Myla loves to create. I’m not sure if all kids have this same sort of passion for different things, but with her and art, it doesn’t seem like just a hobby. It’s a fierce, overwhelming, and wonderful passion.
You can see it in her face when she has an idea. It’s in her posture, in her body positioning. It’s in the endless scraps of paper, staples, and tape scattered all around her feet.
She gets an idea, and starts pacing as she thinks it through out loud, figuring out a plan, then hunches furiously over her workspace, anxious to get the idea out. I recognize it because I do it, too. It’s just amazing to witness in someone else.
Sure, this means her workspace is in constant need of being cleaned & straightened up. Sure, we have tons and tons of projects taped to the walls, stuffed in drawers and baskets, and tucked away in scrapbooks and closets. But to me, having her be able to make an idea turn into reality, no matter how big or small, is worth every bit.
So the first day of January, Myla woke up saying, “I had a dream about a doll I have never seen before–but in my dream, it was mine.”
She wouldn’t stop talking about it. It overtook all conversation.
I asked her to describe it, so she rushed to her table, saying “I’ll just draw it for you.”
As she sketched it out, she asked, “could we maybe try to make it?” I didn’t really understand what she was describing, but when I said we could try, she sketched out step-by-step instructions.
“First, a tube out of fabric.” (Most likely, this idea came from watching me make my little Dream Creeper dolls). “Next, stuffing. Then, wooden wheels on the bottom. We could even use the wheels from one of my wooden racecar projects.”
It was a sort of sheep-car. She called it a “shcar.”
There have been times she’s had ideas that, for whatever reason, were impossible to make, and I’ve had to say no. But when I’m able, I like to do what I can to help her make an idea come to reality. Mostly because I know how GOOD that feels…
And when we work on ideas like this, the general guideline is that we have to use things that we already have in the art room. Thankfully, with a little wonky ingenuity (and after only an hour or so), we made it happen.
It would be much easier to have said “no.” It would have been very easy to “shush up” a kid. To tell her to go make something on her own, to not bother you, to go play.
But if she’s passionate about an idea, and you can help her make it happen, then wouldn’t it be nothing but good to TRY?
So here is Shcar.
Shcar is wonky and misshapen. His wheels wobble. But you know who thinks he’s awesome? Myla does. Because she helped create him. And I don’t think it’s the actual DOLL that she loves as much as the idea she had that became a real thing.
She’s shown kids at school her Shcar, but they unfortunately don’t see the magic in it that I do. I told her it was okay–that artists see and think about things in a different way than a lot of people–like we have magic in us–and that makes people see artists as “weird.” But honestly, I wouldn’t trade my “weird” creative brain for all the “normalcy” in the world.
I don’t think anything but good can come out of encouraging creativity, and encouraging someone’s passion. You have to be willing to recognize that passion and respect it, even if you don’t understand it. You have to make room for it, and feed it so it can grow.
One of my all-time very favorite things on this (despite the “stoner” reference) comes from director Kevin Smith:
So whatever you’re passionate about, KEEP DOING IT! Instead of discouraging it in others, KEEP DOING IT! And whenever you see it in someone else, whether you understand it or not, encourage them to KEEP DOING IT!