If you are fortunate enough to spend time around children as witness to their unbounded creative spirit, you know that in the earliest years their creative expression is wonderfully free, unbridled imaginative and joyful. Color and line, dance and song flow without reverence to rule or rhyme. Then, at around the age of ten, the oppression of societal rules and restrictions begin to take a strangle hold on that free creative spirit. And for many, as we grow into adulthood, creative endeavors are completely squelched.
“We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow and told to be responsible. Told to act our age. Told to grow up, for God’s sake. And you know why we were told that? Because the people doing the telling were afraid of our wildness and youth, and because the magic we knew made them ashamed and sad of what they’d allowed to wither in themselves.”
— Robert R. McCammon
I have long held the opinion that the public school system in the United States is responsible for the demise of creativity. I am not criticizing the teachers, but the political structure of the school system. You may have noticed that when a school district asks for a funding levy, they will generally hold the art and music program hostage, threatening cuts, often actually cutting funding and sometimes killing the program in order to leverage their (the school’s) position. Teachers work against great difficulties to produce meaningful art programs.
We are led to believe that the only value the arts hold is as a frivolous diversion, unimportant to the big picture, separate from more practical endeavors. The reality is that the arts hold immeasurable value as a catalyst for math and science and enhance the quality of life overall. (You would be sitting on an orange crate if an artist hadn’t designed that chair where you are likely parked.)
Do not despair, art may lie latent in your life, but it isn’t dead, it is easily resurrected. As seen on a stamp (author unknown) Life is art. Paint your dreams … Sing your songs … Enjoy the dance. If your aptitude (or time) isn’t to do … get out and appreciate.
Art in any form is the magic in life. If you don’t have a creative endeavor in your repertoire, it’s never too late to find an outlet that feeds the magic. Art will infuse a childlike delight, renew joy and add wonder back into your life. Go play!