Tonight I sat and colored with my three year-old son for an hour. That’s right an hour. My other kiddos were playing secret spies and watching Nick Jr. in the other room.
As we colored my little guy talked and talked and talked.
His conversation was very revealing. He does not like purple dogs. He does like orange, blue, red, and yellow dogs. He does not like the blue that I colored the sky, but likes his Paw Patrol blue color for coloring the sky. All of the dogs he colored are named Charlie the Ranch Dog (based on the character in Ree Drummond’s books).
It was fun to just listen to him. If I stopped coloring, he would ask, “Mommy, are you taking a break? Are you done taking a break?” He wanted so badly for me to like and do the same things he was doing that it really bothered him to see me stop.
So I kept coloring.
I colored seven (7) whole pages and watched and listened while he colored on eight or nine different sheets. It was relaxing, but most of all it gave me time to create and connect with my little boy. Rarely have I taken the time to just color with him since Christmas and most of our conversations lately have been about what episode of Paw Patrol he wants to watch.
As I colored with him, I thought back to coloring with my sisters when we were young. I remember coloring in coloring books on the floor of the first house we lived in and comparing my work with my sister’s. We believed that when you stopped coloring people’s hair blue and purple and were able to color inside the lines, you were a big kid. We colored pages and pages of images. I can’t even begin to try to remember all the art we created.
As a parent, coloring dates with your children offer time to connect and talk. The conversation while coloring flows out of the crayons and into the words being shared. It is almost like the opening of the coloring book is the portal to a dimension where your kids and you can be honest and candid about what is being seen, felt, or thought. It is a quiet activity that allows for freedom of expression and for bonds to form.
Last October I had the opportunity to visit Walsworth Publishing in Marceline, Missouri. They were printing millions of copies of adult coloring books. Since my visit I can’t help but notice all of the adult coloring publications lining store shelves and endcaps. It makes me smile to think of grown men and women coloring on their lunch break or while watching the evening news. After coloring with my son tonight, I think there just might be something to this Crayola-driven craze.
As an adult, it is so important to create connections through experiences like those found in coloring. Taking time to fill in the lines with the hues of your choosing and shading in the undefined areas with colors that come straight from you gives you a greater sense of control and creativity. Making something that you are proud of is so healthy for our emotional psyche and embracing a childlike pastime brings peace to our hectic world.
Maybe you won’t run out and buy a box of colored pencils and the latest edition of stained glass coloring creations tonight, but maybe take a few moments to doodle or sketch or even just make cool shapes with the paper clips on your desk. If you have children or younger siblings create some original art of your own together.
Take some time for innocent imagination and your energy will find an intent that is pure and positive and guaranteed to add a brighter spectrum to your day.
By: Melanie A. Peters