It is always amazing to me how my kids play with things in cycles. Last week was Ninja Warrior, then it was trampoline. This week, especially the last few days, has been sidewalk chalk. I am not sure what it is about sidewalk chalk that is so enamoring.
It is messy and it is temporary. To me that seems like it is not worth it. But, maybe it is those two things that make my kids want to color with sidewalk chalk. Kids love messy. The messier the better. At least that is the way it is for my kids. (I do realize that not all kids are on the same page with that–not all adults are either.).
It’s temporary. I tend to like permanence. Usually, I want to invest my time in something I think will last. Why would I want to spend hours creating something that will wash off in the next rain? But, knowing it will wash off in the next rain makes it easier to handle if a little brother comes around and draws lines and swirls through your masterpiece.If your art gets messed up it’s not that big of a deal.
The colors are bright and the canvas is big. When you get used to drawing with pencil on an 8 ½ x 11 inch sheet of paper, the entire driveway seems endless. It is fun to fill that weathered brown concrete with pastel pinks, blues, and greens.
If you’ve ever wanted to be Batman, you can trace an outline of yourself (or ask someone else to trace you). Fill in the blank and you can be Batman. You can make you into a number of things–kings, queens, Batman, Flash, Wonder Woman, pirates, and more. The possibilities are endless.
Sidewalk chalk gives permission to create in quantity, not necessarily just quality. Sometimes, paper supplies, crayon supplies, and colored pencils supplies run short. Especially, with five little Rembrandts running around with fire-bellied desires to craft. We try to keep a good stock, but at times we run low. On the driveway, there is plenty of room for all to have enough space for their minds to run wild with imagination.
I am reminded of reading N. D. Wilson’s Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl. He talks about the world as God’s spoken art. God spoke everything into existence , and he creates art in quantity–every snowflake different, a new sunrise each day, enumerable amounts of trees and clouds. “God never seems capable of moderation,” Wilson says. Psalm 104 gives a great picture of God and his quantity of creation.
This same God has placed a desire to create in his children, and I want to help feed the fire in my children. A few pieces of colorful chalk and a seemingly endless driveway canvas will give them permission to join with the Great Creator of all and make something beautiful.
If nothing else, sidewalk chalk is a fun way to spend the afternoon (even for grown up kids). So, color that drab driveway with a little bit of life. Imagine something greater.
You can find him on Instagram and Twitter @marktcollins