Last week we were talking about what it means to be creative and I got a lot of positive feedback from you, which I’m really glad about. This week we will follow on from that by looking why creativity is important. The first three things that came to mind were that:
- creativity expresses individuality
- creativity enhances our experiences
- creativity encourages curiousity
There’s a lot more than that, but we’ll focus on these three for now or we will be here all day 😉
Creativity expresses individuality
As humans we all have unique different viewpoints and perspectives on life and on our circumstances. Whether we come from opposite sides of the globe or from the same household, we all see the world in a slightly different way. Factors include when you were born, with regards to age (10, 30, 60, 100 years), your place in your family (firstborn, middle child, only child, one of many, youngest child etc.) and those of your extended family that were still around after you were born.
As an example, my eldest boy can probably just about remember living in Aberdeenshire, he’s the pioneer who tries things first out of his siblings, he can remember my Granny clearly and he is old enough to start learning about his interests independently. My middle boy has always lived in this house, thinks he can remember Granny Bell but he can’t really, and he’s just getting started with mark-making at 3 years old.
The personality differences between them are quite striking too, my middle boy has recently “gone to nursery on my mokobike”, whereas my eldest definitely “went in the car with Mammy.” Family history over, it’s easy to see the differences. So, if I were to ask them both to draw a picture of our home or write a song about our family the results would be very different but uniquely valuable.
Creativity enables the outside world to view a snippet of your individual world at that moment in time. There are so many ways that people in the past and present have creatively told their story in pictures, songs, poems, stories and textiles such as quilts and tapestries. Picasso expressed his grief about the Spanish civil war in paintings, there are Scottish Gaelic songs about a person’s longing to return to their homeland and old quilts are full of scraps from one family’s old clothing.
Creativity enhances our experiences
Who has read the book “Pollyanna” by Eleanor H. Porter? If you haven’t, it is such a lovely story about a girl who has had some very difficult things to deal with in life, but, she uses her imagination and creativity to bless others around her, and, crucially, to help herself cope with some pretty tough circumstances.
Similarly, we have so much fun as a family taking well known songs and tweaking the lyrics. Examples are… “What do you get when you fall in love, you get a little boy (girl) to keep forever” (instead of a broken heart!). The Christmas carol “Little Donkey” has turned into “Little Boy” or their name, the “5 little ducks” sometimes go over the hill, sometimes over the pond, sometimes it’s Mammy Duck quacking them back, sometimes Daddy, sometimes even a sibling! Lots of fun and memories are made by simple improvisations of well known songs.
Collective creativity creates memories and bonds that’ll last for years and years. Individual creativity can also benefit those around you and make things more fun, more memorable and create connections – all things we need in life.
Creativity encourages curiosity
“Mammy, what happens if I l put the blue with the yellow?”
“Try it and see”
“Ooooh!!! Look, Mammy! It’s gone green! Haha!”
Do you remember the joy of moments like this? When you had an idea – completely new to you – you didn’t know if it would work or what would happen, but you tried it anyway?
Let’s be honest, sometimes it doesn’t work out with a positive outcome – like when I tried making cheese sauce with “holey cheese”. It was disgusting, but it was certainly a learning experience!
Creativity is all about having ideas, trying them, and, maybe most importantly, being open to failure. I think as adults we get so trapped in fooling ourselves that we know all we need to and that’s that, in focusing so much on being “in control” that we lose the vulnerability and freedom that children have to undertake creative experiments.
Curiosity inspires questions such as “What if I use almond extract instead of vanilla?”, “What if I use pink instead of red to create orange?”, “What if I use this type of fabric instead of this one?”
Finding the answers to “what if” might be found in practical experiments or in instructive books and videos. A love of learning and research and exploration is a wonderful thing. It encourages personal improvement and respect for experts and learners alike. It is never too late to start.
By looking at these three points I think it’s pretty clear that creativity is important to the wellbeing of everyone, whether they realise it or not. Expressing individuality, enhancing experiences and encouraging curiosity are not just for “creative professionals” or “crafty” people. It’s a way of thinking that can help us accept our story, deal with tricky circumstances and broaden our horizons.