Updated: Jul 5
All of the children I have taught were creative beings. Every. Single. One of them. Some were creative with words, some engineered blocks in unique ways, others invented with numbers, and some were creative with pictures. Across all subjects, children displayed a new idea, a new way to approach an old problem, or recreated a vision with unique perspectives. This type of thinking that children exhibit so naturally has continually progressed humans forward.
However, at some point in our adulthood, it dissipates. Like bubbles in the air, it exists temporarily, full of hopes to be, until all of sudden it's gone. Mind you, there are a few brave folks who keep it as a constant in their lives. But for many of us, the responsibilities and exhaustion of life become more of a priority and creativity is seen more as child's play. What if we have it all wrong? What if our mental health deteriorates because we lose touch with our creative inclinations?
In Maslow's Hierarchy of needs, once you have satisfied your basic needs, established a loving community, and developed a strong sense of self, creativity becomes the cherry on top.
Life cannot be fulfilled until your creative self is in action. Think about the joy a child finds in the smallest, simplest things. These children are fully accessing their self-actualized selves. Their creative selves are in full action every time they play. The magic that happens when they create is evident in the world around them.
As a child, I painted. I sang. I danced. I made comics. I wrote scripts and acted in plays. I crocheted, wrote poetry, and dabbled in songwriting. My heart was full in my creative experiences and it made me feel complete, like the world was my oyster. The flow of these activities became my therapy as a child and calmed me during difficult times. But once college came around, the hardship and burden of being financially responsible for my family as a full time student, made it really hard to find time to breathe, much less focus on myself. It took 20 years before I reconnected with my creative self. This discovery saved me; it was the missing key that unlocked my joy and filled the emptiness inside.
I am never returning to the black and white life I led in the past. I have rediscovered the joy of playing the piano after folding a load of laundry, singing with my husband as we cook, writing poetry before my children wake, and painting after dinner. I am extremely busy, but the joy and exhilaration my creativity feeds me gives me the energy to continue to pursue, problem solve, and live life to its fullest. Life means something to me when I create.
My only regret is not paying attention sooner to the pops of joy I felt in my chest every time one of my students revealed a new idea or creation. Those moments were so special to me and I enjoyed creating space for those moments. My greatest pride isn't when my children finish their homework, it's when they use their mind to create and think critically as they play. If I had followed those joyful moments as to why they made me feel a certain way, it would have led me to my truth - Creativity Gives Meaning to Life. As it always has for humanity since the beginning of time. Every single civilization has creative outlets to express their values through music, dance, storytelling, inventions, and crafts. How about you?