Last spring I began reading Clay and Sally Clarkson's book Educating the Wholehearted Child. It was borrowed from a friend, and I soon decided this was a book I needed to own...to be able to make notes and go back to over and over...so I kept an eye out until I found a good deal on Ebay and bought it for myself. It is one of the most challenging, inspiring homeschooling books I've read in a long time. Over the summer, I haven't had as much time to read it as I had planned, but I recently picked it up again. Today I came across this quote in the section on "Building Mental Muscles...Mental Muscle #4: Creativity":
"Creativity is a God-given ability to take something ordinary and make it into something special. It is an openness in doing old things in new ways...The creative spirit is part of our heritage as children of the One who created all things. And nurturing our creativity is part of our responsibility as stewards of God's good gifts." (Emilie Barnes, The Spirit of Loveliness)
As I read that quote I was reminded of something I learned years ago while preparing to teach a Vacation Bible School class on character qualities. I had always thought that I was not a particularly *creative* person. My Granny Marks was creative. My dad's cousin AnnaBeth was creative. My friend Tauna is creative. They were/are not just "creative", but CREATIVE, in fancy lettering with flourishes and doodles. :) I, on the other hand, have never been particularly creative. I love to do all kinds of artsy/craftsy things, but I am the *give me some directions and a pattern and I can follow it step by step* kind of person. I was one of those people who would say, with a bit of a sigh, "I'm just not really creative."
My friend Tauna used to fuss at me. She would tell me that of *course* I was creative, and she encouraged me to stretch my creative muscles. I did, by spurts, but behind her back I still classified myself with the *not creative* crowd. ;-)
So I was hit right between the eyes a few years ago while working on VBS materials about the character quality of creativity to realize that creativity is just that...a character quality. Creativity is *not* a *talent* that one either has or does not have, it is an aspect of the character of God...the Creator of All...and it is a character quality that we are to work to develop just as we are to develop patience, diligence, and kindness. That was a turning point in my thinking in the area of creativity. I was challenged and convicted that rather than excusing myself with "I'm not creative," I needed to not only be working to develop this character quality in myself, but in my children.
I was so excited to see what the Clarksons' had to say about creativity as mental muscle to be developed. "True creativity draws upon what already exists and finds a new or better way of doing something. Far from being a mysterious special gift, it is a process that can be cultivated and trained in all children."
I am looking forward to cultivating and training creativity in my children this year. And I am looking forward to continuing to develop creativity in my life as a wife and mother. Whether it is finding new ways to make our small house *work* for us, coming up with appealing, frugal meals, figuring out how to help a child learn something they are struggling with in a way that works for them, or creating scrapbook pages to chronicle the story of God's work in our family, I want to be creative in making the ordinary special for our family and those around us. And I am reminded that God will provide the creativity I need to meet the challenges He has given, if I will simply ask, and then open my eyes to what He wants to show me.
Speaking of creative...I've come across a few blogs recently that have really motivated me in the area of creativity. If you need a boost as you strive to be more creative, take a peek at a few of these...
The Old Painted Cottage Cottage of the Month --I love cottage style decorating, and this site has dozens of cottages to browse for inspiration.
Jewel's Journals at Eyes of Wonder --Jewel's handmade journal/planners are *so* pretty, and very inspiring to a right-brained visual list lover! I've been trying to come up with a replacement for the Franklin-Covey style planners I recently gave up after using them for years, and this has my mind spinning with ideas. I'm collecting supplies to make something similar that works for me...I'll post when I'm finished!
Donna's Notebooks/Lapbooks at Moments Like These --I was already excited about using lapbooks/notebooks much more this year, but these pictures have me chomping at the bit to get started! Donna is obviously a mom who has trained and nurtured creativity in her children...and their notebooks just ooze fun and learning. I can't wait to see what my creative bunch does with their notebooks and lapbooks this year!
Visit Sheryl at Taking the Challenge for more Faith-Lift Fridays.