There are two new highlights to my weekday routine: my kindergartner’s proud smile when I drop him off at carline and his relieved and his even more proud smile when I pick him up at his classroom door.
He bounds out of there with the pride akin to that of the first men who walked on the moon. When I ask him about his day, he alludes to the beautiful treasures in his red pocket folder, but he absolutely will not let me peruse them until we are at home.
Then, like a jeweler bringing forth a twenty karat diamond, he presents his red folder to me, fully expecting the same pomp on my end.
He opens the folder and lays out each worksheet or well-thought out drawing or craft from his centers. The smile I thought could not grow any larger swells yet again as I enjoy his creations.
I am not allowed to throw anything away. He has a special place he is keeping any and every piece of paper from school. They are all treasures to him.
Children are consummate creators. Left alone on a Saturday morning, all three of my boys end up creating something or an entire species of somethings. Just yesterday, my middle child spent 2 hours creating a Lego set for a Stop Motion video he plans to create today. While he was gathering pieces for his homemade Hollywood, our oldest son was creating a semi-scary, semi-hysterical Lego skeleton scene in which skeletons where emerging from the ground wielding weapons like ketchup bottles and hotdogs.
While the work station required for such creativity (read: a bedroom floor laden with legos for hours on end) hurts both my feet and my feeling of my control, there is something so right about the intricate and intentional hours they spend creating.
In a culture marked and measured by consumption, children are quietly but consistently inviting us back to the wonder of creating. It really is not the end product that they adore, though they take great pride in their work; rather, it is the process of imaging God by joining Him in His joy in creating that produces lasting joy.
In a week, the Stop Motion video will be replaced by a different scene and the tree scribbling will be forgotten, but the process of creating will leave an indelible mark on them.
Their ability to spend hours working toward the desired end they have in mind and their great delight in explaining every minuscule detail and design have given me a window into the heart of God regarding the creative process.
They deeply desire for me to take time to see, to really see and savor, the efforts they have put into their creation. They want me to comment and complement and commend them, as they rightly should.
When I look at them delighting in my excited examination, I see my own deep desires to have God see and notice and know the things that I take great delight in creating. Even if my efforts will never make it into a book or an exhibit or magazine, even if they are mediocre at best, God delights in my delight at doing what I was made to do as His image-bearer.
I find myself imagining God having a colossal city closets full of half-hatched ideas, silly sketches, cobbled creations made by His most beloved creations…us. I imagine He remembers each of our novice attempts at joining Him in creating with the same nostalgic joy I feel when going through the boy’s old artwork.
Perhaps when He said we ought to become like little children, Jesus, at least partly, invited us to mimic children’s joy in being consummate creators.