*Original post found in July issue of Stellar Day Magazine*
I’ve always felt like I was created to create. I’ve collected hobbies with the best of them. I’ve bought into the DIY craze and I get so much satisfaction when I make something myself. I’m a writer, a designer, a painter, a sewer, a photographer… and the list goes on. Only in recent years have I realized that my innate desire to make something from nothing goes beyond the seemingly unending craft supplies that I’ve hoarded. It has become such an integral part of who I am that I’m not sure who I would be without it. I’ve come to not only appreciate and accept creativity as a part of my identity, but I’ve come to pursue it with ambition and intention. It gives me such life that I’m constantly after the next project, the next idea that will stretch me further yet again, but will make me better; it will give me more depth and intrigue. It will give me the next stepping-stone and keep me moving because we all know that stagnant and creativity don’t get along.
I suppose that it’s only natural that creativity is drawn to creativity and out of that came a family culture that I didn’t really craft intentionally, but just formed organically. Even so, when I look at my little family, I’m so proud to have the chance to instill in it a love for creating and exploring and asking questions. I love the conversations that come from trying new things and seeing where they take you. I love the joy in watching that play out in my own home and I’m honored to help my son discover how to be creative in his own right.
While there are many things we hope our kids will learn from us as they grow up, creativity is a means to teach him so many valuable lessons. Once considered the product of genius or divine inspiration, creativity — the ability to spot problems and devise smart solutions — is being recast as a prized and teachable life skill.
“The reality is that to survive in a fast-changing world you need to be creative,” says Gerard J. Puccio, chairman of the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College, which has the nation’s oldest creative studies program, having offered creativity courses since 1967.
Here are my top reasons for embracing creativity in my own family culture:
Failing is inevitable. We’re all going to fall, but creativity gives us a safe space to do so, get back up, and assess. We can learn how to fail and more importantly, how to recover.
There’s nothing new under the sun… at least until someone thinks of something new. Our societal progress is due to the innovation and capacity to create. We saw possibilities where none existed before. We saw a problem and found a way to solve it. Some of the world’s biggest problems are solved through creativity that gives way to innovation.
Ask Big Questions
It’s easy to get wrapped up in ourselves and the daily minutia of life, but being creative asks us to expand our horizons, imagine the perspective of others, and ask big questions.
Creativity and art have to be inspired by something. It’s either conscious or subconscious. Either way, it requires observation. You see the world around you and react with praise, criticism or even the catalyst to a dialogue. Opening your eyes to what’s around you and becoming aware is powerful.
The biggest risk often results in the biggest reward. You’ll never know what’s at the end of the road unless you’re willing to take it. Confidence in what you’re doing and the ability to rebound are byproducts of learning to take risks.
Creativity gives us license to express ourselves, which has been important to me for as long as I can remember. Showing yourself to others through creativity is like speaking. You’re giving those around you a chance to see who you are, which almost always creates deeper connections.
Appreciate Beauty and Art
I know there are many people who fail to see the value in art and creativity, but I find those things to be just as important as academics. The arts help us connect to one another. It creates empathy and gives us a chance to experience the world from someone else’s point of view. Art can inspire us and empower us to move when we’d rather just be paralyzed in fear. Art and creativity gives us mobility and something to live for and look forward to.