Recently, there was a death in my family. It was an early and unexpected death. I believe that creativity may have been able to help my loved one to live a longer life. I know that might sound like an over-the-top statement, but think about it. Being creative is inspiring. It gives us something to live for. The creative life may actually help fend off death.
We All Start out With a Creative Life
When you were a kid, you were creative. Even if you now claim you don’t have a creative bone in your body, all kids are creative. Why is this? It’s simple. Kids have nothing to fear. They don’t know any better. As kids we could do silly and creative things and the adults around us loved us for them. They’d praise us. We could take chances without being stifled. But as we got older, something changed.
Creative life begins to get strangled soon after we’re born. What’s cute at first is later corrected by your parents, teachers, and other adults. Here are some statements that might stifle our creative minds at a young age:
- No, that’s not how you draw a dog! You do it like this.
- You can’t play music without taking lessons.
- Painting is for starving artists.
- You’ll never make a living playing in a band.
- What is that suppose to be a picture of?
Statements like these do two things. First, they are critical of our ability to be creative. This makes us less likely to want to try again after we’ve been criticized. Second, they create a false impression that creativity is a worthless endeavor. If you’ll never make a living being creative, there must be something else you’re supposed to do.
Our Education System Doesn’t Support Creative Life
Okay, I know many schools still have music and art programs. But theater programs are less common, and dance is practically nonexistent in the formal school system. Whenever there are budget cuts, what are the first programs to go? That’s right. Creative programs: theater, music, art.
By the time our kids reach high school, the majority of kids are no longer encouraged to take creative classes. They’re told they need math and science in order to get into college. They are advised to stay clear of too many “fluff” classes. The creative life is shunned. And that just might lead to an earlier death.
Think about this: Creativity brings joy to both artists and spectators. A world without great fiction, poetry, music, and art would be a dull world indeed. As a creative person myself, I feel love, energy, drive, and life itself overflowing when I’m excited about a creative project.
As a musician, I feel depressed when I’m unable to play or listen to inspiring music for any length of time. In fact, if I wasn’t allowed to be creative, I know I would have much less to live for. I’d more likely become depressed. Depression leads to health problems. It some cases, depression can lead to suicide.
We Need More Creative Options in Schools
Here’s the thing: All education can be creative. I’m a strong supporter of the arts. I believe creative life is born from the humanities. We need to offer more creative options in our schools. We need to encourage more kids to choose paths in creative fields.
But it’s not just that. Creativity can be found and used in any field. Some of the greatest scholars and scientists were great because they were creative and innovative. Some of the greatest businesses became great because they made unique products and offered interesting services. Creativity can be found in anything and everything. But without creativity, we slowly dwindle away.
Let’s Encourage Life, The Creative Life
It’s my belief that creativity keeps us inspired. Whether we’re producers or consumers of creative works, we get something positive out of them. Let’s encourage life. It’s simple to do. Encourage a child, a sibling, a friend, or a parent to try practicing something creative. Praise their efforts no matter the results.
As we grow older, we need to keep moving. Without movement, our physical bodies begin to die. Creativity is food for our spirit. Without creative works our spirits begins to die. When the spirit dies, hope can be hard to find. It leaves us with less to live for.
Creativity didn’t save my loved one. His life became less active due to Parkinson’s Disease. But maybe if he would have spent more time practicing or participating in the creative life, he would have been a little more encouraged. And maybe that encouragement could have helped him to hold on a little bit longer.
Promote the Creative Life
Find a way to be creative. Write, paint, draw, or play music. But don’t stop there. Promote creativity. Encourage your friends to do something creative. If you have kids, teach them to be creative. Volunteer or donate to local school and community programs that support the arts. You’ll be encouraging life.