An Open Response to A Close-Minded Question

Two stick puppets from the Sheldrake Spring Festival, May 2nd 

Someone recently asked me why I craft with kids. The question directed at me was more like, “So what do you get out of it?” And it was quickly followed by, “I don’t get it.”


I wasn’t quite ready with a response because the question came as a surprise, like someone was questioning my motive. And for a split second I felt dirty, like I was doing something wrong. What do I get out of crafting with kids?

I don’t really charge a lot of money when I run crafting classes, and I volunteer at a lot of local events, as in “you don’t have to pay me for what is obviously a lot of work.” A bit sadistic, I suppose. But what’s the difference between me and someone volunteering to coach a little league team? Why don’t we question his or her motive? When I think about that little nugget, I start to get angry.

At every event, I do have the opportunity to promote my latest craft book, so it’s not completely a one-way street. And crafting is something that I share with my daughter, a crafty gal if I ever knew one. My husband Dave coaches our children’s various sport teams, from basketball to softball, so why I can’t I be a “crafting” coach?

Last Sunday, I finally got my answer to this stupid “what do you get out of it?” question. As per my usual m.o., I volunteered to run a craft at the Sheldrake Spring Festival in town. My daughter and her friend—yes, they are two of my Crafty Girls, My Girl and Singing Girl—were with me while I was making stick puppets with an endless stream of kids. I thought that they were just there to hang out at the festival, but I was pleasantly surprised to see them handing out materials and helping younger kids put together these stick puppets. Not only were they patient with the kids (and their hot and tired parents), they were poised and secure in what they were doing. It made my heart swell with pride to see how much self-confidence they exuded.  

And then there were the kids that I had seen before, which made the volunteering experience more of a two-way street. They knew me, I knew them, and we all shared a positive experience.

So what do I get out crafting with kids? A lot of good kharma, that's for sure. A happier life because I'm sharing something that I love to do. A closer community because I'm doing something for kids that my own children might see on the playground or at school. 

And to the person who asked me that question:
if you still “don’t get it,” then MOVE. Or else stop asking me dumb questions.