Like most parents, I’ve always been proud of my two kids. And, running in upper-middle class, highly educated circles, kids were always a topic of discussion at most adult gatherings, especially when it came to colleges.
“Where is your child going?”
“What are they majoring in?”
Imagine my surprise when I started receiving comments like, “Oh you’re one of those parents.” And “I would never pay for my child to do that?” Or “So you’re happy supporting them for the rest of their lives?” The crime? My children were majoring in the arts – one in musical theater and the other in voice performance. Funny, but up until that point, everyone seemed to enjoy that my kids were so talented and creative. But, apparently, some people believe that creativity is only good until you turn 18.
But not me. I believe that creativity is a spiritual gift, just as valued as kindness and generosity and self-control (which is a much under-rated spiritual gift in my opinion!). After all, God is essentially a creative Spirit, perpetually creating – every day, a continual process of birth, growth and renewal. When we create, we are mirroring the Spirit as much as when we love, we mirror the Spirit’s love. Creativity is a powerful force in the world, capable of changing people and institutions, just as much as love and compassion.
And, thank God, everyone is, or can be, creative. Creativity doesn’t just lie in the arts. Creative people are those who change the world around them – through painting a canvas, growing orchids, or organizing a march for justice. Creative people look at the world with fresh eyes and imagine possibilities. Creativity moves the world forward.
Just a quick search on the Internet brings up hundreds of ideas to boost creativity. Most of them center around one theme: Do something differently. Instead of cooking the same things all the time, find and try a new recipe. Instead of walking the same route every morning, take a detour. Instead of using the same meeting agenda over and over, mix it up. Show a funny video clip or play a game.
As a family of musicians and musical people, we were all saddened by the recent news of the death of Stephen Sondheim. Talk about creative! But I remember one of his much-quoted lines from Sunday in the Park with George, sung by the character/painter Georges Seurat, “Look…I made a hat, where there never was a hat!” Creating something out of nothing. Bringing into existence, something that has never existed before. That is a spiritual gift. That is what the Creative Spirit calls us to do with our lives and our work.
And, back to my kids…Yes, they both earned degrees in Music and Theater. And, not surprisingly, when it came to establishing careers, the creativity didn’t stop. The Musical Theater major is now a professor teaching history and specializes in the history of entertainment. And the other, who majored in Voice and Opera Directing, is now producing and directing video games. And, best of all, I’m not supporting either one of them! God bless their creativity!