Parents have the unique opportunity to shape their children’s view of the world through everyday interactions and conversations. My parents instilled in me the invaluable ability to see beauty in small things. Finding beauty in the everyday and mundane doesn’t come naturally to us. It is a learned behavior. As parents, we can help our children to see the world, looking for beauty in the small things; things that serve to remind us that God cares about the little things and uses beauty to point us back to his Ultimate Beauty.
When life becomes routine and mundane, when hard circumstances arise, this ability to see God’s beauty in the small things will carry our children through rough seasons of life.
Here are 8 ways my parents helped me to see beauty in the everyday:
1. Make it a habit
Seeing beauty in the everyday is truly a habit. I didn’t learn to view the world in this way by going hiking once a year and visiting a few art museums. My mom and dad both pointed out bits of beauty on a daily basis, shaping me to view the world in the same way. If you don’t already take the time to notice, you will need to develop this habit in yourself. As you learn to take notice of beauty in the small things, you’ll naturally want to draw attention to it for the children.
2. Travel locally
You don’t need to be vacationing or planning month-long cross-country trips all the time. My parents often took spontaneous road trips to quaint little villages and some busy big cities in our local area. Our local travels (which I didn’t always appreciate) cultivated a passion for beauty as we studied the scenery, architecture, and art found on those excursions. We tried different types of food and listened to different music. We went to art festivals and learned how artisans made their products. I learned that beauty comes in many forms and from many different cultural backgrounds.
3. Point out beautiful or amazing architecture
Growing up on the East coast, there was no shortage of old buildings with artisan details. It would have been easy to walk by those details without a second glance, but my mom always took a few seconds to point out the intricate bits. If you don’t live in a city with older architecture, you can still find beauty in the amazing engineering feats of modern buildings. While these aren’t directly made by God, you can also take the time to point out how amazing the human brain is and how God gave humans creative abilities and intelligence. Which brings me to another point…
4. Study the human body
So, maybe you don’t think organs and blood vessels are beautiful. Take the time to study how the body works. The way that God intricately designed each body system to work together is beautiful! Each chemical and biological process point back to a magnificent Creator & Designer. You could spend a lifetime studying these things and never reach the end of the beauty to be found.
You don’t have to love biology as much as my mom did (regularly pulling out the microscope to look at stuff), but take the time to draw attention to God’s incredible design.
5. Restore old things
My parents moved every couple of years, buying homes in need of cosmetic updates and fixing them up to sell. I developed the ability to see past ugly wallpaper and carpet to see the potential of what could be. This is not only a helpful skill for updating old homes but also for dealing with people. Some people look rough on the outside but have an abundance of potential waiting to be uncovered.
You don’t have to be an expert DIY’er to restore something old. Find a small piece of furniture that needs a little sanding and a coat of spray paint. Fix up some broken electronics. Find a dying plant and nurse it back to health. Polish and restore some old leather shoes or bags. Clean and repurpose something from the thrift store. It doesn’t matter what it is, just make a habit of restoring old things to usefulness and beauty.
6. Talk to people
My dad is a talker. He loves people and takes the time to stop and have conversations wherever he may be. This was embarrassing when I was a teenager, but my dad saw beauty in listening to people’s stories and encouraging them in their lives.
My 80-year-old neighbor is also a great example of seeing beauty through everyday conversations. Each week he recounts a few encounters he had with people in the store or the doctor’s office, in which some part of the conversation reminded him of God’s goodness. Most of us would miss the beauty in these “normal” conversations, but he has trained himself recognize the Lord’s beauty in the hearts of other people.
Share your encouraging conversations with your children. Point out how you see God working through people to bring beauty into your life.
7. Spend time in nature
This is an easy one! Go for a hike. As a kid, I did not really enjoy hiking, but I’m thankful that my parents continued to drag me along regardless of my bad attitude.
If you have young children, go exploring around the yard for beautiful treasures. Little flower buds, the patterns on pinecones, the watercolor sunset, and the bright colors of bugs and lizards are all little bits of beauty God intends for us to notice and, in turn, praise him. Don’t let your children miss these because you are too busy to stop and notice!
8. Read good literature
Great writing and quality illustrations train your children to notice details as well. Most homeschooling moms have no lack of great books available to their children. Take the time to point out interesting illustrations, and read aloud to children of all ages. Read through descriptions of nature or people slowly, and practice copying or writing detailed descriptions that share beauty through words. My mom continued to read aloud to my sister and I, even through high school, stopping to comment on beautiful details and descriptions.