Having been involved in women's writing circles for almost ten years, I had heard a lot about Julia Cameron before I ever set eyes on The Artist's Way for Parents: Raising Creative Children. Many of my friends are avid proponents of her morning pages, and quotes from her previous books are always showing up in my Facebook newsfeed. Personally, though, this book for parents was my first real exposure to Cameron's ideas and methods. First, yes. Last, no. I plan on reading more from her in the future.
I am a homeschooling mother of eight, and creativity has always been a big part of my life and the way I raise my children. Cameron's book helped me take a closer look at the hows and whys of this process and gave me new ideas to use with my children. I started doing the morning pages, though admittedly sometimes I revert back to my old habit of journaling at night. I have found that writing them in the morning helps me to organize my thoughts and priorities and see my day more clearly. Cameron presents parents with ways to connect with their children and see what they want to do, and invites them to spend time together in creative, exciting ways. I enjoyed doing many of the exercises with my children and seeing what they came up with for things to do at home and places they want to see outside of the house. I learned a little more about each one, which made the whole process valuable without a doubt.
One way that I think the book falls a bit short is that Cameron seems to be targeting new parents, or parents of very small children, rather than the wider audience of parents and children in general. Reading the book, one can get the idea that if you didn't do it when the children were babies, you're out of luck now that they are older. I wish she had broadened her scope and addressed parents at all stages and children of all ages.
That said, I found the book to be incredibly useful with all of my children, who range in age from three to eighteen (my oldest is no longer at home). The Artist's Way for Parents is an excellent resource for parents of children of all ages. I think that there is as much here for the parents to learn and experience as there is for the children. I don't always agree with everything she says, but the book is an entertaining and valuable resource that we will be using often.
Julia Cameron has been an active artist for more than three decades. She is the author of more than thirty books, including bestselling works on the creative process: The Artist's Way, Walking in This World, and Finding Water. Also a novelist, playwright, songwriter, and poet, she has multiple credits in theater, film, and television. Visit her website.
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