Monday, July 17, 2006

Unfinished Works

As I was putting some things away in the basement, I spied Amanda's spiral notebook that I bought her to start our joint story. She took it down there to show her friends on July 4th, and it obviously hasn't been touched since then. I will say that this week has been full of Vacation Bible School in the evenings and soccer camp in the mornings, so there's not a lot of extra time for creative endeavors. However, even if it remains unfinished, that's okay.

The spiral notebook served it's purpose. She did some creative writing, we shared an activity together, and it filled some time for several days that she did not spend watching TV. She has proudly shared it with friends, her dad, and her great-grandmother.

As I put away a craft book that she had bought before school ended, and looked at all the craft supplies in the basement as well, I thought, "What is it that prevents me from actually saying yes when she asks to do one most of the time?" This book has some pretty grand undertakings, and I don't know that she would want to complete them after cutting and shaping (boring but time consuming), and waiting for the paint to dry before it was time for the finishing touches. So what?

So what if she doesn't finish them? Is the purpose of making a desk storage caddy really to store her stapler, pencils and tape in a convenient yet cool place on her desk? Not for me. The purpose of crafts in the house is for her to occupy her time and maybe find a new talent or skill. If she doesn't finish, I think I'm okay with that.

I say "no" too often. Not because I don't want to sit down with her and help (although that is sometimes the reason for the no), but more often it's because I don't think that she will finish or that she will use it or be pleased with it. I really must remember that she is a child, and thinks like a child and reasons like a child. She takes pride in her accomplishments--finished or works in progress. She enjoys the process. She enjoys the beauty of play.


Katrina said...

So true, Jennifer. We have plenty of unfinished works in this house, too, but you're right - the point is the process, not the completion. There's so much to be learned and/or enjoyed along the way - creativity, time together, new skills, learning new facts, etc.

Tammy said...

Yes, so true. I have to remind myself of the joy of doing rather then completing...with my girls and with myself!
My seven year old, who's been a pretty good reader for almost two years, enjoys writing in journals. She doesn't do it all the time, but now and then.
And I still have a diary I kept as a seven year old, with bad handwriting and mispelled words galore.
Now...if you read my recent post, I must go get out my scrapbooking supplies while I have the chance...your post just gave me the nudge! :)

Dianne said...

I was surprised to see my blog name as the title for your post today! Thanks for the reminder though - to enjoy the process and the journey as well as the destination. And good for Amanda for enjoying what she does!

None of us are "finished works" om God's eyes, but God is okay with that, so we should be okay as well with WIPs in our lives.

e-Mom said...

Wise thoughts. Shouldn't we enjoy the process AND the destination? Sometimes my kids need encouragement to finish a project. Especially when the initial enthusiasm has flagged. I'm the same way... and so is my husband!

Jennifer said...

Thanks for the comments. Dianne--I thought you'd like this post. I thought the title fit.

E-mom--thanks for your recent comments. I do agree that sometimes a nudge is necessary to finish something, and it is worthwhile to finish it, but I don't want fear of finishing to even keep me from starting.

Blair said...

I have a hard time leaving things unfinished but you're right, kids don't usually care - they just want to have fun in the process.

Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) said...

yes - it is hard to let go and let them just do their thing. my son loves to make things, but i am too often too busy to drag out all the paints etc and set up and clean up. I need to take the time though because he loves the joy of creating, whether or not he finishes.