“I just am not a craft-type mom.” I’ve said this many times, so many times that I actually believe it and actively avoid most art projects with my preschoolers (at home). But in reading Brene Brown’s book The Gifts of Imperfection, I was confronted with my suppressed creativity and my need to rediscover the creative side of my life as part of who I am. You see, I have been described as “creative” for most of my life, until about 10 years ago when I started seminary (no coincidence, I’m sure … ha!). I always loved our weekly art class in elementary and middle school, so much so that I chose to take a few years of art in high school as electives. All throughout growing up, I was usually cultivating some sort of project, whether a school project or one of my own making – like the time I bought a book on how to draw flowers and practiced all summer, or the scrapbook I made of important people and newspaper clippings as a 4th grader. [interesting to look back on these and read them!] Part of the appeal of my undergraduate elementary education degree was the opportunity to put creativity into practice with teaching children how to learn. Not to mention how many fun projects I got to work on (like preparing a unit on how to teach 4th graders about the rainforest) while my fellow college students labored in their organic chem labs and philosophy term papers.
But then I graduated from college, worked as a teacher, and lost some creativity amidst the work that it was to teach and to pay bills and to manage relationships. And then I went to seminary for a counseling degree, and creativity was further suppressed by deep thoughts on theology and the brokenness of our world and relationships. But it shouldn’t have been. Because this is exactly where creativity is most needed: at the intersection of God’s beauty and the world’s brokenness. How else do we bridge that gap without some redemptive creativity? How else can we image our Creator, who made light out of darkness and brought order and beauty from chaos? I certainly had glimpses of this, through a few professors who creatively taught instead of rotely lectured; and in my “counseling children” course where we learned creative methods (even play) as a way to unlock a child’s emotions and thought life.
Personally though, I seemed to put creativity on the back burner once I became a mom to twins. Survival was the name of each hour of each day for the first six months especially, and probably up until the past six months (they are three years old now). I just didn’t have time. And then the MESS of getting my kids involved in creative pursuits? No, thank you. I was already sweeping up daily and spending more time than I wanted to in household chores. Add cleaning up paint or glitter or glue to this? I don’t think so.
Enter these words I read today:
‘I’m not the creative type ‘ doesn’t work. There’s no such thing as creative people and non-creative people. There are only people who use their creativity and people who don’t. Unused creativity doesn’t just disappear. It lives within us until it’s expressed, neglected to death, or suffocated by resentment and fear.
There will be more on this topic. Let’s call today “part 1 of Heather’s rediscovery of creativity.” Part 2 to follow. After I go do something creative … any suggestions? What do you enjoy as a creative pursuit?