I vividly remember one evening as a teenager when I was cleaning up the kitchen after dinner. There were leftover spaghetti noodles, and leftover sauce, but only one available tupperware container. We didn't normally mix the two so I was stymied how to store them. When I asked my mom what to do, she said two words to me, "be creative."
I'm sure she had no idea how much those two little words would impact my life!
Over the years her admonishment to "be creative" has given me the freedom to do things a little differently. To think outside the box. To find ways to get the job done, even if I didn't have all the typical "tools." Perfection was no longer the goal. My solution could be different....atypical.... creative!
I thought of the spaghetti storage incident recently, as I was frantically trying to get one new wall in the schoolroom painted to match the rest of the room. It was the school room side of a bedroom wall we had put up just this summer. It was late at night and we needed to use the room the next day. After painting two other rooms the preceding week I was ready to just be done with painting, but I set my face to the task of painting one more time. It had to be done. I was ready to whip this thing out.
Then I realized that I didn't have a clean paint tray. I had recently used our last disposable tray to paint H's bedroom turquoise. What to do? I could go to the large 24 hour super store or I could wait until the next day. Or.... I could be creative and make a third option!
I chose to "be creative."
The wall got painted. Bookshelves got put back in place. We used the school room the next morning.... with pleasure.
Thanks, mom, for your words of wisdom to me all those years ago. They were probably spoken casually, in the moment, and you probably don't even remember saying them. But for some reason that was a teachable moment for me. God used those words to begin teaching me a very important truth. Aside from moral issues, there really isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to do things. Each person does things in their own way, and that's okay. It's what makes us each "creative." What a powerful thing for a teen to learn! I also began to learn that I could figure things out on my own. I didn't need to be told how to do every. single. thing.
I need to remember that, and live it, as I help teach my own children how to live and work and function effectively in a family. Can I let go of "my" way of washing the dishes? If the children don't fold their clothes the way I would, does that really matter? They may have a different system for cleaning the bathroom than I do, but if the bathroom is clean in the end, isn't that the goal?
Help me, Lord, to let my children be creative, even as my mom let me be creative. Help me to remember that my children need permission to figure things out for themselves. Help me to let them go, bit by bit, as they approach adulthood. Help me to let them