Raising kids can be hard enough, but how do you raise a really creative or artistic kid? In this video, author, musician, and songwriter, Andrew Peterson, talks about how he raised all of his kids to encourage creativity without forcing the arts down their throats.
The entire video is above, and the complete transcript is below.
People have asked me before about our kids because we have three older kids. I say kids. My oldest is 20 now. But they’re all involved in creative work in one way or another. My daughter’s a singer and a songwriter and my middle son is a record producer and a drummer and my oldest son is a visual artist.
I was so nervous about my kids feeling pressured to follow in dad’s footsteps that we didn’t really make them take piano lessons. We didn’t push the arts on them. I think we probably could’ve and maybe should’ve in some ways. Like made it just like, no questions asked. You just have to learn to play the violin or whatever. But I was so gun-shy about it because I didn’t want them to resent me that I just was like, “Yeah, you guys do whatever you want.” But I would also kind of leave musical instruments lying around the house.
But once my son, my oldest, started drawing magically sketch pads would appear. So when we saw them lean towards something we would help them along. And when we saw a creative spark we would try to fan it into a flame. So it worked.
Part of the principle is taken from this mentor that Jamie and I had in college, a guy that taught a marriage class. He was talking about Christianity in his home. This guy was a Bible college professor and a pastor. And he was talking about how their family really struggled to do devotions. He was like, “Some people think that if you’re a Christian family you’ve got to do devotions every night and whatever.” He was like, “We tried it and it just didn’t work. We were always running around really busy and I used to feel guilty about it.”
But he said that instead they just realized that that didn’t work for their family and instead that their Christianity was just a par for the course. That their faith was a part of an ongoing conversation in their home. Not so much, we’re going to be living our lives and now we’re gonna have our Jesus time at the end of the day. Instead he said, “It was just a part of the ongoing conversation.”
The way he put it was, “Christianity ought to be as ordinary in your home as dirty laundry and cornflakes.” I love that because it integrates the thing. Like if Christianity matters at all then it matters when we eat breakfast and it matters when we’re doing laundry.
So I think the way we approach creativity and the arts in our home is the same way. It wasn’t like, “Oh, you’re an artist. You’re special.” It’s like, “Well no, actually everybody’s called to do some kind of creative work so we’re just gonna make it a part of the day.”
The point is we’re not trying to push our kids into any certain thing. We’re just kind of saying, “Hey, this is the way that God made us and we take it for granted.” And as a result I tricked my kids into doing art.