Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Beautiful Harmony

Creativity. Not a big word. Not a complicated word. And yet, not a word used enough. Having worked in the fine arts at the high school, working with kids at risk and teaching acting privately, I quickly learned the importance of that word.

I played the piano. I played the saxophone. I was in school plays. I sang in a group. However, none us were encouraged to go into the arts as a career. In retrospect, I'm sure my parents feared that we wouldn't be able to survive on the stage or behind a palette. As a child, I didn't understand since Dad had traveled and sang with a group.

The arts give students a place to fit in, to be accepted, to have recognition. Doors of expression heal wounds while minds eager to expand find their canvas. Those with excess energy as well as those silent few who are never noticed thrive on the stage, in a band, behind a canvas. Young children learn to be articulate and confident. Doodlers become artists and pencil thumpers become drummers.

There is a piece in each of us that wants to expand its own voice. I have a theory. Mid-life crisis comes to people expecting the outside world to meet their needs, failing to understand that their needs lie within begging have expression.

I wanted to be a dancer but belonged to a church that did not believe in dancing. I wanted to be an actress. I wanted to be a writer. And an adult, I gave myself freedom to try each and every one of these arts, even allowing myself to fail.

Often the good intentions of parents fall short. Children are grouped together in school by scholastic levels, encouraged to be in sports, brought up to participate in clubs and organizations. All are wonderful opportunities. But what do they do to help a child discover their own creativity?

I played make believe as a child, danced for a pretend audience and acted out plays with musical accompaniment (early musicals). I was a lost and lonely child who found her own creativity because she had time, much time, alone. What of those who never find that freedom to create? Perhaps you think that not everyone has an artistic side. Wrong. A farmer who plans out his crops or finds a better way to raise them, a truck driver who daydreams listening to the radio, an executive making a speech all touch on their creativity.

I wonder what would happen if everyone expressed their creative side, their gifts.

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