After our tour of Masak Masak 2015, we were lucky to get a slot at the Joint Picture Joins Hearts workshop. This is an art therapy workshop conducted by The Red Pencil as part of the museum’s A Lighter Side of History programme series.
Joint Picture Joins Hearts explores art as a form of communication across generations. In particular, the purpose of the workshop was to facilitate a better understanding and bonding between grandparents and grandchildren. Experienced art therapists were on hand to assist with the sharing of experiences between generations, while inculcating the importance of valuing and respecting others.
As this was an impromptu art session for my daughter and I, I was not sure if we will get anything out of the experience other than another fun and enjoyable mother-daughter bonding session. And of course we get to bring home our “masterpiece”.
Life gets really busy when your kids are in primary school. Time becomes a scarce commodity and especially so when both parents have professional jobs outside of home. You tend to allocate sit-down time together for really significant moments like celebrations, meal-times or family discussions to deal with issues or family matters.
While most families are generally successful in using these times for communication and sharing, what is often missed out is the sentiment or inner thoughts behind these communication or sharing (unless the parent is paying careful attention). And this is my take-away during this art therapy session!
What Goes On In Her Mind?
As my second child, I am guiltily aware that my daughter has the scraps of my time after work, school, brother, father, home (in no particular order). And as much as my husband and I express our love for her, sometimes, it is difficult to assess if she fully comprehends how much she is loved by us and her significance as part of our family.
Yes, I am aware that I only have two children. Even still, the elder one seem to grab hold of most of our time and attention. So, I was grateful to have this opportunity where she is the leader (I have to follow her lead) and let her share her thoughts.
After painting, I asked my daughter (with me by her side to provide moral support) if she would like to share what we had painted. I am glad she agreed because this is a good opportunity for her to practice her public speaking skills.
She shares that we were planting a tree because she remembers that is what LKY does every year to make our nation green. [We had a conversation about this as a family during LKY’s funeral and she obviously feels an affiliation to do the same. Maybe this year for her birthday, we will go plant a tree together as a family.]
She painted people she values – mom, dad, big brother and her (so glad she did that). And I love that she painted heart-shaped clouds in the sky. Her explanation? One heart-shape cloud of love for each of the family member. *Did you see my heart melt?*
So no matter how big or small your gestures of love for your kids, they notice. And if you really want to know what is in their heart about a certain matter? Sit down with them and allow them to draw that particular subject. Then ask open-ended questions about what they have drawn and allow them to share openly.
Some examples of open-ended questions:
- Can you share what this image / drawing is about?
- I see… Can you tell me what you were thinking when you drew this?
- I like this image / drawing. Can you explain to me how you came to draw this?
Remember, YOU have to be OPEN to receiving the answers. Only when you are open, will the kids (who are very intuitive) also be open to you.
Till our next post, love yourself, love one another.