According to George Santayana, “The family is one of nature’s masterpieces.” When it comes to the human family, I propose that, as parents, we are the principle artists.
Parenting is defined as the act of rearing offspring; the raising of children; the taking care of the next generation. Art is defined as skill acquired by experience, study and observation; a branch of learning; an occupation requiring knowledge or skill; the conscious use of skill and creative imagination in the production of aesthetic objects. I would further propose that the ability to perform the former is greatly enhanced by viewing it as the latter – thus the title, Parenting as Art.
What do artists do to maximize the potential for creating a masterpiece?
First of all, artists meticulously study their medium in order to understand and anticipate how it will respond to their applications.
Secondly, artists take the time to observe and study the work of those who have gone before them, not to replicate prior work, but to learn from the masters’ accomplishments as well as their mistakes, in an effort to create a uniquely personal style.
Thirdly, artists practice. They do and redo. They try, erase and try again. They are constantly striving to improve.
Next, artists have a vision for what they want the outcome to be. They are highly selective in who they involve in the process of their work.
Finally, artists arrive at that point when they realize they have done all that they can. They step back from their work, confident that they have given it all it needs to stand on its own.
Over the next few posts, I will explore how the art of parenting compares to other art forms – the similarities and differences. Perhaps it is possible to discover how to apply the artists’ effective practices to the creation of our own family masterpieces. To be continued.