George MacDonald, a 19th-century minister and author, wrote, "There can be no higher calling than to be an instrument of God's continual redemptive engagements with the imagination, and through it the world." God sent your children into your house because He believes you can guide them into maturity. That includes your child's creative, intellectual, and spiritual development, and not one of these dare be neglected. This article presents ways you can foster a creative environment in your home. 

Eight Gifts Your Child Needs 

Through the years of dealing with creative individuals, I have come to the conclusion that there are eight gifts every child needs—regardless of where he or she may be on the continuum of creative ability—in order to develop the creative potential God has given them. Don't be surprised if your creative child needs more of each than other children. 

Gift #1: Confidence 

If you believe he can, it will give him greater incentive to try. Help him discover his own limitations. Don't set them for him, and don't demand more than he is able to give. Don't expect more from him than God does.

Gift #2: Opportunities 

One of the critical issues in life is determining where you fit and what you can do. For most people, it takes several tries to discover what works best. Your child needs the opportunity to try a variety of things, to make choices. Ability to make good choices comes through experience. Give him a safe environment and the opportunity for mistakes as well as successes.

Gift #3: A Parachute 

Failure is never final, even when it seems that way. Disappointments build character. How they are handled will determine whether that character is good or bad. Your unconditional love is the greatest and safest parachute you can provide.

Gift #4: Acceptance 

Dandelions may not have the fragrance or beauty of a rose, but they have a beauty all their own. If you reject the gift, you are apt to lose the giver. During my research, a child said to me, "I like blank sheets of paper."

I was intrigued. "Why is that?" I asked.

"Well, a blank sheet of paper will take whatever you give it. Teachers won't do that."

Gift #5: Time 

Don't assume, when nothing is happening, that nothing is happening. Remember that neither the preparation stage nor the incubation stage may produce visible results. I recall when a sixth grader asked, "Could we put some time in the schedule to just do nothing?" We are an over-scheduled society. Give him time to ponder, to dream.

Gift #6: Trust 

Trust has to be earned. Can he trust you with his most private thoughts? Too often people tell you what they think you want to hear. Children will write what you expect until they can trust you with their thoughts and their ideas. Don't break their trust by unwise and unnecessary disclosures of their personal comments. 

Gift #7: Undivided Attention 

Multitasking is a parent's basic skill, and it's easy to treat conversing with your child as just one more task. When my daughter was about 2 years old, I was carrying her when we entered the supermarket. As we walked down an aisle, she said, "Daddy, talk to me." This took me by surprise, for we had been chatting ever since we left home. With some irritation in my voice, while continuing to scan the items on the shelf, I replied, "I've been talking with you all the time."

She firmly took my face in her hands and turned it until she could see my eyes. "Now you're talking to me." I quickly recalled God's promise, "I will guide you with my eye."  

Gift #8: Praise 

The product may not always merit praise, but effort does. Be honest. "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver."