Last week I came close but chickened out. I tried to tell myself I could do it but inside, I knew it was hopeless. When my daughter put on a completely mismatched outfit I made her change her clothes.
My free-spirited alter ego berated me with questions. What happened to nurturing her creativity? What happened to letting her be her own person and making her own choices? I hardly think that making her change her clothes is stifling her independence. You said you wanted to stop worrying about what other people think. You said that it shouldn’t matter how she’s dressed as long as she looks like her mother loves her. This is true. I do want to stop worrying about what other people think. I’ll get to that tomorrow. Today she’s taking off that striped shirt and putting on a solid!
In his book, “The Art of Creative Living,” Thomas Kinkade speaks about the “passionate impulse.” He says that each of us have a creative passion that makes anything and everything possible. He believes that every human is destined for greatness and the only thing hindering that greatness is the lack of creative expression. In essence, when we cut loose and live outside our comfort zones, we are nurturing the creative drive within us and opening the doors for miraculous things to happen.
This is why I aspire to be like my friend, Suzie. She allows her girls to live. When they get dressed in the morning, they grab whatever feels good, looks good, and fits right and they put it on. Solids, stripes, polka dots, or paisley, it doesn’t matter. They are dressed and they are happy and more importantly, they are feeding their creative impulses in the simplest way possible.
What is so miraculous about a kid who wears clothes that don’t match? For starters, this child isn’t thinking about how other people see her. She's comfortable in her own skin and happy with the choice that she’s made. She’ll go to school and ace the math test because she feels competent in her abilities. This child has a mind of her own and isn’t afraid to use it. She says what she thinks and excels in activities where she can be a leader. She’s popular and people look up to her. Good stuff isn’t it?
This is good except for one problem. I can’t be Suzie. Does that mean that I’m hindering my daughter’s creative drive? I doubt it. My eight year old is already writing remarkably entertaining stories that are anything but boring. Even though she loves being around people, she’s still somewhat of an introvert and would rather write a story than go and find one. So while I may not be able to encourage her to walk on the wild side with her clothing choice, I can certainly lend a hand when she needs help in finding her creative voice.
As I delve deeper into Kinkade’s book about creative living, the end of each chapter gives me a basic principle that I can instill in my child as well as myself. Creativity is my birthright. I was born for greatness. Veer off the beaten path and be spontaneous. Be open to possibilities and discovery. Dare to be adventurous. Never underestimate the power of influence. My daughter and I are both learning to stop worrying so much about what people think of the choices we make. Who knows? There may yet come a day when we’re both wearing paisley and stripes at the same time. If you happen to see us, please don’t snap that picture.