Today’s post is brought to you by my adorable nephew, and his amazing curiosity for life. If you’re thinking, “This is a music therapy blog, not a personal blog!” You’re right, but just like with so many other things in our lives and careers, our experiences fuel both parts. Especially when we least expect it!
“Oooohhh,” I hear from across the kitchen table. “How you do dat?” I looked up from my list, smiled, and showed my adorable nephew how I clicked the pen to draw the point up and down. He was so thrilled by the simple clicking of a pen top that I couldn’t help but laugh at his innocent wonder. It was amazing! So I offered to show him how to do it himself (because showing a toddler how to use an ink pen is a great idea [said no mom ever]). He grunted. He stuck out his cute little tongue in concentration. He used one hand, then switched to the other. And he got frustrated, and my heart was breaking.
How can it be that his desire to learn and discover was being challenged by a pen? I remember thinking, “there has to be a better way!” As a teacher and music therapist, one of the sticking points I hold closest to my heart is that children who have cultivated a love of learning and discovery carry one of the greatest gifts of all times with them for the rest of their lives. So the fact that a simple spring loaded ink pen challenged this sweet boy put my eyebrow on the raise, and my creative juices flowing.
Try another pen…nope. Put his thumb over mine…nope – “I hol’ it!” Put my thumb over his…now he’s crying. Ok – think. Think. THINK!
I gave a huge sigh of relief when I saw the quarter sitting on the table. I grabbed some tape, and taped the quarter to the top of the pen. “Aun’ B! Wha you donin now?” Grinning, I listened to him try to repeat my explanation. I’ve never heard anyone say “surface area” in a more adorable way, and I showed him how to click the pen just one more time. He smiled and said, “I do now.” And he did. Over and over and over again for the next ten minutes.
For about five of those minutes, I felt like a superhero. Yes – it’s so simple that perhaps it shouldn’t be celebrated as a feat of brilliance, but looking at the process as an opportunity to encourage curiosity and model problem solving skills – YES! I was winning. It was amazing. The last five minutes…well… those were spent chasing him in an attempt to repossess the said ink pen (because giving a toddler an ink pen is, in fact, not a great idea…). He’s a pretty quick little dude.
We all have moments in our lives where we need to find creative solutions ASAP. In this moment, I was reminded that creative solutions surround us if we are only willing to look for them. This experience with my nephew fueled my desire to create simple, practical instrument adaptions for my music therapy clients, and it’s been working!
So this week, I encourage you to dig in and think of a time when you felt like a superhero for saving the day with a simple, creative solution. Do you feel like sharing? I’d love to hear about your solutions, so drop me a comment below!
Until next time….
Yours in creativity,
Steward, The Music Therapy Marketplace
PS – the house survived the pen experience (which is both shocking and amazing). I’m hoping his toddler brain has forgotten about how amazing an ink pen can be for at least two more years. Here’s to hoping….