One of the first things my granddaughter asks me whenever they visit is "Can we paint, Nana?" She loves painting and being creative. It is amazing how her skills have grown. From the first bright blobs to beautiful soaring creatures, I have enjoyed watching her. The way she would dip her brush into the creamy colours with such confidence still amazes me. When she is done, she proudly presents it to me "for you, Nana!" and runs off to the next activity.
Children love to play and to make things. Their very being yearns to create. They lose themselves completely in the moment of creativity. There is no hesitation on their part, they do not fret whether they can do it or not. They don't spend one moment being critical of their painting, sculpture or invention. They are quite pleased with the masterpiece they have created.
Where did we as adults go wrong? When did we first allow that fiend, the Inner Critic, into our minds? Jean Piaget, a Swiss psychologist, said that to be creative we have to stay in part a child.
Children are curious. They are eager to learn and experiment. Believe it or not, but that enthusiastic and creative child is still there inside you, and it is waiting to come out and play. So it is time to re-acquaint yourself with your inner-child. Society, however, demands that we be serious and responsible and frowns on anything that might not be "adult-like". Creativity has a very low priority on life's to-do list. When last did you get out your paints and dipped your fingers into its wet stickiness? When was the last time you put on a rock-n-roll song and danced while you sang at the top of your voice into your hairbrush? Can you remember the last time you lay on your back and found animal shapes in the clouds? We have to let go of the ill-conceived idea that art, or creative play is unimportant. Being creative is as essential to our well-being as daily exercise and a good diet. Creativity impacts on all areas of our lives. It helps us with problem solving, not only in our work, but also in our relationships and our reactions to life's events.
Let us learn this lesson from children: to create is an integral part of being alive, don't judge your creativity, take delight in it. Be ever curious and ready for adventure and take your inner-child on a play-date. You do not need permission to be creative. Neither do you need to first do everything else before you are allowed to be creative. Don't label your creations, or your artwork, or your doodles, but label yourself - you ARE a creative being, yes, YOU! So, why wait? Create. Do it now.
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