Apr 12, 2007

Creativity - continued

By Kari Diane Pike

I am still “poundering” on the thoughts expressed in Rene’s blog on Monday. Rene posted an essay by Jennifer Leigh concerning her position on creativity. I loved it! Her thoughts fueled a lively discussion in my home about culture, parenting, governments, economics and their affect on creativity.

Jen mentioned her husband’s coworkers’ observation that while they all performed their jobs well, their American counterparts seemed to come up with more innovative ideas. They compared their childhood activities and concluded that perhaps their upbringing made the difference. My mind, of course, immediately took the let’s-look-back-and-see-how-guilty-I-can-make-myself-feel-because-I’m-sure-I-
stifled-my-children’s-creativity- path. I tried to take my husband, Doug, down the path with me. Fortunately, he refused to follow and instead steered me a different direction. Doug reminded me about all the time we spent with our children in make-believe play and other creative pursuits that included: boxes, crayons, glue, paper, scissors, salt dough, rocks, feathers, leaves, sand and of course, water. Now, I have to admit that the main thing these items had in common was that they were either free or extremely inexpensive. I rarely gave the kids color books. Besides, they have all been so fiercely independent that color books never appealed to them; it’s part of that whole “I don’t like staying in the lines” attitude. Anyway, once Doug set my feet back on the Happy Mom trail, we continued our discussion about the many different aspects of creativity and the dynamic system of development.

Some of the main ideas we came up with that affect creativity…and that includes our ability to write, Ladies…are: fear of making mistakes and receiving criticism, lack of self-confidence, fear of risk taking, and attachment to rules. Most fears are learned. So where and when do we learn to be afraid to be creative? How does our culture contribute to those fears or, just the opposite, how does our culture foster creativity?

Since I could go on forever on this topic, I will just list a few items that we talked about. People raised in the United States tend to take for granted that we enjoy freedom of speech, freedom of religion, a lack of a caste system, and a culture that encourages the individual to stand out. Even our ability to own a piece of land, or own a business, encourages our creative juices to flow. We can choose to pursue our wildest dreams!

I know there are many opinions about how to foster creativity and studies are ongoing. I am learning from this discussion that I have no excuse for not exercising my own creative abilities! I can become confident and free from fear! ANWA and other writing groups serve as a great resource for support and dialogue and inspiration. What do you feel has helped you develop your creative side? What do you consider to threaten our creativity?


  1. Yea, Kari. I've been down the same road of what-did-I-do-wrong-in-parenting, or at least what-could-I-have-done-better. There is always room for impovement, or we wouldn't need to keep living. I loved having you remind me how much I'm pleased with the creativity of all my seven children. And they are all so different, yet so compatable. Hooray for the American way.

  2. A thought-provoking post, Kari. Sorry I couldn't reply until today, but I've had a hectic week.

    My mother fostered my creative side--she thought anything I did was wuuuuunderful. Even when it wasn't, she thought it was. As a result, there are lots of things I'm not afraid to try.

    But, on the other hand, I am my own worst enemy when it comes to new places and new people. I don't thrive on new experiences, and am very inhibited around strangers.


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