Charlene Notgrass

I had a realization one time when I walked into Hobby Lobby. On that particular visit, as my Mother used to say, you couldn’t “stir ’em with a stick” (is that a Southernism or does everyone say that?). What it means is that the parking lot was almost full and the store was swarming with people. I thought, “There certainly are a lot of creative people in the world.”

That same weekend I went to a craft fair with a friend. It had 63 booths of creative people.

All this crafting is a surprise to me. I came of age in the 1970s when women read Ms. magazine, Helen Reddy was singing “I Am Woman,” and women were flocking to jobs in all kinds of fields that had been dominated by men.

I had grown up in a home where the sewing machine was only put away when Mother was hosting Thanksgiving or Christmas for her parents and siblings or hosting a party. The rest of the time, it was out and Mother kept it humming. Mother made her clothes and my clothes, in addition to her cottage business of “taking in sewing.” While it is true that my mother was a professional, other mothers were sewing for themselves and their daughters, too.

However, if you had asked me when I was a newlywed if crafting would be popular in the early 21st century, I would have been skeptical. Women seemed much too busy conquering the world to stop and make things with their hands. I’m still surprised at the great interest of so many young women in creating beautiful things.

I like to see homeschooling mothers encouraging creativity in their children. Giving a child the freedom to be creative while also encouraging a good work ethic so that they learn the joy of completing projects is a great combination.

One practical way that our family combined academics and creativity was very simple. Our girls often had some kind of project in their hands when Ray read aloud to us all. Drawing, embroidering, and coloring intricate pictures (long before the current adult coloring phenomenon) were popular occupations. Our son John was often creating with LEGOs® during those times, too.

None of our children make a living by using their hands in those ways, but I am confident that the concentration, problem-solving skills, and other skills they learned while working with their hands were beneficial to them in many, many ways.

Some people see creative activities as somehow inferior to ones considered more academic. I disagree. There is so much to learn in both areas — and sometimes they can be enjoyed at the very same time.

But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more,
and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life
and attend to your own business and work with your hands,
just as we commanded you,
so that you will behave properly toward outsiders 
and not be in any need.
1 Thessalonians 4:10-15 NASB

Printable Version