One of my favorite things to do with kids is ask them why they are thankful to God. They give the best answers, in my humble opinion. I remember a particular answer that has stuck with me for years, like an ebbing tide that rises and falls during particular periods of my life. On a sunny afternoon in December, which is rare in the Northwest, I was talking to a group of young people of varying ages. My daughter was one of them. The question: Why are you thankful to God? Her answer: “I’m thankful to God for creativity because He is creative.”
My daughter truly is creative and it is through this medium that she has mastered her academic pursuits, putting to use a love of reading to power her educational process. I have to admit that there is no rocket science in that statement, but there is a deep knowing in it that society often overlooks. It is a connection that I didn’t consciously and consistently make up to that point, and I love the arts and creative genres.
This lack of connection is to the detriment of some children. The act of creating is God-like. It certainly doesn’t make anyone God, but it does do something important. It reveals our power to shape and define the world in which we live. It exemplifies our power to make a mark. I wonder in a world of striving — to be seen, to arrive, to be unique — if our drifting away from the creative has something to do with this deep yearning. I especially grieve this opportunity for our most vulnerable children. We are learning so much about the ways art, music, and other creative genres can help to heal and to reveal.
One of our newest activities that we’ve only moderately piloted is “play spaces” to help children recover from trauma in the midst of disasters. I’ve been reading online about the use of music in patients with debilitating diseases like Alzheimer’s and the breakthroughs that have been seen. As I reflect, I realize that in a heady information world, we may be missing the power of the creative to transform and not just amaze. This means unleashing the creative potential in our children.
Image is a powerful thing. Creative people are seen in many different ways. We all have creativity to some degree. How much more space would we we create for creativity, and how much more value would we place on it, if we actively saw it as a way we bear, and allow others to bear, the image of God?