Sunday, January 09, 2011

What a child (and Mom) can learn from Dali

My oldest son loves to learn. He is a sponge for learning facts, particularly about people. He finds life fascinating. So when he pleaded with me to take him to the art museum to see Salvador Dali's exhibit, I had to give. I like his interest, and I like the fact that he challenges us all to study, observe, and do life together.

We asked our friends to make the fun journey with us in to town at the last minute. It really didn't hit me until about an hour prior to "take off time" that we were taking five children, ages 4 to 10, to a DALI exhibit. Dali was so amazingly talented, an artistic genius, but also perverted, completely self-absorbed, and seemingly delusional. And his artwork reflects his worldview- big time. Because life had been so busy that week, I just had not thought ahead. I love the fact that God uses these "unplanned" times, when I can not possibly rely on myself (as He knows I am prone to do), to teach my children and I big things about Himself.

So here is what we learned from Dali (the "self-absorbed, self-proclaimed, "devout-yet-faithless Catholic):

From his darkness:
~God gives grace abundantly to everyone, believing or not, and Dali's talent was a wonderful example of common grace
~One can either worship God or themselves, but not both
~Fame can delude
~Mercy and service lead to joy, selfishness leads to pain
~When we are given gifts we can use them to elevate Self or elevate God. His glory vs. our glory
~Courage is found through humility. Pride often masks fear.
From his gifts:
~Practice and diligence must follow talent in order to succeed.
~God's creation declares his glory- even to those who are perishing.
~Faith is God-given.
~Everyone has mentors. It is good to have a torch-bearer.

My friend and I were really nervous about what kind of art would be on display. By God's grace there were only a couple of pieces that we had to avoid, and even those were not perverted, as we had feared. I was very thankful for the opportunity to take a risk in order to have meaningful discussions with the children. It not only turned out to be a wonderful exhibit with beautiful, inspiring artwork, but a springboard for rich, relationship-building conversations/experiences together. I am glad to learn bit by bit that really marvelous things happen in my parenting journey when I give up control and let God lead.

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