Archive for July, 2016

Bob Ross, creating and consuming 

We’ve been doing a lot of artsy stuff over here lately because the craft store had a sale and Bob Ross got added to Netflix so now I feel like I can conquer the world or at least a canvas. 

I’m Bob Rossing it tonight, like I said, the first season of his show is on Netflix and so it’s Nostalgia City over here, population: me.

I used to watch Bob Ross when I was little and I credit a good bit of the beginning of my desire to create with words back to the days of sitting as a kid and watching him create with paint. There’s something about watching a blank canvas turn into a beautiful landscape that makes you feel inspired to create something yourself.

You see a white void and then all the sudden there is a sunset along a river and some happy little trees.

Watching this has me thinking about creating versus consuming.

Think about what you experience for yourself and see in others most often in the day to day… We consume video games, food from hip restaurants, clothes from Name Brand stores, cell phone Apps, literature, sports, news, etc. The list could go on, and the list isn’t all bad but I wonder how long our list is of things we’re creating. I would guess it is pretty thin.

When is the last time you let yourself create something you would otherwise just consume? What holds you back? For most I would say we probably like the convenience of ready-to-consume things and we also fear not creating something worth the amount of effort we’d have to spend creating. We might not admit it, but in the deep down place that we don’t let many people into we probably don’t create as often as we should because we’re scared others might not find what we create “good enough”, so we’ll look for already approved methods and products and just consume those instead, then if we receive criticism we have a place to fall back on “it was a highly rated recipe”, “this magazine said these shoes were popular”, “Pinterest told me to.” Blah blah, you get the idea. 

The longer I am a mom the more I become burdened to be intentional with my children in the way they are raised. I don’t want them to feel pressured to be perfect, I want them to feel comfortable with their own gifts and at peace with their own weaknesses. 

I want them to feel confident in their ideas. 

Sometimes my kids say they are bored and want me to structure their play time, but honestly they are kept the most entertained when I leave them to their own imaginations and don’t bombard them with fixed activities but allow them the space to figure out how to have fun with what’s around them, and the ideas in their own brains. Then they play until they are bored again and then figure out how to keep themselves entertained again, it’s small scale creativity. 

Creating keeps you hungry, with moments along the way that satisfy until you’re hungry again. This is a natural and good process. We learn balance in that ebb and flow.

Consuming keeps you starved and dependent on another source to continue to give.

This extends beyond creating things, though, right? 

When we let our kids create we give them permission to know their value. Their ideas for playtime are just as good as my ideas for playtime. (Honestly they are usually better, a Pinterest craft is not as fun as a pretending you are a princess night ninja on a mission to rescue a baby dragon who is about to set the house on fire because the baby dragon hasn’t learned to control its fire breathing yet. And yes this is a real example, and yes we caught the baby dragon in time.)

I feel like this is a small way to teach them about their importance as functioning members of society as they become adults. We can be contributing members to change but we have to take the initiative to offer ourselves when we’re generally looking to other people to give us the change we want to be a consumer of, so we can let ourselves off the hook of hard work. And it is hard work sometimes: to be a voice for change, to put action to that voice, to stand up when a lot of people are sitting down.

When we live simply as consumers we walk around like zombies looking for the next thing to feast on until that’s not enough and we need more. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to create ideas and things and change, we don’t just contribute what we’ve created but we contribute our very selves
I want my kids to be conscious that they are important members of society with much to offer. I want them to feel like they can accomplish things because they aren’t afraid to fail. I want them to feel empowered to speak out against injustice because their voice matters, they don’t need someone in a higher position to take the lead – they are allowed to be world changers themselves. 

I want them to see the blank canvas of their lives before them and not be scared of the void, I want them to be excited about the potential they have to offer. The world needs less consumers and more princess night ninjas ready for action. 


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