Thursday, May 1, 2014

Modeling: Making time and space for my own projects

People talk quite a bit about modeling behaviors they want their children to emulate. Most of the time they're referring to character traits or ethical behaviors - telling the truth, practicing nonviolence, showing kindness, etc.  But what about modeling other values? Those that might require more time and space?

When you invest in your own projects, you're modeling a project-based lifestyle for your children. Sometimes we do need to hide in a quiet corner to work. But seriously, how often do most of us get quiet, uninterrupted time? Steal those moments when you can, but if you only work on your projects when the kids are in bed or with someone else, they won't see you investing time in what's important to you.

It took me a long time to learn that lesson. Or, rather, to let go of the idea that I could only work when I was alone. This past year, I've made it a priority to work on my projects in front of my kids.

They watched as I set up work spaces around the house.

They saw me take my work on the go, working on projects while my oldest was in play rehearsals next door.
(earbuds + spotify = best productivity combo ever)

They stepped around me as I spread my work out across the living room floor.

Of course, I've always worked with them to set up their own work spaces and worked around their projects at the table and on the floor. But seeing me do these things shows them that this isn't just some element of childhood. I'm modeling a lifestyle they can take with them into adulthood.

Bonus: I'm actually finishing projects now. Score!


  1. yes!!! (and congratulations on the finishing! :)

    when we try to motivate kids to work on projects but WE don’t work on projects, we’re sending a message that learning is for kids. and every kid i know wants to emulate older siblings and adults. if we want them to be “lifelong learners” (a phrase that is thrown around so often, yet the reality is so rare in our society) *we* need to be learning and doing .. and making that visible to them.

    creating a family culture of self-directed learners! <3 <3 <3

  2. YES! I do the same thing. I have work to do, and it can't possibly all get done while they're asleep or my husband is home. SOME gets done then, of course, but not all of it.

    They've also been paying attention as I take the Sketchbook Skool course. (Yes, that K in skool drives me batty.) And of course, what I'm doing seeps into their ideas of what is possible for themselves, and that's the best part.

  3. Thank you for posting this. I always felt so guilty about getting so immersed in a project that I lost track of the time or thought that I had ignored them- when in reality they were ok playing without me. When I see them reading and getting lost in a book or project, i love it!

  4. I'm working on this too. I have so many projects in the works and I usually save working on them for when the kids are otherwise occupied or asleep. I'm really looking forward to the day when it all comes together and we're living and working happily side by side. At 3 and 5 I have no idea when that will be. It feels sooner than later though. :)


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