everyday. ethan the budding creative but it’s deeper than that

Ethan and his coloring. We are on package #3 of 44-count-washable-thin-tipped-markers for this boy who colors and draws for HOURS a day. It’s a rare activity that he’s okay being “by himself” doing. He’ll color at 6am for 30 minutes before he gets up. He’ll color from 6-730pm. And often I’ll wonder where he is … and he’s off coloring on his own.

For several months, he would come out with basic-themed drawings. Things about home or our family….

But then slowly. The details became to emerge. He disappears, and then 3-10 minutes later he runs out with a drawing behind his back…and he slowly brings it forward for us to see. This one? Matt grilling burgers outside.

Another example? This one? Ethan riding his bike with his “boosters” on. 

I decided to try something new one day last week. It’s been weeks (months??) since we’ve read his Bible to him and I was having guilty mama feelings. (true admission here). And I asked him to draw two things from the Bible (you know. to prove to myself I did in fact do something right at sometime earlier in his life). He ran to his room. And 12 minutes later he ran back to me and handed me these two. The two he did (without any prompts, suggestions, or his Bible in sight)…..? The cross. And David/Goliath (admittedly I asked him to explain what that one was but I see it clearly now).

I felt like I want to psychoanalyze this moment, his choices of any story and these ones he remembered…..but I didn’t. I let it just be what it was. (be proud people. you know me).

Coloring was first started by me over a year ago. And for months and months I prompted him to consider drawings that we can mail to loved ones. It was the most basic way (yet incredibly intentional on my part) to start to teach him GIVING something to others (freely). A bit of sacrifice, creativity, compassion, generosity, and empathy are all companion traits wrapped up in this too.

Most importantly, during this I learned to surrender to Ethan’s heart too…. I gave HIM complete control over who something was mailed to and what he picked to draw for them. I can’t micromanage this. This is me letting go and teaching him to listen to that inner whisper himself.

One morning. He walked out of his room at 6:28am with this drawing : 

I was amazed. The detail of the earth, and the sun, and the planets, and our family. He’s drawn similar drawings in the past but this one seemed more intense. More emotion perhaps. And I knew he thought of it himself (he always does). He wanted to send his drawing to his sponsored compassion friend “to Ervin who was far far away.”

So I sat him down and told him I would help him spell out words “What do you want to say? I’ll spell it and you write it. Then we’ll send it to him.”


Last night he surprised me with the fact that he knew how to spell “I love you” by himself. He’s learned that from our months and months of coloring and sending letters.

Who knows if this is some indication of his soul, or our parenting, or God’s voice in his life, or the mystery of it all mixed together. But tonight I write this with peace in my soul. Something gifted that I very much needed as a mama. For all the messed up choices I make as a mama, God still is holding this boy closer than I ever could, and whispering to His heart. Bless