Art of the Song Creativity Corner
It is wonderful to facilitate painting with children.
It is necessary to support children in their natural creative exploration so that they trust themselves and mature in a healthy way. We can support their sensibility towards honesty and keen insight by creating a safe environment in which to explore.
Working with children makes it clear why so many adults have lost contact with their creativity. We are making the results so much more important than this incredible gift of exploring that children have.
As young as 3 or 4, a child may already start to decide what they can and cannot paint. They begin to look outside themselves and paint what pleases others instead of trusting what they have inside; growing up to be adults who feel they have little or no ability to create.
As a teacher, I am curious to reopen the door to our creative energy. I find there are many ways to help students relax but it doesn't always take care of the judgmental beliefs. So, I was delighted when one day I discovered the Silly Monkey.
Silly Monkey is the name I use for the judgmental inner voice. I tell the students to gently put the Silly Monkey out to play while they paint. Children are wise and know there are two voices; one says "paint this", and the back-street-driver voice that says "oh no, that's not good."
Through naming the voices and then knowing what to do the children feel empowered. Happiness and light fills their eyes. Brushes move easily again. This simple tool allows the children to acknowledge the Silly Monkey in personal relationships or when playing or doing homework.
To fully support the children we need to know our own Silly Monkey. Most of the time we cunningly avoid it. Deep in our heart we know that the mind's unfounded beliefs do not serve us.
The Silly Monkey shows us the thoughts that support our suffering. Through this inquiry the pressure of judgment defuses and our tender creativity returns. We can trust what is inside of us no matter what our opinion is about it. And, we absolutely crave this fascinating, honest journey into the truth. •
©2007 Jan Haller. All rights reserved.