All in Artful Kids

I’m six months pregnant with my first child and nesting like there’s no tomorrow. Nesting takes many forms for me: cleaning, painting, sorting, shredding, and acquiring. A substantial portion of the process involves acquiring books — books about pregnancy, nutrition, labor and birth, baby development, philosophies of child-raising, and how to love a child as part of our family, our church, our neighborhood, and the world.

Raising Artful Children: a Grandmother’s Perspective

In this grand vocation of teaching kids about the world, it’s important to give careful thought to the environments we create for them to grow up in — grandparents’ homes included. Our homes are not neutral places, but rather culture-shaping places. We’re helping to form ideas, attitudes, imagination, compassion, and skills. Our little people will one day be big people who take their places in the flow of history. In hundreds of vocational spheres — as mothers and fathers, artists and scientists, shopkeepers and CEOs — our children and grandchildren will grow up to be the culture-makers of their generation.

Every morning, I flip on the lights to my upstairs writing room, open the window blinds, and crank up some music on iTunes to rev up my brain for writing. I sing along to hymns, Radiohead, Johnny Cash, The Shins, Emmylou Harris, and all manner of songs, as if to prepare this space artistically for our children one day. I will gladly give up this room for a kid when the time comes, so it’s like I’m painting the walls in song in preparation, which of course includes silly jazz songs, too — like the Coal Train Railroad record.