If the words “messy crafts” are the first words that come to mind when thinking about creativity, stop right there! It’s time to re-think what “creativity” means and why it’s so important.
Form a deeper connection with God, more empathic connection with other Moms, and more intentional connection with your child.
Welcome to the Connected Mom Podcast, where we have real conversations helping you to connect more deeply with God, more empathically with your fellow moms, and more intentionally with your child. I am Becky Hurling, and I'm your host today, and I have with me today my amazing co host, Sarah Wildman. And I love working with Sarah because we bring two different perspectives to motherhood, right? Like, I'm a grandmother, and Sarah is still in the thick of it with a, uh, six year old and a nine year old. So we have a lot of fun together. So welcome, Sarah.
Thanks, Becky. I am so excited about today's podcast. What are we talking about today?
Hey, we're talking about cultivating creativity in your child. Now, before I introduce our amazing guest, sarah, what's the first word that comes to your mind when you think of creativity with children?
I think of very messy crafts. Messy creativity. That's what I think of me.
Messy creativity. So I was telling Sarah before we hopped on here that I had four of my grandchildren down last week, and the girls all want to do crafts. So, I mean, I got all the things, and last night in the quiet of my home, I discovered there was still green paint on some of the kitchen chairs. So, I mean, it's a thing, right? So we're going to talk about that. But I want to introduce our guest today because she's amazing, and I just fell in love with her heart. I had the opportunity to minister with her at a conference, and I just love her heart. So our guest today is Jenny Randall, and she is quite accomplished. She has written the book Courageous Creative, which is a 31 interactive devotional. And that would be for you, Mamas, not for your child. But it's really a fun devotional. In addition to that, she's the co host of a top ranked podcast, and it's called Shut the Shoulds Up. So I kind of love that because most of us do use the word should a lot. She's an author, she's a wife, a mom, a speaker, an editor. She is getting her Masters, uh, in theology at Asbury Seminary, and she has a deep heart for prayer. I had the privilege of joining Jenny. We, too were the ones in charge of the prayer room at a recent conference. And I just love your heart, Jenny. So welcome today to the connect them on podcast.
Thanks so much for having me on. I'm excited to spend time with you both.
Yeah, well, this will be fun because I'm sure some of our mamas are thinking, oh, creativity. Do I really want to do that? It's the mess, it's the paint on the chairs or the fort in the basement, and do we really want to get into this? But you have an amazing definition of creativity. So tell us, what is your definition of creativity?
Yeah, let's widen our minds, guys. Glitter doesn't have to be glitter and confetti everywhere. Worse. It is worse for those five days that are, like, do not even um, so the definition I like to use is the simple act of making stuff so we can think throughout the day, what are we making? What are our kids making? How can we see their creativity shine and come alongside them in that? So we often have this one track mind that creativity is just the arts or just crafts or, um, film, but it's so much bigger than that. So, I think a beautiful Excel sheet is one of the most creative things that I don't want to be in charge of, but let's put somebody else in charge of creating that beauty. Um, so I think we're all designed to be creative and express that creatively, and it's just figuring out, well, what are we making? What are our kids making? And how can we come alongside and help champion them?
Yeah, I love that. And I am the worst at Excel spreadsheet. Sarah can attest to that. Uh, Sarah does that, not me.
That's why you and Sarah are good partners.
That's awesome. So, diving down a little deeper, I love that definition. Jenny, what does the Bible have to say about creativity? This is very interesting to me.
I mean, in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, literally the first words of the Bible. And if we take that to be true, he is the ultimate creator. Right. And we can study what the creation story looks like. And then within that, he created humans. So we are made in his likeness. So, therefore, this is a communicable attribute that we share. So we are also creative. Um, if we look at in Genesis two, the first creative job is God bringing Adam, um, the animals. And he's saying, Give these animals the name. And he has given Adam authority to rein over the animals, to take dominion over this earth. And he gets to participate in the work God is doing. I know that extends to us present day that we are created to create in the likeness of our creative God. And when we do it from a healthy space, we're actually worshiping our creator, which is really beautiful to think about.
That is beautiful. One of the things you talk about, Jenny, is you talk about how kids, often as they mature and grow up, they lose some of their creativity. And certainly we see their imaginations kind of decline or whatever. Either that or they're just not using them. And you talk about creative killers. So first tell us, what are creative killers? And then tell us what we mamas can do to encourage our kids to keep creating as they get older.
Yeah. So, gosh, I feel like we could list all the things that go under the things that kill our creativity, like fear, people pleasing performance, um, shame even, can silence our voices a lot of times. Uh, so there's a whole list in my book, Creatures Creative. But what I have found for parents I was speaking at, uh, this film festival once, and I was talking about this very subject and a young actor came up, he was maybe in his early twenty s. And he was like, my creativity has been killed. So he was publicly sharing this because I brought him up and we were doing this illustration together and I said, well, what do you think your creativity killer is? And he said, I'll never forget it. He said the words my dad spoke over me, uh, actors are a dime a dozen. Why do you think you should be doing that? And it just stuck to him. That label stuck. You won't be significant, you're not going to stand out in a crowd. We twist these even if there was innocence on that dad's, um, words, because he was looking out for him. Because that's a tough job being an actor. He's probably just looking out for his son, being like, maybe get a backup gig. But we twist these words to be definers of who we are, um, as parents. And then of course, we prayed over him and we set him free. And he's been walking in his creativity ever since as an actor, which is such a huge testimony to the freedom God can bring in our lives and even acknowledging that pain. But as parents, what we can do in that same talk, another mom came up and she said, I've been stifling my kids creativity. She's working in the entertainment industry in Hollywood and I didn't want her to go. And I've been limiting her, I've been trying to get her back home. And now that woman is a successful producer. So as parents, I say all that to say this. We need to be self aware how we're viewing creativity and our kids creative expression, and how we can champion them through our words. How we can champion them with even resources, understanding their potential and whatever thing they're making. It doesn't have to be in the entertainment industry, but whatever they're making, and come alongside them to dismantle those lies and build them up in the truth and the character of God that uh, he has for them.
I really, really love that Jenny. I remember, um, our youngest daughter is particularly creative. And I remember the day where she said, you know, I don't really want to play soccer like everyone else in the family. I want to do dance and musical theater. And that's a different form of creativity. Well, now she's a worship leader. She has her own music, um, studio. She's going to be the director of The Lion King, the musical director of The Lion King here in town in January. And it's just sometimes I think moms get so busy, right? We're trying to manage get the kids out the door, clean up the mess or whatever, that there are so many things we might push them towards or say without even thinking about it. So it's great for the reminder to be self aware, to think, okay, this child is an artist. I remember we were having a Christmas night at one of our churches, and the children's ministry director gave all the kids a craft that they were supposed to do. And our oldest daughter is such a rule follower, so she wanted to do it perfectly. And our son, who is two years younger, who Sarah knows, is not a rule follower at all. So the first words out of his mouth were, do I have to do it that way, or Can I do my own thing? And we just kind of let him do his own thing because he's wildly creative. So I think it's good to be aware of those kinds of messages.
Yeah, I love that. And even I have taught this as a Bible study or as a book study often. And one of the first times I taught, a woman said to me, I can remember when my teacher told me to color in the lines, and for her, everything changed, and she was coloring a tree purple. And the teacher was like, Trees aren't purple. So she set these rules because you mentioned rules and boundaries and doing it the right way. She had now these rules and regulations that she was to follow in her creative expression, and she has felt paralyzed ever since. And as Moms, like you said, even when I was writing Courageous Creative five years ago, my kids were preschool age at that time. Maybe it was a little bit longer than that, but I remember I was so stressed out writing the book that in my process of creating a discipleship tool for our creativity, I was stifling their creativity because they were making a mess in my house.
We appreciate your authenticity because there's always grace for Mamas, right? I mean, you, uh, can always do it differently tomorrow. So the sun comes out tomorrow, as the song goes. Sarah, did you have something you wanted to ask?
Yes. So obviously, I'm picking up on giving. Uh, hard, fast rules are probably not a great way to give our kids creativity, but do you have any fun and practical ways that we could help our children strengthen creativity? We love to give tips to Mamas on this podcast.
Yes, I have a million ideas, and I might need your participation in some of them, ladies, if you're asking.
Okay, we're up, I am sure. Are you up?
I can do it. So, statistically speaking, uh, studies show that the older you get, your creativity decreases. But the beauty of that is that it doesn't have to stay that way. So you can go and you can retrain your creative muscles. So if you're listening now and you are feeling this conviction, like, oh, my gosh, I've stifled my kids creativity. There's so much hope because you're becoming self aware like we talked about, and you can retrain that creative muscle and the kids will be flourishing in no time. So there's a couple of things I do daily with my kids to stretch our creativity, which I'll talk about in a second. But before I get to that, here's a couple of practical tips you could do. And it depends on the age of the kids, but you can go it's so simple. You can go and talk to your kid, what are their favorite foods? Go make that for dinner together. Or look in the kitchen and grab any, um, condiments and anything you can find and help them to make dinner. It might taste horrible, but you're doing it together and they're getting some ownership in the kitchen. Uh, you could photograph that favorite food. You can go out on walks and collect six and leaves and build something from that. Um, now my kids are older, so they're in fifth and fourth grade. So I find that my support in their creativity is recognizing their God given potential and talents, and I get to help them step into that. So, alongside, uh, with what Becky's daughter does my daughter is in acting in theater now, too.
Oh, I love that. I didn't know that. Jenny.
Yeah, she has her first official play this weekend. It's Beauty and the Beast.
And my daughter was in that. It's such a fun show. I'm so excited.
She's the narrator, and she reads her lines so fast, uh, and it's so cute. And I'm just like, such a proud mama, and she's gained such a, ah, mass. But me building her muscles and that is let's run lines together and just being present to help her foster that. And then my son, he's so into football, and his creative expression through football is developing plays. So we'll spend time, I'll be like, go this way and spin around here and dodge the guy here. And it's so simple, but we're participating in it together. Um, here's the fun one that I need your participation in. This is what I do daily with the kids, all right? So every day we do morning motivations, which we just speak encouragement to one another and build them up. A lot of the times, that is talking about their creative expression. But the other things we do daily is we try to do a freestyle rap or a dance off.
I feel you're getting nervous. I don't think we're equipped for the dance off, but I would like to challenge you both to a rap battle between Becky and Sarah. See how I took myself out of the equation. I'll, uh, get you on.
Okay. So, Sarah, you go first.
Well, let me set the topic so you don't feel overwhelmed. Sometimes our creativity can have no boundaries, and you don't even know where to begin. So, Sarah, uh, you're going to take 30 seconds, give or take, and you're going to just give a little rap or sing a little song about creativity or creativity or being a mom, whichever direction you want to go into.
Okay. Oh, my goodness.
And it's fun. And a, uh, piece of creativity is being vulnerable. And then the next time you get asked to do this rap challenge, you're going to be so confident because you've done it once before.
Yeah, because it happens all the time.
Jenny, that I'm asked.
Okay, let's think it's like you almost need a beat, right? I got to get into it here.
Let'S, uh see, I went to the store, and I bought some milk because my kids were hungry, and I only had silk.
I thought you were going to say and then it spilled.
Yeah. Then I got home and I gave him some milk, but then it was all over the floor after it spilled.
There you go.
I love being a mom. Oh, no, I got to finish it.
I love being a mom. There's more than the milk, but sometimes you just got to remember not to cry over spilled milk.
That was horrible.
That was beautiful.
Okay, what do you got for me, Sarah?
I mean, Jenny, you have the same challenge. Becky.
Oh, I do. Okay.
So you could do the creativity.
Okay. Creativity is a hard word to rhyme, though.
Or create stuff. Yes, make. Okay. So on most days let me think. On most days, I love to create, except when my brain is dead and I can't have a creative thought worth anything. I'm living that right now because I'm in the thick of writing two books, and I'm like, I need this creative thing right coming down on the page. But as I create, I could go bake, but I probably won't because no one's around. I'm supposed to be writing, so I got to get into my writing cave.
My grandkids love to do these wrap challenges. Jenny so we do them in the car, especially. We'll be in the car because some of them are, like, in kindergarten and first grade, and so everything's about Rhyming words. So then they like to try to come up with all these wraps that rhyme. So that's very fun. I love that. So, Jenny, you actually have a free download that parents can snack on creative challenges. And so I snagged it this morning, and we're going to make sure it's in the show notes today.
So mama's out there. You've got to go to www. Jennyrandall. Comcreativekids, because it's free. And this is, like, a great little gift, uh, to you from us, and it's free again. So this will be a great resource for you as you're raising your kids and cultivating creativity. Um, so on that list, uh, you talked about fort building, and I got to tell you, that is my grandson's favorite activity. When they're over here, they'll say, mimi, can we use the blankets in the basement? And I say yes. And they've really gotten quite accomplished at their forts. Now they have all different rooms. In fact, funny story. We have an old potty that the kids were using when they were potty training their kids as a toddler potty. And now they make forts that have a bathroom, and they will put this little toddler potty.
Oh, my gosh.
So I remind them they can't really use that potty. They're a little big, but they think it's really cool to have a bathroom in their fort. So talk to us about some of the other ideas that are on that list.
Oh, yeah. Um, let me ask you a personal question. How long does it get to stay up for in the basement? Well, that's the stressor for me as a parent, right?
Yes, always. Well, it stays up until they leave, and the parents try to help me tear it down. I have to share one more story, though. Uh, we do Sunday dinner and they all come. If you cook, they will come. So we have Sunday dinner. And the grandsons started this business called Fly High where they're making paper airplanes, and then they sell them to all of us. So for them, I did make up a rental agreement where they could have Fly High in the basement, but they did have to put all the airplanes in the provided basket and put it back in cousins club when they left. So for the most part, they're following those agreements, but every now and then, it doesn't go. It's fine.
I love that. And they're doing a little business, and that's so smart and cute and fun. Okay, some of the other things. So, the list I made that you so graciously mentioned is for younger kids. So I wrote this when my kids were in preschool age, but I think it can apply up to elementary age. Um, but you can make a milkshake or a smoothie, and your kids can put anything they want in it, and then you have to drink it. I don't know, anything edible.
Question do the moms have to drink it or the kids have to drink?
Very adventure. Your house, your rules. I think it would be equally fun to kind of torture one another with the milk cake.
There's other things within our creativity, too, that we can teach our kids, which is your creative expression can help and support other people. So you can write cards or notes to your neighbors or encouragement to your grandparents, or take that gift of writing and communicate through it to bless other people. Um, there's some easy challenges that are fun and quick. So write the happiest story you can only using eight words.
I love that.
Yeah. This stretches your mind, and you begin to think through how am I going to do? That what words are important? Um, send a gift to a relative and tell them you're thinking of them. So now you have to be a creative shopper. Give them a budget, $10. Figure out something special that goes along with their character. Uh, there's some other ones. Oh, cut footprint shapes out of paper and put them on the floor and create little dances with those footprints.
That is fun.
Do a dance. Mhm. And then there's some great outside ones. Um, paint your outside swing set or your deck. There's ah, paint that will wash away. You can just get the paints out. Specify. This doesn't go in the house. This is outside of the house. Um, and then everyone's seen this one. Paint rocks and hide them around your community. Have you guys ever found a rock hidden around? Yeah, we do that.
I haven't, but I love the idea of having the kids do that and hiding them in the neighborhood because that's kind of fun.
Really fun. And then there's more on the list. Read, um, your favorite story together and act out the lines or the dialogue. So instead of reading a bedtime story, it becomes a play. So just finding the whimsical things throughout the day. I think, as Moms and uh, Becky, you mentioned this, the greatest thing is actually slowing down and being present and noticing like, oh, this is a chance where we can bond within a creative adventure together. And knowing too, that we are all created to create. And that it just looks different based on our different talents and our individual skill sets, that we can all, um, lift one another up and be silly and have fun. And it doesn't have to be excellent, but it can be just something that bonds us together as an act of worship and we're in the likeness of who God created us to be.
M, I love that. Awesome. So I was working with a woman.
Several years ago now, and I was challenging her to make praise a part of her daily life and worship. And she's an artist and so for her, rather than just getting down on her knees and listening to worship music or even singing, she would light a candle, turn on worship music, but she would paint to the music. And so she created this whole scrapbook, um, filled with these worship designs she had done. And I just thought that was such a beautiful expression of praise just to be able to create in the image of God. Because God has created us and created us to create. And I love that. There's a verse and it's in the Psalms. I'm drawing a blank on the reference, but it says, when you send your spirit, they are created. And I know as a creator, right, I create for a living. You do too, Jenny. And so some mornings my prayer is send your spirit so that I can create words and weave them together so that they minister to my readers. So I really love that. So, as a mom, why is understanding that God given mandate, if you will, to create so important?
Jenny, I honestly think our creativity is the greatest weapon we have for the statement.
So talk about that.
I think we, as moms, are raising up world changers, prayer warriors, scientists, solution makers, um, and we, too, are afforded opportunities to step into boardrooms and own businesses and lead, uh, our kids into greater leadership themselves. And if we don't understand the potential the Lord has given us because his creativity is unlimited. Right. But we feel limited oftentimes. But as you were saying, inviting the Holy Spirit into that process, I believe that we can unleash, uh, his dreams and visions and solutions that the world needs within its brokenness. And what a gift to be able to raise our children into the potential of who God has equipped them and will invite them to be as adults. I mean, my parents never once I was raised in upstate New York. They never once were like, you're ridiculous because you want to move to Hollywood and make films. Not once did they speak, Death to that dream. And my job has shifted and molded and done so many different things. But I remember as I was driving away, moving with 60 of my friends out of college across the country, they just were waving in the driveway, did not show any ounce of nerves or anything. And the way they were able to resource and champion me within my skill set and dreams hugely, um, I mean, look at the ripple effect. I'm writing books that the Lord is using to impact thousands of other people. And I think if my parents were to squash that initial creativity within me, we wouldn't see that ripple effect. And it's not just me with the ripple effect, it's every single person. We all are influencing some sphere of influence, whether it's our kids, uh, leading in the classroom, or we're going in the classroom and helping, uh, kids be equipped within their own creative adventures or just feeling the love of God. So, I think when we can understand that our creativity is worth fighting for, it's worth finding, it's worth pinpointing the potential our kids have and then raising them, um, into who God has them to be is huge. It's huge.
I love that. So, if you were to wrap up this whole conversation, how would you, our give moms three points or three practical steps that they can start, like, today, no matter where they're listening?
Okay. Make a list for yourself of the ways you are making stuff so now you can pinpoint in yourself. Okay, I am creative. It just looks like this, this, and this. That way, when you can identify yourself as a creative, you're not going to hopefully, uh, not limit your kids in their creativity. Right. Let the glitter fly. Okay, number one, pinpoint it in yourself. Number two, have fun with your kids. We don't have to always have rules and regulations, and it doesn't always have to be this big project to create world peace. Right. Just have fun in the creative expression with your kids. And then three, take time to prayerfully. Consider ask the Lord what's the creative gifts you have placed in my children, and then go after, um, that with them and raise them up into that.
Mhm. I love that. Sarah, did you have anything else you wanted to ask?
Actually, it's related to that last point. Um, Jenny, it's kind of a tricky question. I'm trying to figure out how to ask it. Um, sometimes you can see that bent of your child right away. Like, I have one child that colors in the lines, one that's free handing. But do you think it's important, um, especially when they're younger, to expose them to things they're not really good at? I don't know if there's a little advice, because we know we have moms with kids at different ages, but I know it's so important to find their bent. But then I always kind of feel like, is it good to not be good at something but still learn about creativity? Does that make sense? I don't know if you have any thoughts on that.
Yeah, that's a great question. I think a lot of the times, fear gets in the way of our creative expression. So giving them opportunity to step into other areas just to have fun and just to, um, try something, maybe that they'll think is fun, but not be the greatest at. They can get over the fear of performance or people pleasing. So to answer it, yes, they should be in all, not all the things, right. Limit their time. But, um, they should do a lot of variety of things and in that process, they'll find what makes them flourish and what brings them to life and it might change. I mean, there are seasons in our own lives. We've been through seasons of our own creative expression. So I think having grace and not forcing them into this pigeonhole of, uh, you loved Lego last year, so we're going to be in the Lego Club for six years of our life. Yeah.
To get over the fear.
That's really sound advice for all of us. Really.
Yeah. So we're almost out of time. Jenny, what is next for you? What project is next?
Thanks for asking. Um, I am releasing a book called Flash Theology that I co wrote with my brother in law. Yeah, he's the academic theologian of the group. Um I'm the fun one. No, I'm kidding. We both have our places. Uh, we're strengthened in different ways. But I'm really excited to release this because our hope and prayer is that not only do we embrace the knowledge of who God. Is, but we begin to experience the power of who he is as we understand his character better. So it's a visual aid in a lot of ways. It's a highly visual, uh, creative book, and it contains some really core values of God. So I'm excited for that one. Woohoo.
I'm excited for that one too, Jenny. And I do have to mention you were able to get Dallas Jenkins to endorse it, which is no small thing. So the director of the Chosen So we're excited to continue our conversations with you. We'd love to have you back on the show. This was amazing. And Mamas, I hope that you are encouraged today that even if you feel like, wow, I don't have the time or the patience for creativity, give it a try, be a little intentional and laugh when it all goes awry, because you will laugh about those things later. And so enjoy your kids today. Hey, Jenny, would you close this out in prayer and pray for our mamas?
Yes, I would love to. Thank you so much. All right. Father God, I just lift up everybody listening to this show, and I just pray over our mama hearts that we find and embrace Your peace in this conversation. Lord, we repent if we've stifled not only our own creativity or the creativity in our kids. And I ask that you equip and embolden us to walk out in the creative adventures you have for us, for our children, for our families. I pray for a fresh perspective over what that looks like. I pray for the mama who's wrestling, wondering, I don't know, what the potential holds in my kid's life. I pray for eyes to see the fairy gifts God has placed within our children. And I pray for our heart to embrace it, because it might not always be the gifts we want to see rise up in our children. Lord, I thank you for the gift of humor. May that not be stifled. I thank you for the gift of laughter. I thank you for the gift, uh, of the writers and the communicators and the engineers and the scientists. May we be the ones that raise them up into the leadership capacity. You have all knowing that our creativity is worth fighting for, because you are worthy to be worshiped. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.
Hey, friends, thanks for listening today and joining us on the Connected Mom podcast, and we hope you'll join us again next week as we continue to have real conversations helping you to connect more deeply with God, more empathically with your fellow moms, and more intentionally with your child. We'll talk to you next week.