Why Creativity Is Crucial

Have you ever wondered why creativity is crucial? Just imagine what our world would be like if we could not come up with new and innovative ideas? Actually, it would be preferable to imagine how our world could be improved if we did formulate fresh ideas. What if these innovations could solve world problems?

You might wonder why I am fascinated with creativity. It has something to do with having taught in my art classroom for thirty years! Assignments my students produced were considered more valuable if their project was different from anyone else’s. Of course, there are also visual arts standards which are the basis of each student response to the lessons. Here is an example of such standards: https://www.nationalartsstandards.org/sites/default/files/Visual%20Arts%20at%20a%20Glance%20-%20new%20copyright%20info.pdf

Creativity in Various Subjects

The arts are a perfect subject in which to stress differing answers from each student. However, every subject can be taught to produce diverse answers. Particularly when the arts are infused into other areas, a greater understanding of the material can occur. Social studies works well to have students act out various historic events. Language arts lends itself to creativity through writing and presenting. Even the so-called “new math” offers the opportunity to come up with different paths to the answer as long as it proves the facts of the problem.

Bloom’s Taxonomy and Creativity

During my college years and continuing into the beginning of my teaching career, there was a teaching model called Bloom’s Taxonomy. It described levels of learning. A number of years later, the model was modified. All the descriptors were transformed from nouns to verbs. Initially, the highest level of learning was Evaluation. Later, the new model changed it to Creating! As an art teacher, it was phenomenal to think that the most frequent activities in my room would be encouraging and demonstrating that very highest level of learning!


Creativity Is Crucial in Action

Midway through my art teaching career, I was assigned the additional responsibility of teaching talented and gifted (or TAG) classes. Sometimes we may never know the influence we have on individual students. However, following my retirement, I did hear from a former TAG student. He told me that one of the most important things he ever learned was from my TAG class. In particular, it was the new version of Bloom’s Taxonomy which piqued his interest. This education model caused him to ponder people he knew. He would assess others and strive to deduce how high on the pyramid various people were capable of thinking. If people are creating products with the knowledge they have from the base through to the top of Bloom’s pyramid model, then they are working at the highest capacity of learning possible!

Allow Creativity to Happen!

In order to achieve the goal of reversing the trend of a dwindling presence of the arts in education, policy makers must be educated on the necessity of creativity. We must place more emphasis (translated to dollars) into reinstating arts classes as well as training existing educators of all subject areas with this creative mindset.

“Creativity is seeing what others see and thinking what no one else ever thought.”

Albert Einstein

Our world sorely needs people who can create solutions – no matter the subject area. We must have those who can generate answers on how to cope with global warming. It is necessary to have people who can work with others to produce world peace. We need folks who can conceive of ways to solve economic disparities. Our world deserves quality medical research to benefit all who suffer from disease. Just imagine! Use your imagination to craft some ideas. What do you think we must create?

Here are a few posts to invite your creativity: Invitation to Creativity, Power of the Imagination, ARTS A Bridge To Life, and Creativity 101 with 528 Hertz.

Good Gracious – Gratitude?

Good gracious, gratitude? How could this attribute be of benefit to you and me? Why would it be so important to bother oneself to be thankful for anything? You may be surprised!

Just think how it feels if you are around someone who is oozing with gratitude. That person invites a breath of fresh air to just be near them! This tends to relax me and causes me to breathe more deeply. I let my guard down as a smile begins to form. This thankful person wants to see the world with their glass half full, at the very least. Their focus is on the positive in life, on what has been, and could be, right with the world. Good gracious, would you like to benefit from more gratitude?

Gratitude and Generosity

The chances are good that this grateful person is also generous. This giving attitude extends to others by spreading not only a sense of gratitude, but also by sharing of resources which in turn spawns more gratitude by any recipients. This thankfulness is even contagious to any witnesses of this gracious generosity.

Thankfulness Is Good Practice

Sometimes gratitude may be the last thing we would choose to put on our Thanksgiving plate. Why might that be? Perhaps times have been hard. Maybe there could be someone or something missing from our life that we once had. Even and especially during those times, gratitude may be the most important key to regaining our sense of satisfaction in life. I know from this struggle. Here is my experience of Gratitude for Hard Times. It was simply life changing. I never would have dreamt that I could be grateful through those experiences. Also, I did not realize gratitude begets more gratitude. (Unfortunately, the converse is also true. Grumbling can birth more grumping!)

Focusing on Gratitude

Concentrating on gratitude can literally be life changing. It encourages focusing on the positive as well as making us more resilient. Our mental health benefits. Everyone is attracted to a person with this frame of mind. Try it, you’ll like it, and everyone else will, too! Here is a link to a gratitude practice: https://avinityseniorliving.org/Blog/The-Renewed-Mind? I am grateful to be able to share these benefits with you. Happy Thanksgiving!

Blessings of Autumn

It is that time of year to count the blessings of autumn. Harvest is a major undertaking in this part of the world. Here is our story of this year’s bounty.

Prior to beginning our garden harvest, Tomato Man was the first to alert us. We had better begin gleaning the produce before it was too late!

Our next clue warning us to get in gear was the meeting of the insects.

I thought I could hear one whispering to the other. Do you think we should begin flying south or should we just burrow in to hide from the colder weather?

Blessings of Cats

First of all, we asked Miss Meow-Meow if she would help harvest our food.

She is always too busy swinging. Her entertainment is jumping on the swing. This gal “purr-posely” makes it move back and forth while she while she enjoys the rocking. She is the very same cat who loves to ride in our wheelbarrow!

Next, we asked Mr. Woolly if he’d mind offering us a bit of assistance in gathering the produce.

He is simply too infatuated with soaking up all the heat. Relaxing in a sunny spot atop the grill is a great cat activity. Being our most frequent lap cat, he knows the “purr-fect” place to warm up.

Lastly, we inquired of Miss Purr-Purr as to her availability in offering her “ex-purr-tise”.

This little miss is too intrigued with noticing the glamour of her fur in contrast to the beautiful red burning bush leaves. Her attention span is a fleeting thing, so it was just as well she nixed harvesting.

Blessings of Produce

Thus, only the two of us, my husband and I, began our task of gathering our garden goodies. Here are some of the blessings of autumn we collected.

Our blessings of autumn are lots of apples, squash and peppers … and a few loads of black walnuts. Collecting the nuts is more to avoid tripping hazards. If we ate those, we could be trapezing from branch to branch like the squirrels! Last but not least, we must remember…

Tomatoes! With a sly little wink, Mr. Tomato reminds me that cats are carnivores, so alas, their help was not to be expected when it came to gathering the blessings of autumn. Now, though, we will have the energy to spoil our cats this winter!

Here are two harvest minded posts: Word Harvest and https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=harvest+around+the+world

Who Are Your Favorite Artists?

Daily writing prompt
Who are your favorite artists?

Ah, “Who are your favorite Artists” is a wonderful question for a person deeply involved in the arts. First of all, I look for what accentuates my ideals of beauty. The arts must draw a sense of awe and wonder to me. I crave the peace and harmony that many of the arts provide. My innate craving for hidden rhythms is satisfied by the arts. I look to the visual arts, to music, to poetry to feed my artistic desires.

French Impressionists

When it comes to the visual arts, I gravitate toward the French Impressionists, especially Edouard Monet. The fresh, quickly rendered landscapes give me a sense of peace. I dearly love the warm feeling I get from viewing the mother and child portraits painted by Mary Cassatt.

Renaissance Art

The visual weight of Michelangelo’s painted figures, such as in the Renaissance era Sistine Chapel, amaze me. He certainly paints his figures much as he carves them – in grand solidity. His work fills me with a sense of wonder, especially when I tilt my head back and imagine gazing at this enormous ceiling of epic proportions which took him four years to paint!

Children’s Art

Of course, I must say, I am greatly attracted to children’s art, especially because I taught art to kindergarten through eighth grade students for thirty years. There is just something quite fresh and remarkable with the direct approach children take to creating their pieces. Viewing children’s art from around the world, via Pentel’s International Children’s Art Exhibition, was an opportunity of a lifetime for our community. Displaying it for a number of years was a real treat. Check out https://www.pentel.com/pages/icae-fm-winners to see some current world class winning student work! I thoroughly enjoy clicking through the Foreign Ministers Awarded works to get a taste of children’s art.

Other Types of Arts: Music and Poetry

Next, I mention other types of arts. In my mind, music and poetry have quite a lot of overlap. Both must be heard to be appreciated. The aural experience of rhythm is part of what attracts me. If a poem has a regular beat (such as iambic pentameter – sounding much as the human heart) it especially speaks to me. An example may be a few lines from Robert Frost’s poem, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
to watch his woods fill up with snow.

The rhythm sets up the gentle and imagined silent sound of the later mentioned horse clip-clopping through fresh snow.

Mary Oliver is a favored poet of mine. The imagery in her poems many times speaks of nature. Here are a few lines from her poem, Today, which allude to the trip that the arts may help us to travel!

But I'm taking the day off
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I'm traveling
a terrific distance.

Just this morning, I am reminded of a beloved vocalist, John Denver. He always inspires a sing along when John’s music and I are together in the car. Some of his similes sum up the arts. “You fill up my senses, like a night in the forest, like the mountains in springtime, like a walk in the rain, …” I get to experience the world vicariously through the arts!

I do love a variety of music, though, from classical to pop, from swooning to the swells of Hillary Stagg harp to shaking loose in expressive, rhythmic dance to the heavy beats of Cusco, a new age group with a modern twist to Native American flutes and drums.

Sounding the Summary of the Arts

Finally, the arts are what make us human. These artists I mentioned are only a few of my favorite. The fine arts allow us to express ourselves, to run the gamut of emotions from elation to even grief. Here is an art form called Kintsugi which actually honors the feeling of grief: BROKEN.

In conclusion, when we enfold ourselves in the arts we may find our lives enhanced through the enchantment the arts provide!

My Father Never Told Me

As a child, there were certain things my father never told me. Of course, there were many things he did share.

During my youth, I used to like to tag along with my dad as he was doing the chores. It fascinated me to watch him milk the cows. He made it look so easy. Of course I wanted to try milking, so I begged him to try. He did his best to explain how to milk. When he finally let me try, I didn’t get a drop. How could I ever learn to milk? My dad must have had a magic touch!

Striding across the barnyard, he would carry a full five gallon bucket of corn in each hand. I stretched my legs alongside my long legged dad, mimicking his stride. One day, he opined, “Little girls should take small steps.” After that, I adopted more of a double time prance to keep up with him!

I loved to feed the bucket calves. The calves were adorable and cute as could be. Right before feeding time, these babies would always want to suck on our fingers! Once their nippled buckets would arrive, the calves would always butt their heads against the buckets in an attempt to encourage the flow of milk to increase.

My Father Did Give Me Advice

One day when I was a bit older , my dad advised me, “Never marry a farmer.” I intuited that he may have felt it was much work for little pay. Roughly a decade or two later, I married. I didn’t marry a farmer. I kind of followed Dad’s advice as my husband wasn’t a farmer, at least when we wed. Yes, it was laborious work for low pay. However, what my father never told me was the way nature speaks; to know by the color and timing of the clouds what the weather would be; to be aware by the appearance of various plants and crops whether the season would be typical; to watch for the migrations of birds and even butterflies; or to listen for the first hoot owl to know when it should frost.

Even though my father never told me, I know he knew. While his knowledge and knowing of nature was not verbalized, it was evident in his actions.

My husband, however, verbally taught me these things. Now, nature speaks to me as well!

Be sure to check out WATCHING THE RIVER RUN to follow the winding path of nature and farming that runs through the history of our family! Here is a brief video showing the vintage of the equipment used by my dad in his early days of farming in the Corn Belt of the United States: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4K0bdI6OsQ.

Wisdom Life Quotes

Before I begin, let me say that there are some quotes that simply ooze wisdom. These words secrete into my soul and make me want to be a better person. My husband, who is quite wise, tends to drink a lot of bagged tea. Each bag, of course, has a string with a little paper tag. Certain brands contain these snippets of wisdom life quotes.

Initially, I would not have thought of utilizing these tea tags for a post if it was not for our granddaughter. Since she was a wee little one, it has been a fun activity in our family to create an imaginative treasure hunt. We would hide notes leading to the next location for another clue. Always, we have written these small notes when we do a hunt. Typically, there would be a gift at the very end.

Our last hunt, however, was created by our granddaughter! For her clues, she retrieved a number of tea tags. Each tag was carefully chosen. She found a location in our home that thematically tied into the saying on each tag! Thanks to our granddaughter, these tags inspired my post!

Here are a few tea tag quotes on wisdom!

  1. Use your head to live with heart.
  2. The purpose of life is to know yourself, love yourself, trust yourself, and be yourself.
  3. Uncage your heart, free your heart, let it be wild.
  4. One touch of nature makes the whole world kin. William Shakespeare
  5. If you do anything out of sheer compassion, you will never be wrong.
  6. Your strength is your own courage.
  7. Many paths lead to the same destination; it doesn’t matter how you get there.
  8. There is pleasure in the pathless woods. Lord Byron

Lastly, Two Wisdom Life Quotes from Children

9. Congrats! You’ve found the end of the treasure hunt! But where’s the treasure you may ask? Well you found it at the beginning of it! The treasure was us having fun making memories and spending time together! (This quote was by our granddaughter on her first self created treasure hunt at age 10!)

(This next quote was at a Native American Prairie Awakening earlier this month. In the center of the arena, stood a structure created for the ceremonies. It was constructed according to a traditional Native American design. The structure’s builder was a youth who earned his Eagle Scout Badge from the project.

A dozen cedar tree trunks formed its perimeter. To support the middle, he chose a very special cotton wood tree trunk. Cedar branches were arranged from the centrally located tallest trunk out to the cedar trunks. The branches formed a sun sheltered roof. His cotton wood tree trunk of choice actually had a double central leader, or two equal length central branches, so he tied the tips of them together before he and his team erected that trunk. Once upright the double branches resembled upraised praying hands.

During the ceremony, the speaker asked, “What do you think the message of the double leader tree would be to the people?”)

10. Just love each other. (This was an impromptu answer from a lovely 3 or 4 year old child who was sitting near us! How appropriate that the two leaders of this tree could be, would be saying this! If only all our world leaders and peoples would do the same!)

Conclusion & the Underutilized Resource!

I consider all these quotes quite wise. However, I believe the last two were so profound, each brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my lips. Next time I need advice, I think it would be most appropriate to ask a child. I believe our youth may undeniably be one of the most prolific and untapped resources we have available to us! If perhaps you did not hone your own wisdom as a child, it is not too late! Here is a resource for developing it: https://wisdomcenter.uchicago.edu/news/wisdom-news/5-techniques-develop-wisdom-over-time. Additionally, Rumi’s Wisdom always inspires me!

Reason for Excitement!

Daily writing prompt
Tell us about the last thing you got excited about.

The last thing I got excited about happened a couple of days ago. There were two reasons I was thrilled! Both reasons had to do with what I was about to view. Who knew that this would combine my love for nature and also Segway to assist my grieving process?

My husband beckoned me to the back yard, with a “Hey, come and see what’s outside!” We strode out to our windbreak. These evergreens were planted roughly thirty years ago with the help of our children. “Look up there and listen!” The air was electric with sound. Far above our heads, near the top of one of the Norway Spruce was a large ball of bees! Initially, there were a few buzzing about, as if they were magically protecting the swarm of bees clumped together.

Bees were buzzing with excitement!

We had not had a bee cluster on our property for ages. A deciduous tree, a maple, happened to be the hosting location for the earlier swarm. This first colony of bees was lower on the tree. Having young children at the time, we thought it would be best to locate the bees elsewhere. We knew a beekeeper, so we had them collect those bees.

Times are different now. Our pollinators, such as various insects and birds, are needing a bit of help to maintain and grow enough food to feed the world. We recently decided to plant our property with a Conservation Reserve Program for pollinators. As manmade petrochemicals are quite harmful to our pollinators, we opted for an organic practice. This is the first year the plantings are blooming nicely!

Here are some practices to help solve our pollinator issues: https://pollinator.org/7things?gclid=CjwKCAjwivemBhBhEiwAJxNWN99pl-0xiPWSgDvORWpOjk7PzzSr1DKJfGjg8A8pn-2JTbValmZKURoCtGMQAvD_BwE

Incidentally, our county wildlife biologist told us that evergreens “attract bees and wasps in late summer and fall… because of the sugary sap that the evergreens produce. The sap provides vital food for them right before winter.” Additionally, I read that spruce tree sap can help honey bees to make “propolis” which seals cracks in their hive honeycomb. (Interestingly, bees provide the perfect antidote of honey for a sting: Sweetest Antidotes!)

My Second Reason for Excitement!

Of course, the first reason I was excited was because of the bees. The second reason also had to do with the bees. These insects inadvertently reminded me of a philosophy that served our son well. One of his favorite songs had a phrase, “just be glad to be here.” He shortened it to “be glad to be”. Our son dealt with pancreatic cancer for seven years past his diagnosis. Seven years! Plus he had symptoms two years prior to his diagnosis. He did have good years during that period, but he also suffered a lot. What got him through was this attitude that he was truly glad to be here, no matter what.

I was thinking of parents, such as us, who are left behind by a child. So many can have quite a difficult time in not having their child or children in the earthly realm. I decided if our son could have pancreatic “c” word and still be glad to be, then he could be my role model. Neither pancreatic “c” word nor child loss is painless. However, with the attitude of just “be glad to be”, it can be made bearable.

Our bees gave me a new way to word our phrase.

Just bee glad to be!

Here are a couple of my popular posts which summarize some of my grief philosophies that have guided me through the rough times: ARTS A Bridge To Life and Radical Acceptance. May you bee glad to be as well!

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The Most Important Thing

What is the most important thing to have with oneself all the time? For a single item, I could have just chosen the easy route and picked my purse. Of course, I could have elaborated on separate items such as my set of keys or my identification cards. My medical and insurance cards could be on my list, or perhaps some cash or credit cards. Then, there is always my phone. However, being of the creative persuasion I decided to go another route to elaborate on what is of key importance to carry.

What is of key importance?

The first item is definitely too large even for my purse. When out and about, this would be my head because thinking is crucial. My head can also serve as my alert system for what is going on in my vicinity. Optimally, I size up my surroundings, determining if every driving or walking situation looks and sounds safe enough to proceed. This also involves predicting potential issues with other vehicles or in navigating various kinds of terrain. Using one’s intuition is of value as well.

Secondly, I would choose my heart. Ideally, I like to lead with my heart. What do I love to do? What would I love to eat? Who would I love to help? If I can show love to others, the world becomes a better place.

My hands are listed as third. As a writer and an artist, I rely on them quite a lot. They also come in “handy” for such activities as picking produce, weeding the garden and petting the cats. Giving others a helping hand is always appreciated.

My health would be the fourth. If I keep my body in good working order with exercise and healthy foods, it works much better, not only for me, but for others.

The Rationale for My Most Important Thing

All four of these items are actually a complete package! In reality, I cannot rank these one above another. The only reason I listed them in this order is because when I was ages ten through eighteen, I was in 4-H. Here is the 4-H pledge we recited at each and every monthly meeting:

I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
my heart to greater loyalty,
my hands to larger service,
and my health to better living
for my club, my community, and my world.

I think 4-H has a wonderful outlook on life. Ultimately, I think that if each person in the entire world chose their collective heads, hearts, hands and health as most important, the world could be a happier place! Oh, silly me, I guess I do take all these things with me everyday, no matter where I am!

Sometimes simply slowing down can help us to more fully put things into perspective. This popular post elaborates: Slow Down – Ten Quotes. If you'd like to know if mindfulness could help you to focus on what is vital to you, click on https://www.verywellmind.com/mindfulness-the-health-and-stress-relief-benefits-3145189 Now, you may choose what is most important for you!

Problem Solving Play Examples

Problem solving play examples isn’t just for kids! It is a very practical and fun way to find answers to many dilemmas for any age!

First, let’s start with children and play. According to the Institutes of Health, here are ten benefits of play.

Based on that research here are ten reasons why you should make play a part of your everyday life.

  • Play Strengthens You.
  • Play Makes You Smarter.
  • Play Helps You Solve Problems.
  • Play Boosts Creativity.
  • Play Reduces Stress.
  • Play Helps You Make Friends.
  • Play Enhances Attractiveness.
  • Play Builds Resilience.

As kids get older, there should be activities within a classroom or a home environment which foster the freedom that play allows. With the pressures of more required testing by schools, it makes the concept of play all the more important. Plenty of recess, physical education, art and music as well as hands on lab “work” can actually help build intelligence, potentially raising scores in a more fun, efficient and humane way. It is easy to see that play can enhance problem solving abilities.

Adults at Play Enhances Solving Problems

We should welcome play, even as adults. Anything that puts a little joy and levity into our activities can benefit us as well. Of course as someone into the arts, I recognize that creating an artwork can be a welcome way to play. In thinking of music, it is no accident that it is called “playing” an instrument! There is always playing sports or playing a game. Going for a walk and examining nature’s treasures of floral, fauna and minerals is something all ages enjoy. Simply give yourself permission to have fun!

I was intrigued to hear that several famous people would hold walking meetings: Aristotle, Sigmund Freud, Steve Jobs, Harry S. Truman, and Charles Dickens. See: https://blog.ted.com/walking-meetings-5-surprising-thinkers-who-swore-by-them/ Since these successful people found the movement of walking to be to their advantage, it must be a good practice. Their problem solving must have been enhanced or they wouldn’t have walked while meeting. Obviously if one must have meetings, this would be a nourishing way to keep everyone alert and awake, refreshed and revitalized, inspired and intrigued.

Why We Should Play

This next resource should really be a wake up call to include and promote free play for all ages. There can actually be catastrophic results by withholding the need to play. Here is a highlighted part from the following resource: https://www.playcore.com/news/rough-and-tumble-play-is-it-necessary-part-2. In a study, an incarcerated male as well as the other “homicidal males had NOT engaged in normal rough and tumble play.” Quite unfortunately, these jailed individuals missed the opportunity for free play during childhood.

The art teacher in me will not allow me to close this writing without these two posts: Invitation to Creativity and Psychological Benefits of Art!

Now, take a hike. Play a game. Dance your dance. Toot your horn. Pen a poem. Paint a picture. Pound the piano. Whatever you do, make certain to have lots of fun problem solving while you play!

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