When Jillian and I were at Crafting Community last month, we were privileged to interview Todd Oldham of Kid Made Modern. During the interview I remarked how one of the neat things about being there was observing how one child’s project would lead to another child’s project and how there was a chain of inspiration.
Todd replied, “Exactly. You know, being a fan is one of the most important things we can be as humans, as well as being interested and really being able to be thrilled for someone else’s beautiful effort. You know, we perhaps all have some moments of jealousy or wistfulness, but if you can really be a fan and honestly admire others, that’s a wonderful attribute.”
When was the last time you were really thrilled for someone else’s beautiful effort?
That’s not an easy thing for some adults, I know. Yet kids, especially young kids, seem to find it easy to be a fan of someone else, to genuinely be happy for them and their creativity or ingenuity. Yes, jealousy can crop up from time to time, but overall young kids genuinely admire others in their endeavors.
I see this play out with my own children on a daily basis. One of them will be hanging out at the craft table, where no one seems to be alone for very long, drawing or cutting and gluing and happily creating away. Pretty soon I’ll be hearing things like, “Cool!” and “let me try that” and before you know it imitation is playing out as the best form of flattery and there will be one or two other versions of the original creative project, sometimes even a todder-sized version – the chain of inspiration.
Sometimes one of them will issue the ultimate compliment at our house, “you should have mommy take a picture of that and show daddy.”
My kids are genuine fans of each other and they want to show off each others accomplishments. If I can figure out how to nurture that love and admiration, to allow them to take that ability to be a fan with them into adulthood, I’ll be a happy parent.
The world needs more fans, more people who know how to set jealousy aside and really appreciate someone else’s beautiful effort. We could learn a lot from our kids in this regard.