“I learn from my children.”
My mom always said that about me and my brother and sister as we were growing up. It made me giggle because I felt like she was the one guiding and teaching us. I just assumed she was kidding or trying to make us feel good.
Now that I'm a mother, I'm learning what she meant. Every day is a new lesson as I watch my children explore, discover, and absorb all that they can from life. I have learned to listen to what they have to say because they truly do have something to say. They inspire and challenge me. They bring a perspective to situations that I would not have seen. They are funny and brilliant. Their creativity is raw and unfiltered. I remind myself daily to stop and soak it all in.
Naturally, I have special connection with my children, but I have learned that all children are amazing and that they charm and enlighten those around them in magical ways all over this world.
Teaching the Zentangle Method is a beautiful thing for me. I love seeing my students' eyes light up as their creations morph from being a collection of pen lines into being actual art. I teach all ages of students and I love it all.
I teach children the same way I teach adults. Maybe we don’t sit as long. Perhaps I use a different analogy here and there, but for the most part, it all stays the same. I teach the same Zentangle Method. And just as in my adult classes, we always start and finish with gratitude and appreciation.
I do notice that children's responses to my teachings and suggestions are much more animated and confident than adult responses. Many times, the kids will boldly go in a completely different direction than I suggested or instructed. I encourage this enthusiasm to explore uncharted and unexpected territories. There is also much less self-criticism. They seem less concerned with the outcome than adults.
During class, I sometimes think they are not listening to what I am saying. I carry on as if I am talking to myself but then out of nowhere, they will reference something I said weeks before. I am always so excited when they absorb the positive things I say about their work and proudly say, “Thank you.”
I later hear them commenting on their classmates work as they take a moment to appreciate each others’ creations, not just their own. I love the chaos and eagerness in their strokes. I love to listen to the giggles and chatter between one another. I secretly know that I am learning more from them than they are learning from me.
One recent snow day here in New England, I asked my own kids if they wanted to watch the new “Kitchen Table Tangle” video and tangle along with Meme and Ricky. I left them alone as I did some things around the house. They watched it and paused it as they tangled along and then watched it again and again. After they were done, they asked me if I could film them doing a tangle. “Sure,” I said. “Why not?”
Once again, I had a wonderful opportunity to “learn from my children.”
Full disclosure . . . I had no part in the planning of this video.
By Indy (age 7) and Mazzy (age 5)
What have you learned from the children in your life?
Tell us your story in the comments below. We will pick a random name from our commenters. If it's you, we will send you one of our new Zentangle Apprentice Kits (ZAK) . . .
. . . for the child in your life.
This and other Kitchen Table Tangles are available to subscribers on our app: Zentangle Mosaic. For more information on the app visit this link.