Supporting Your Kids
With Who They Are

My daughter is an artist. I'm not sure she would call herself an artist per se, but she has always exhibited artistic sensibilities. Ayla particularly loves thinking, designing, and building things in three dimensions. When she was little, I would give her some crayons and some her paper to draw on. She would immediately run and get scissors and duct tape and start creating paper sculptures! That was then. Now, she's in high school. To this day…there's still cardboard, paper, tape, and paint laying around my house on a daily basis! Somedays it's almost too much to handle! But Ayla is an artist and I've been figuring out how to support her to be who she is.

Thank you to Andrea Beaty for writing the kids book - Ada Twist, Scientist. It's a perfect parenting guide!

Ada Twist, Scientist came out in 2016. Even though I am a little late to the party, I want to make sure all parents of all kids know the benefits of this book. It's worth a read, no matter how old your kids are. Because it's a great lesson in parenting.

Ada Marie did not speak until she was three. Instead, she was busy taking in observations of the world. When she finally spoke, her first word was "why?" followed by lots of other wonderful curiosity-laden question words such as "what" and "how" and "when?" She was high energy - a handful if you will. Her parents were frazzled and dazed. But they were supportive of who Ada was. As Ada asked question after question, her parents said, "You'll figure it out."

What a wonderful way to encourage a child!

But, her questions were only the beginning. She actively tried out different things trying to discover the answers to her questions. This caused serious upheaval in the home. Eggs were broken on the floor. Colored pencils and drawings were everywhere. But the parents kept up with her, and supported her in her explorations.

On almost every page, Ada is immersed in some kind of organized chaos. She is either actively questioning, exploring, or doing…something. She is sciencing the sh*t out of everything. [That's a reference to Matt Damon in The Martian. Love that line! Love that movie!]

It is only when Ada is about to put the cat in the washing machine that her parents couldn't take it anymore. They yelled, "STOP!"

Ada was put in time out to think about what she had done. We often do this with our kids. I know I did. But Ada Twist, Scientist needed to understand why, so she scribbled all her thoughts and questions all over the wall. Now, if my kid had written all over the walls, I am not sure I would have kept my cool. But Ada's parents realized that they had to work with who Ada was at heart. Ada was a scientist through and through and she was going to ask questions, and she was going to explore and experiment, and sometimes, she was going to make a mess. All in the name of science. And not only was that ok, that was a beautiful thing. And they needed to figure out how to support her.

So her parents built shelves to store her science stuff and posted a huge roll of paper for Ada to do all her brainstorming. The parents - and even Ada's older brother - started reading science-related books seemingly to connect more with Ada and her interests. husband and I have a space in our basement where Ayla can build her art. There, she can paint and play the day away. We shop at art stores and purchase things I have never heard of like resin and silicone mold release agent. Every day, we are trying to figure out how to support our budding artist who has already expressed interest in attending art school. What are you doing to support your kids in being who they are? If you need a little inspiration and a little guidance, I recommend Ada Twist, Scientist.