It has happened.
I took my kids to the museum over and over again and now they love going to the museum. The grown up museum. The one with the real art and the expansive botanical gardens. The ones where you can’t touch anything but should really walk with your six-year-old hands in your pockets.
The one with the large gallery of portraits, air-conditioned in the late spring with the puffy benches in the middle of the room.
When can we go again? And can we go to the children’s garden? And why didn’t we get to see the rest of the art upstairs? I missed the stained glass window; can we go back to take a peek? The new Japanese garden is open; can we sit by the rock river there?
All this because we decided we would try to expose our girls to something designed for adults, designed for art lovers and gazers, designed for rose-garden-wanderers and dreamers. All because WE wanted to go there and thought we should push strollers down pebbled pathways and show toddlers the Audubon book in the rare book section.
Now they love it on their own.
Something succeeded along the way. Something clicked in little minds and in little hearts. “I want to watch TV” has turned into “I belong in nature, Mama” and it makes me proud.
I hope we had something to do with it, but mostly I expect that the art and dream already buried deep in their girl hearts has just been facilitated to seed and blossom. What was already there is now felt in a full fledged love.
So maybe it’s a little of both: me walking in halls of beauty holding little hands and little feet walking those same halls discovering beauty on their own.
I even think it goes a step beyond either. I can bring my daughters to the beauty, I can help facilitate the love in their little hearts and I can even tell them with words (as powerful as they are) that they should love art and beauty and and music and humor and nature because it is good to do so. And that they should love God because He is big and true and He has saved them.
But I think that the real effect happens when one lives a life that shows those things and when one lives a life with a heart shifted toward the good and the pure and the perfect. That will be an example to my daughters that the good and the pure and the perfect are what we should turn our faces toward.
When I breathe in and taste summer on the wind and I lean back and rest in the grass and count clouds that that will be a divine example of peace and respite for my children. When my eyes tear at the song that tears my heart, I hope that it will show them that there sometimes is a beauty that sings above normal words. And that when my heart turns to Jesus in the day and in the night that my girls will understand that God is in everything and that his fingerprints are on all pieces of life. They might understand that shifting our ever-wandering hearts in the direction of Him is the only thing that matters.
All of life seems like it is designed for adults and that children are the afterthought. So let us not be afraid to show them the art museum, the good music and the decidedly adult ways of worship, so that perhaps by that, we show them that full living is beautiful living.
Maybe they learn when we say things like, “I love art. You should love art.” Or maybe they learn better when we walk, hand in six-year-old hand, through the gallery, loving the art as we journey, and show them with our lives what it is to love it.
All photos taken here.