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Free Range Boy Makes Homemade Drum Set

The Super Bridgy | Mommy loves your blue-goggle look | Never surrender, child.

The Super Bridgy | Mommy loves your blue-goggle look | Never surrender, child | August 2011.

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I am up by 5 a.m. most mornings and my son, Sully, is never far behind. We really enjoy this quiet time together while everyone is still sleeping.

Sullivan’s Homemade Drums

Homemade Drum

Never let anyone beat the love or creativity
out of you, dear son.

This morning while I worked, he asked me if he could go down to the basement and bring up all the empty Folgers coffee containers I’ve been collecting. I have no idea why I’ve been collecting them. They actually annoy me. I guess it seems wasteful to throw away something so useless. This defies logic, but whatever.

Anyway, I told him he could bring them upstairs, and for the next 30 minutes, he clanked around in the kitchen. When I finally got up to go see what he was doing I discovered that he’d made a homemade drum set out of the containers. He used the lid to his Tinker Toys box as a cymbal and the rods as drum sticks.

I also discovered that he’d climbed on top of the counter and took down my stemware. He filled each glass with a different amount of water to make a musical instrument. ding, diing, DIIIING!

Juliette’s collages.

Wide-open spaces, Juliette.

Brenda Ueland, one of my favorite writers, wrote that the creative power and imagination are drummed out of us at an early age. She was an English professor who said that she thought life was a process where everybody is discouraging and taking everybody else down a peg or two. She thought “helpful criticism” was worst of all.

Ueland, who wrote, If You Want To Write in 1938, believed that the joyful, imaginative, impassioned energy dies out of us very young because we don’t see it’s great importance. We let dry obligation take its place. We don’t respect it in ourselves or keep it alive in others.

I wouldn’t go as far as to call myself a free-range type parent, but every day I savor my kids’ imaginations. Letting them discover and create on their own is an exciting adventure for me. They are still young and not yet so vulnerable to what people think of them. Bridgy thinks she looks amazing in a red check dress, hot pink pants, tennis shoes, and blue goggles. Sully’s homemade drum set is 100 times better than any I could ever buy. And, check out the collages Juliette created on the covers of her new composition books for school.

I’m so proud of my kids. I don’t know where they will live when they grow up or what they will choose to do with their lives, but I have to believe nurturing their imaginations will carry them far. I tell them every day they can be anything they want to be, and I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t believe it.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You must do the things you think you cannot do.”

Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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  1. jennifer

    @HEY RAY – i adore the little girl in that picture. She has a lot to say, and God, I’m glad she does.

  2. jennifer

    @HEYRAY – I want a do-over, too. A do-over particularly of 1981-1985 – the years of intense aloneness – teenage wasteland and One Life To Live, General Hospital and when I was really bored, The Young and the Restless. I could have been learning French or how to tile a bathroom. God. I do want a do-over. I work that out with my kids, I guess.

    Look, you are one of the smartest people I’ve interacted with read in the Blogosphere/FB. You don’t need a do-over and neither do I. What I do need is to write without fear so that I can understand the things that drove my life in directions I did not want to go. Maybe then, I will stop making some of the same old mistakes. It’s like praying not for answers, but to know God. I write not to be loved, but to know myself and love her more. I adore you!!!

  3. HeyRay

    I’ve been thinking about this post all day. How much everybody tries to knock each other down a notch (no doubt based on our insecurities). How things like ‘appropriateness’ and ‘helpful criticism’ and ideas about what’s ‘generally acceptable’ drown out our creative flow. How do I go back to childhood, Jen?!?!?! I want a do-over!

  4. jennifer

    @JUNKDRAWER – I remember doing that! And, putting yarn on it and wearing it around my neck for a drum in a Christmas play.

  5. junkdrawer67

    Very cool. I can recall doing the same thing when I was that age, only with Quaker oatmeal containers and chopsticks.


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