Tuesday, July 18, 2023

A Case for Creativity

A Case For Creating...Fun

I spent this past week with two of my daughters, two granddaughters, and my mother in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It has been a family vacation destination for over thirty years. We all love the water, so swimming in the ocean and playing in the pool is the highlight of each day.


The evening brings a different set of expectations. When my daughters were very young we included a round of putt-putt golf from time to time, but always…ALWAYS…family games. We played an array of card games and board games throughout our stay. 


This week was no different. We enjoyed days on the beach and evenings around the table. 


We didn’t bring sand toys like molds and buckets with us this year, but my two granddaughters managed to create staircases in the dunes and carve out images in the wet sand using whatever they had on hand. They used an empty two-liter plastic cola bottle to make a mold for a sand castle and “last night’s” pizza box to smooth out the castle’s sandy platform.


Because my oldest daughter would be flying home, she knew she would have little room to haul games in her luggage. Still, she managed to bring the cards to a game called Wits and Wagers, leaving the board, answer cards, and playing pieces at home. We searched the beach for pairs of shells matching in kind and color but of two differing sizes to serve as the needed game pieces. Notepaper served as both the answer cards and playing board.


We had fun. Pure and simple fun. As the evening closed, we talked about how we didn’t need all the hoopla of fancy toys and game boards. Instead, we crafted solutions with what we had on hand. 


Our talk turned to the notion of creativity and problem solving.


I know many people associate creativity with arts and crafts. But it is so much more. Creativity is a frame of mind. It is the openness to recognize solutions to problems using what you have available.


Likely you’ve heard the saying “Necessity is the mother of invention.” It’s true. But there is more than need driving the creative mind. 


Think about it. 


There is creativity fueled by a dream or desire. The Wright brothers wanted to fly. They couldn’t grow wings, so they figured out a way to build some. 


Often creativity is the outcome of solving a problem when the “typical” tools aren’t available or the solution isn’t readily visible.  Creativity is being confident enough to take a first step toward a possible solution.


Sometimes creativity means observing something in one area and applying it in another. The invention of Velcro comes to mind. A man by the name of George de Mestral noticed the cockle burrs attaching themselves to his dog’s thick fur. The hooks and loops of Velcro soon became a useful fastener for clothing. 


Some people don’t think they are creative. Maybe that describes you. But you may be more creative than you think.


You may be that person who can pull random items from the refrigerator and create a delicious meal for your family without a second thought.


Maybe you’re the one who figured out a way to move a heavy, awkward piece of furniture across the room without scratching the floor.  


You punched holes in garbage bags and donned them as ponchos to protect you from the rain. Silly? No. Creative. 


Being creative is more than arts and crafts.  Creativity is an openness to the notion that there are multiple ways to solve a problem. 


I would love to hear how creativity plays out in your life. Be sure to share in the comments below.








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