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In her book The Hidden Art of Homemaking, Edith Schaeffer argues that everyone has a talent or skill ready to be discovered and put to use for the glory of God. Often, that talent lies dormant, and the individual is frustrated by the empty spot in their life it should fill. Finding your talent should be a priority, though it's no drudgery—discovering what God has made you good at is a joyful and exciting process.
Similarly, Olympic gold medalist Eric Liddell never put his running before his duty to Christ; instead, he used his talent as a sprinter to glorify God. As he expresses in the brilliant film Chariots of Fire, "I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure." God gives us talents to use in His name, and our joy in them is really our joy in Him.
Eric Liddell's talent led him to compete internationally; the "hidden art" Schaeffer describes is a little more modest, though no less glorifying to God when pursued humbly and gratefully. For Schaeffer, one's hidden art can be something as simple as arranging flowers on the kitchen table, or as elaborate as writing a story or painting a landscape. Everyone has different strengths, and each should learn to cultivate their own.
Our goal in teaching our children art and music isn't to raise a bunch of Van Goghs and Mozarts. If your child is a creative genius that's wonderful, but even if she can barely stay in the lines when coloring, her gifts are just as valuable to the Lord, and her discovery of them is just as important for her growth and personal happiness.
There are a few books in this section designed to help kids appreciate great art of the past, to learn about composers, or to identify the work of different painters and architects. However, most of what we offer is intended to help students across the whole range of ages to acquire and develop whatever skills they may have in sketching, painting, composing, instrument-playing, sculpting, acting, etc.
It's important to remember that no one will ever do anything perfectly, and first attempts are generally met with complete or near-total failure. Failure is often seen as an enemy, or simply as a hurdle to be overcome. Real failure, however, is integral to eventual success and (more importantly) to learning and character development. If a child managed to get everything right the first time, there would be no room for improvement, no reason to work hard.
Exercising one's creativity is essential. Humans were created in God's image, which means in part that we are creative beings, and whenever we're creative in ways that honor God, we're imitating Him. To the extent we can train our kids to do this, we should. Encourage them to do the best they can, because in the end they're doing it for God, and He expects nothing less.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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