The parenting journey is anything but predictable. It is filled with stop streets, speed bumps, sharp corners and as I discovered earlier today, a few forks in the road.

My day started off early this morning, when I had to navigate through closed off highways to get to the airport in time to catch the first flight out of Johannesburg, then rent a car and spend the rest of the day taking directions from the foreign-sounding lady on my GPS so that I could find my way around these unfamiliar roads.

After a long day at work that included another flight back to Johannesburg, I walked into my house and was immediately greeted by clean and smiling happy-to-see-daddy faces. As soon as I opened the door, my 10-month-old daughter Amelia-Rose who just recently started walking, began waddling over to me and my son Eli, who is almost 4 years old, zoomed right past his little sister in an effort to ensure that he reached me first.

It was in that moment of complete and utter happiness of being with the people I love that I first saw it. I walked passed my study and saw something that didn’t quite look right. Everything was exactly as it should be, except that my toddler had decided to create an artistic masterpiece on the most interesting place possible – the fish tank.

The fish tank had been given a makeover. My initial response was that I really liked what had been done, a true expression of creativity. But then it suddenly dawned on me: was this a moment to praise my son Eli’s creative efforts or a moment to correct a wrongful act? My wife says that discipline is my weakness as a father, so was this an opportunity to prove her wrong? I also knew that by not correcting this act now, it would mean that the artwork would soon spread to the walls, fridge or even my white bedding.

What did I decide to do? Rather then take either one of the roads that lay ahead, I opted instead to create my own path. I decided to follow the parenting philosophy that you should always create your own parenting path and felt myself bulldozing straight ahead. I sat Eli down and had a serious talk – as serious as one can have with a three-year-old toddler. Together, we concluded that as great as the art was, it needed to be done on paper. I walked away proud that I had tackled my ‘weakness’ and ended what could have resulted in toddler art all over my home.

The end result, two days later, another one of Eli’s masterpieces emerged at home, this time on his sister’s day bed!

What would you have done? Praise the creative outlet or correct the act?

Warren Murray

Warren Murray

Father and MamaMagic Brand Director

A proud father of two, husband, son, friend and trusted advisor in the exhibition arena, Warren has been an active voice in the parenting community for years. Warren is a keen promoter and follower of all the latest trends and tools to make parenting easier and more rewarding and has become a parenting influencer among his peers, often focusing on the lighthearted side of parenting.