Too often, many of us relegate creativity to painters and poets. But creativity is an important character trait all of us can use every day. Creativity allows us to see things from a new perspective and that can mean the difference between finding solutions and giving up in defeat. This ability to think outside the box comes in handy for everyone, regardless of profession. Creative Life Coach Adriana Diaz said, “Creativity is our species’ natural response to the challenges of human experience.”
Whenever we take a step back and look at a problem in a different way, we are calling upon our creativity to find an answer—a skill that is useful both on the playground and in the workplace. Using creativity to face difficult situations can make the difference between being content and being miserable as we go through life.
Anyone who has lived in an area inhabited by raccoons knows how wily they can be when it comes to finding food. The masked bandits can break into trash cans, unlatch hook closures, and sneak in through the smallest spaces. A friend of mine is constantly coming up with new ideas to keep raccoons out of the food dishes for her outdoor felines. While the raccoons are probably just following their instinct to fill their stomachs in any way possible, they have certainly spurred my friend’s creativity in finding unique alternatives to keep them out of the cat food.
I Will Statements
I will use my talents for good.
I will see things from more than one perspective.
I will solve problems honestly.
I will learn all I can.
I will look for new ways to be a person of character.
Explore creative ways to display the “I will” statements this month—write them on paper with different colored markers or use the sidewalk as a canvas for a chalk masterpiece to share the statements with visitors.
For a change of perspective, try this game: pick a shape and then look for it everywhere. For young children, start with something simple like a circle, but for older kids (especially geometry students) go for complex shapes like octagons (seen as stop signs on street corners near you). There may even be shapes you’ve never noticed hidden in familiar advertisements—the arrow formed by the “e” and “x” in the FedEx logo is one example.
Another good creativity game is to start with a familiar object and use it to make something else. I attended a workshop where we were given a cardboard tube (similar to a paper towel roll) and our assignment was to transform it into something else. Mine became the internal structure for a miniature Christmas tree; another student turned hers into a vase. Save enough similar objects for each family member to have their own and then encourage each other to come up with unique creations.
The next time you read a book to your child, sit at the table and give them a ball of clay or paper and crayons to work with while you are reading. When you do this, you are stimulating the auditory, visual, and tactile imaginations all at the same time. There’s no telling what amazing shapes or images might grow from these combinations.
I believe we are all born with creative minds. We each have an internal spark that enjoys spreading color on the page or sculpting Play Dough into imaginative shapes. Often we give up on these pursuits because we decide we’re too old or not good enough to continue. Young children haven’t developed this internal critic—they still possess the freedom to create. I encourage you to sit down with your children and take some time to be creative. What you produce may not be gallery quality, but the time you share will be priceless.
- In the familiar tale of Rapunzel, the hero urges Rapunzel to let down her hair so he can climb into the tower and rescue her. He could have fetched a ladder or asked her to tie bed sheets into a rope but instead, he saw things from a different perspective and made creative use of Rapunzel’s golden locks.
- For adults: The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is a 12-week self-paced journey in discovering and recovering your creative self.
- For older children: Milli, Jack and the Dancing Cat by Stephen Michael King is a delightfully whimsical story about having the courage to share creative endeavors with others.
- For young children: Hands: Growing Up to be an Artist by Lois Ehlert offers a look at ways creativity can be expressed through hobbies including carpentry, sewing, and gardening. Little hands will especially love turning the uniquely cut color pages that compose this book.