Creativity was a constant throughout my childhood. I was born in the 80’s in Trinidad and Tobago. In my family, what that meant was:
- plenty opportunities to play with your siblings in your own yard,
- severely limited screen time and;
- a dizzying amount of young mango to use at will (at one point, we had six mango trees growing right around the house).
This fostered in the Mc Farlane children, a will and [in our interpretation] an absolute need to invent the very best games. Our inventiveness was unlocked and gave rise to local mud pie recipes and intense scootch tournaments. Little did we know that a series of other benefits (apart from hours of excitement) we’re also unleashed.
As I grow, learn, nurture and teach; here are seven things I’ve discovered (that maybe you haven’t yet noticed) about creativity.
1: Creativity Spans Industries
One might conclude “imagination is just for artists”, with minds that wander to surgeons who santimanitay on their patients’ insides. However, I wish to rebut with the concept of a surgeon being creative in his/her approach to a condition not widely met.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines creativity as “the ability to produce or use original and unusual ideas”. Nowhere in this or any definition is a limitation to one field. In fact, the definition is more completely realized as we consider its application to chemists, teachers, chefs, agriculturists, dancers or even journalists.
2: Creativity is a Renewable Resource
Have you ever made a paper doll? (No? Go make one!) Do you notice that after you’ve successfully made the first outfit, you’re pumped about making a whole new wardrobe? Also, after that first doll, is your mind alight with iterations and improvements for version two?
OK, maybe the doll reference went whizzing by. I’ve gotten overly excited, I’m sorry.
My point is, the more you think creatively, the more fluid and natural it becomes to do so. Ms. Maya Angelou said it best; “You can’t use up creativity, the more you use, the more you have.”
3: Creativity is Contagious
It was Albert Einstein who said “Creativity is contagious. Pass it on”. If we consider real-life scenarios, it’s easy to see truth in this statement. Particularly among children.
One starts drawing or maybe she made a cardboard sword. The next thing you know, a heated cardboard battle is underway, complete with sword, shield and customized cardboard shoes (I kid you not, that’s a true story).
For children who could use some company making wonderfully quirky artwork, do visit INClubhouse for a live draw-along catered to our little creatives.
Knowing how important creativity is in relation to problem solving and individuality, of course we want everyone to catch it!
4: Creativity Can be Fostered
There are some adults and children who think that creativity is not for them. They believe somehow that arts and crafts are for a certain select few without realizing that the skills these activities provide can be translated to others choice pursuits.
The truth is, creativity is for everyone and it can be encouraged and expanded by small adjustments to our environment and attitude. To quote Elizabeth Gilbert; “…creative living is any life that is guided more strongly by curiosity than fear.”
What are three things that you can do in your home, right now:
- Place craft materials on display in an easily accessible area
- Designate wall space to act as a quaint art gallery
- Subscribe to the “Get Quirky” blog and get a nifty bucket list of projects to bring to life
5: Creativity Starts Early
If we agree with the concept that a creative life is life without fear, then it stands to reason that the youngest members of our society (those pure beings replete with love and light) have creativity built-in!
Observe how they approach your walls with crayons in grasp with no hesitation. Give them paint and paper and see what happens, there is hardly ever a “but I dunno what to paint”, just paint, everywhere!
As parents, teachers, guardians, support systems, we could encourage this exploration in safe and healthy ways.
The infamous Pablo Picasso highlights an often overlooked concern when he points out; “Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up”.
6: Problem-Solving Demands Creativity
My cousin was trying to debut stewed lentils at her home the other day. It was the first time she would be making it and was loaded up with the memory of delectable lentils, procured over the years and a few favorite online video tutorials. Alas! 20 minutes in and a sappy, salty soup-like sop swam in the stainless steel receptacle before her. What could she do? She couldn’t chock it and start over. Who does that in this economy and so close to lunchtime?
Instead, she leaned on her inner chef and creativity took the reins. It took a complete abandoning of the recipe and a small amount of magic to separate the stew into halves and add a smidgeon of new seasonings and local ketchup to the brew.
My point is this, one never knows what pickle he or she might find themselves in; lost and alone without a playbook. In such times the only thing you could draw from is that magic within. That unspoken umph that leads you to act on the fly, not truly knowing how things will turn out. That creativity; despite the problem, the corresponding solution demands it.
7: Creativity Leads to Innovation
To piggyback off the previous point, the same creativity that birthed a solution to the quagmire that once had no end, leads to new and exciting possibilities.
What is innovation anyway? Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary cites it as a “new idea, method or device…the introduction of something new”. As a stalwart lentil-stewer myself, I would definitely pronounce my cousin’s feat in the kitchen as a triumph in innovation.
I love this video from Kid President. It really helps to illustrate my point.
I challenge you to hone your creativity and encourage your charges to do the same. How do you start? As an Illustrator, I’d highly recommend you draw something, anything. It’s low hanging fruit, really.
Need more options? visit INClubhouse to get access to a smorgasbord of classes that engage and inspire creativity in young learners.