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The Artist’s Way for Parents by Julia Cameron

Source: Finn Partners and Penguin
Hardcover, 288 pages
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The Artist’s Way for Parents: Raising Creative Children by Julia Cameron with Emma Lively and foreword by Domenica Cameron-Scorsese is less a how-to manual of creative activities for parents to engage in with their children, and more of a series of situations to emphasize the advice Cameron gives about how to cultivate creativity in children and ourselves.  From providing children with simple tools like paper and colored pencils to paints and free time on their own, rather than televisions, computers and video games, Cameron says that parents must adjust to new routines that incorporate their children, but also must remain open to creating a safe place in which children and parents can act creatively.

Each parent should begin by writing three pages per day of their thoughts and feelings before their child gets up for the day or even during snatches of quiet time, just to clear the decks.  Secondly, parents and children (depending on their age) embark on a once-weekly dual adventure, something that can be looked forward to, such as going to the zoo or a museum.  The final tool she offers is creating a bedtime ritual, which can either be reading a bedtime story together, singing songs, sharing the day’s highlights, and many other ways of unwinding.  Some great activities that can be done together including sharing the creation of meals with children through simple recipes, cutting out holiday decorations each season, visiting a florist or pet store to talk about each species and its requirements, and learning how to make instruments out of household objects.

Another part of the process is to create a creativity corner for both parent and child, which is where projects can be worked on together or in the same room but separately.  Cameron also talks about the benefit of allowing children to explore their own creativity without parents over-directing or re-directing their children’s activities.  One great aspect of the book is the discussion on reading together but separate books, and how that it is still considered sharing quality time together even if the parent and child are doing separate activity.  Separate activities in the same space are just as good as working together on projects, so long as the parent and child share their experiences with one another through discussion.

There are moments that come off preachy about faith and God, but overall the message is about nurturing children and their creativity without neglecting the well being of the parent or their own creativity.  It’s about seeing the possibilities in ourselves and our children without hindering growth and exploration.  The Artist’s Way for Parents: Raising Creative Children by Julia Cameron with Emma Lively and foreword by Domenica Cameron-Scorsese is a solid book that helps parents create the right mindset for themselves and their children, but only offers a few activities to consider.

About the Author:

Julia Cameron has been an active artist for more than thirty years. She is the author of more than thirty books, fiction and nonfiction, including her bestselling works on the creative process: The Artist’s Way, Walking in This World, Finding Water, and The Writing Diet. A novelist, playwright, songwriter, and poet, she has multiple credits in theater, film, and television.

Latest endeavor: Julia Cameron Live, an online course and artists’ community led by Julia. It is the most comprehensive discussion she has ever done on The Artist’s Way, and the first time she has allowed cameras in her home.

These are my 69th book for the 2013 New Authors Challenge.