Have you ever thought, "Oh well, that child (or adult) just isn't that creative?"
Hmm. I've caught myself out thinking that about my son a few times. But the thing is, what do I term 'creative?' If I'm only measuring creativity against certain things then only a narrow segment of the population will be seen as 'creative' anyway. I used to think I wasn't that creative. That's because I couldn't paint. And I never could seem to get the words right in creative writing projects, so I thought I couldn't write. I spent so many years blocking my own ability with this negative mindset, not realising that creativity is so much more than something as narrow as painting or writing stories. I can write. I just need a starting point. And thus far I haven't enjoyed writing dialogue, because it always seems more stilted than the movie script running in my head! And in actual fact I can paint, sometimes. I paint really nice flowers, lifesize imitations of the real thing. Just don't ask me for a landscape or a person. I could make you a bird's nest though, that hangs out of the frame. Really quite striking. Or knit you a blanket, or make you a lovely card. Or cook a meal from scratch without a recipe....I'm creative, just in an eclectic kinda way! And my greatest creativity? Being able to think around problems. Now, how often would that be identified as being 'creative?'
Anyway, all this to say that I'm finding I need to be careful about how I think of my son's abilities, both actual and potential.
With the right incentive, any child can be creative.
So he doesn't often pull out the pens and paper and doodle on his own. Instead, he prefers being creative in storytelling around his diggers and planes, or building things with his duplo. But if I ask him to make something for a person's birthday, he will. Especially if it's a collaborative project between the two of us (does that tell you a few things about my boy, perhaps?).
Recent artwork includes pictures for two Aunties having birthdays:
Spiders on a web. He has since repeated this on a card for one of our sponsored children, completely off his own initiative after seeing me take out my card making box.
Some earlier pictures for our sponsored children - he helped me make the flower stalks and leaves, stuck the stickers on himself, then drew the grass.
Some car pictures made with glue and glitter. Isn't it gorgeous?!
Then there's the pavement chalk we did one day. Complete with writing his own name with only a little encouragement and direction from Mummy.
A police van imitation, joint-collaboration.
And our landscape.
Sometimes creativity just needs a little helping hand at an opportune time. Sometimes it needs some encouragement, for someone else to recognise ability or interest. Sometimes you just need the right incentives, the right suggestions or themes, the right inspiration, the right moment. Capture it. Run with it. Enjoy it. Celebrate it.