This is a guest post by Clara Nartey.
Creativity Starts at Home
Have you heard the saying “charity begins at home?” What if I told you creativity begins at home too? Yes, it does! We have a huge influence on whether we nurture or kill the creativity of our loved ones just by the way we set up our family dynamics.
“Edwin is a miserable millionaire stock trader whose joy in life comes from his art collection. He is very rich and very poor. Money cannot buy him creative fulfillment.”
This is an excerpt from Julia Cameron’s successful book, The Artist’s Way. She goes on to describe how as a child, Edwin’s parents steered him away from pursuing his creative skills in the arts.
Sadly, Edwin is not atypical. There are many people with similar stories in all walks of life: rich and poor, famed and unknown. But the common denominator is that their creativity story or lack thereof started at home.
Creativity begins at home, and we all have a significant role to play in making that happen. Many of us believe that creativity is something you’re either born with or you’re not. So we don’t recognize the responsibility we have towards nurturing our creativity, and thus we don’t take steps towards making that a reality.
This is just one of many myths we have about creativity. So, before we go any further, how about I bust some more creativity myths for you?
Creativity is not limited to people who exhibit creative abilities. The creative spark is on the inside of all of us, whether you choose to use it or not.
Myths About Creativity
Creativity is only for those who want a career in the creative arts. Totally false. Creativity is a skill that is used in different aspects of life, business and science. Creativity is a life skill, not a trait or career-determining skill. It will help you make a sumptuous meal out of leftovers. And with your creativity, you’ll fashion a tool to retrieve your wallet from a tight spot behind a park seat where it’d fallen.
Creativity is only for those who have had some formal training in the arts. That’s another false one. You don’t need to be an expert, have a title as an artist, musician, or even a scientist to be a creative person.
I never come up with original ideas, so I’m not creative. Creativity is not just about being the first to come up with the idea. It’s also about approaching an existing idea from a uniquely different angle from what has been done before.
So now that we’ve gotten all of that out of the way, what can we do to nurture creativity in our own lives?
Things to Do to Nurture Creativity at Home
- Encourage Risk Taking: Creativity involves taking risks. There are no guarantees that when you create something it will turn out great. We need to make our homes a place where you can create just for the fun of it.
- Allow Mistakes: The way you handle each other’s mistakes in the family has consequences. Negative words we speak may be internalized which could lead to the person withdrawing from a very fulfilling activity. Remember Edwin’s story? You wouldn’t want that happening to your family, right?
- Make Home a Creative Hub: Have musical instruments scattered around the house, art supplies in baskets in obvious locations. Make creativity easy and accessible.
- Set an Example: Don’t just encourage others to be creative. You do it too. For example, often when my 7-year-old sees me drawing, he also wants to draw. And I make it a point to encourage him to do so. Examples are powerful.
- Allow for Connecting the Dots: Provide a variety of opportunities to create with. Don’t restrict yourself to the obvious art supplies. Mix it up. Be creative.
- Change Your Environment: Changing the environment helps stimulate your creativity. Seeing new places, eating out, going on vacation are all different ways to stimulate and nurture your family’s creativity.
Wondering how to implement these suggestions? I’ve got a few ideas for you.
Practical Activities to Nurture Creativity at Home
- Cook Together – figuring out recipes and coming up with alternative ingredients is very creative
- Build Models, Legos, Trains etc. together as a family
- Rhymes, Puzzles, Charades & Word Games
- Quiet “Play” Times – Read, Draw, Write, No-Screen Time. When my children were younger we did this a lot. We’d sometimes have 30 minutes to an hour of “quiet time.” It was especially useful when my kids had been “hyper” all day. It provided some much-needed calm and we all got the chance to be creative.
- Go Out and See Art – Go to museums. Also, sign up the entire family for classes at your local art center. Available programs include photography, painting, basket weaving, dancing and more.
Obstacles to Nurturing Creativity at Home
- Give in to the Occasional Mess: Don’t be too precious with your space. 🙂 My daughter likes to bake and she makes a MESS when she’s doing so. Cleaning up after her used to bother me, but I learned to just let her be. And eventually, I taught her to clean up after herself.
- Not Enough Time: You don’t need a lot of time. 30 minutes is more than enough to have fun. Remember, creativity is about having fun.
- Money: Be creative. 🙂 Reuse what you have at home to create new things.
So here you have it, several ways to nurture creativity at home. The myths have all been busted and the obstacles you can overcome.
The important thing to recognize is, you do have the ability to influence how creativity is nurtured in your home. So, here’s to using your influence wisely.
Clara Nartey is an artist and a writer. She’s a mother of three who practices creative living. She uses her art studio as a laboratory for creative and artistic experiments and her blog to publish her findings. If you’re looking for more ways to uncover your creative awesomeness, visit Clara’s blog at ClaraNartey.com