Review Blog

Jun 04 2014

The artist's way for parents: Raising creative children by Julia Cameron with Emma Lively

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Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743315064.
Scan the literature for quotes about the importance of the imagination and creative thinking as an essential part of the learning process and you will come up with thousands from people ranging from Einstein to Jobs. Even Dr Seuss had one:
'Think left and think right and think low and think high.
Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try.'
Following the amazing success of The artist's way published 20 years ago and still selling, Julia Cameron has now written this guide for parents who want to enable their children to maximise this innate part of their being. Based on her belief that 'Creativity is a spiritual undertaking. Parenting is a spiritual undertaking' she describes this book as 'a spiritual toolkit, a support, a guide.' She says, 'Let us lessen our grip on the obsession with perfection, with the 'mastery' of parenting, and allow ourselves to explore and delight in the mystery instead.'
This is not a how-to book that provides instructions on how to teach the child to paint, knit, model, or play a musical instrument. With chapter titles such as Cultivating Curiosity, Cultivating Self-Expression, Cultivating Conscious Inflow and Cultivating Humility it has a much broader focus written in a conversational style with anecdotes and examples that could easily be adapted to the classroom or the home. She addresses the issue of clutter and mess that often inhibits parents from encouraging creativity, while at the same time encouraging the parent to examine their own likes and compare them to those of the child, providing a mix of the practical with the philosophical. Spattered with such exercises that challenge thinking and encourage small changes with big impacts, this book has a place in both your Teacher Resource and Parent Library sections.
There are a few pages devoted to the power of reading and at their end, she writes, 'Sharing experiences through reading, we connect ourselves to something larger. Connecting to something larger, we become larger ourselves.' I think that 'reading' could be substituted with 'creativity' and encapsulate the whole theme of this book.
Barbara Braxton

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