts. The little sister could not decide what she wanted on hers, throwing out all kinds of ideas, and then changing her mind. This wiser “older” brother finally astutely delivered a most likely often overheard parenting solution – “You have two choices. You can have a crown or a star. Which one do you want?”
It was as these children worked that it was not only the painting that emerged on the canvas, but the whole picture of each child’s significance in the family – one of love, pride, sharing and unique identity.
Janis Keyser, co-author of Becoming the Parent You Want to Be , says we tend to think of a family as a triangle with the parents at the top managing all the children below. Instead, she suggests, it’s more helpful to visualize a circle where all members have something to contribute – like these young painters do for sure.
I like that – a circle – because for children the family is their world.
And we all know, the world is round.