My kids are writing their own books. I’m talking full on chapter books, but also talking graphic novels, short sweary books, and the like. One of them makes detailed animation based movies – he’s done stop motion claymation, strung together filmed segments, is gaining an amazing talent in sculpting and blocking scenes. One of them is heavily immersed in the world of musical theatre, and they’ve written a script, drawn and labelled costumes, arranged songs. They are filled with joy both behind and in front of the camera, and have started drama school only to have realised there is a real possibility of working professionally doing the thing they love to do playfully.
Earlier this week, they had two friends over. One was specially coming over to work on a collaborative project with S – they’d had an idea for a novel, so of course they arranged a time to get together and work on it. M and the other child also joined in.
I stood in the kitchen, watching. They were laughing, throwing ideas out, occasionally pausing to use spell check. Their thoughts were thick and fast, their words were natural.
Did I feel proud? Yeah. But did I feel jealous? HELL YES.
I’m so pleased to give my children the opportunity to work on their creative ideas. I’m so relieved and grateful that this is a way of life for them. There’s no crippling self doubt, no feeling they don’t deserve to pursue creative dreams, no thinking that they won’t succeed. Their success, right now and from my point of view, is that they are simply doing it. They are making. They are creating, drawing, writing, singing, acting, exploring.
It’s no exaggeration to say I have a strong preference for the creative arts, that I wish I had realised at a much younger age it was a possibility for me. That I’d been supported in that. So something in my heart lightens and glows to see my children creating. Something in my mind is deeply pleased when I read longitudinal studies stating that children who have been unschooled since the start are extremely likely to go into creative fields – artists, writers, actors, STEM fields. In fact, four out of five kids grow up to work in those fields.
If M or S want to be that one in five who grows up to be an accountant, or a retail manager, or something not in the creative field – well. All I really want is for them to be happy. I want them to get joy from the life they create, I want them to do things to help make the world a better place, I want them to learn and grow and find peace.
I guess that’s still all I want for myself. My kids just have a head start.