The Artist's Way for Parents, by Julia Cameron

The Artist’s Way for Parents, by Julia Cameron

I received this book for free from the publisher. All content and opinions are my own.

This book is exactly what it says it is – a book for parents. Each of its twelve chapters explore ways that parents can cultivate creativity in themselves and then in their children.

[W]e must be willing to take steps toward our own creative and spiritual health . . . . Like the advice we receive on an airplane to administer our own air masks before helping the children beside us, we must nuture ourselves to set the example for our children.

While I was initially disappointed that this book did not include hundreds of artistic things to do with my child, the disappointment did not last long. This book seeks to provide tools for infusing creativity rather than specific creative activities. There is so much to mine from here. From the very first exercise, I was inspired:

List five things you love, such as snow, cherry pie, parrots, gerbera daisies, and drumming.

How could you share each of these things with your child? For example:

  • Snow – Cut out snowflakes.
  • Cherry pie – Bake Grandma’s recipe.
  • Parrots – Visit a bird store.
  • Gerbera daisies – Go to the plant store together and buy one gerbera daisy, then come home and draw the flower together.
  • Drumming – Make a drum from an oatmeal container.

Now choose one item from your list, and embark on exploring it with your child.

Do you see the potential here? I ended up with three pages full of lists of things I want to do or try or be better about. Here’s a sampling:

  • Taking my daughter on artist “dates”
  • Allowing (some) chaos
  • Making sure my comments on creativity are encouraging
  • Expressing gratitude
  • Creating and continuing rituals
  • Providing more “raw” materials for creativity
  • Documenting my daughter’s creativity
  • Serving others
  • Rewarding effort and process rather than just the end result

I could go on and on. Needless to say, this book will be a resource I turn to again and again as I seek to cultivate creativity in myself and my daughter. I highly recommend it.