Do you consider yourself the creative type? If not, maybe you think creativity is about being a great artist or writer. Those are two ways to be creative, but they’re not the only ways. Look at these types of creativity teens like you might have:
Lindsey plans parties everyone wants to go to. She has great ideas for activities that keep everyone busy and entertained while helping them live up to high moral standards.
Kevin is the person everyone turns to when there is a problem to be solved. He always seems to be able to come up with an idea for fixing what is wrong, and sometimes his ideas are unusual, which just makes them more fun to carry out.
Emily loves to cook but she hardly ever makes a recipe the way it’s written. She likes to make changes to them so the end result is something unique to her.
Brian’s little brother has dyslexia and has a really hard time learning to read. Everyone in the family helps him, but they all agree Brian is the best. He comes up with new techniques for solving the reading problems and also thinks of ways to make the tutoring sessions more interesting. He’s doing a great job of helping his brother actually want to learn to read.
Would you have thought of these kinds of things as being creative? Most people are creative in some little way every single day, but don’t realize it because they think of creativity in terms of certain talents. A Mormon apostle, Dieter F. Uchtdorf, said that if we think we aren’t creative we need to remember our heritage. We are God’s children and He is the most creative being in the universe. He created the entire world and everyone and everything in it. Since we are His children, we have inherited a gift for creativity from Him.
“You may think you don’t have talents, but that is a false assumption, for we all have talents and gifts, every one of us.5 The bounds of creativity extend far beyond the limits of a canvas or a sheet of paper and do not require a brush, a pen, or the keys of a piano. Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before—colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter.”
So all you have to do to be creative is to bring something into existence that wasn’t there before. What could you bring into your family’s life that wasn’t there before? What could you bring into your friend’s life that wasn’t there before?
Here’s an example of a little thing you could do. When you go to school this week, look around for someone who isn’t popular, maybe someone who eats lunch alone. Eat lunch with her—get your friends in on the project so they welcome this person. Convince them to be really nice to her and challenge each of them to learn three great things about this person. Everyone is interesting and admirable in some way, but it takes unselfishness and patience to find out what it is sometimes. That will be the job you and your friends set out to do. If it turns out this person is a good person with good character or real potential, start inviting her to join you every day at lunch and include her in your activities. Spread the word about the good stuff you’ve learned about her. It’s possible, when other people find out what is good, she will start finding other friends as well and that she will gain new confidence.
Does that sound more like a service project than a creative act? What will you be bringing into existence that wasn’t there before? You’ll be bringing friendship into the life of someone who doesn’t have it and self-esteem. Those are wonderful things to bring into someone’s life and it is a very creative way to live.
I remember when I was in high school a group of girls I knew entered our town’s beauty pageant. For some reason a mentally handicapped girl decided to enter. She wasn’t very pretty and her clothes and hair weren’t very nice. The other girls were talking about it and one worried that people might laugh at her when she walked on stage. She thought they should help the girl look better but they didn’t want to hurt her feelings by suggesting they thought she wasn’t pretty enough. Together, they concentrated on being creative and soon came up with the idea of having all the girls get together for a makeover party. They all helped make each other over and this way, the girl they were helping was just getting what all the other girls were getting. They practiced together, shared clothes and shopped together for what they needed.
Here’s an interesting side effect of this creative act, though. The girls did all this to help one girl, but in the end they wound up helping all the girls in the competition. As they worked together, they became friends and when the competition began, they were justifiably proud of every single girl because each person in the contest had helped every other girl be her very best for the competition. No matter who won, they would all have had a part in the winner’s success.
I don’t remember who did win, but I do remember they were asked to vote for the girl who had done the most to promote friendship among the contestants. They all chose the girl they first set out to help because she was the reason they had all become friends. That girl didn’t win the pageant, but she walked away with an award that was more important than one saying she was the prettiest girl—hers said she was the best friend.
The girls who entered the contest thought they were there to prove how beautiful they were but in the end, what they really proved was how nice they were—and how creative.
So, what creative thing are you going to do this week?
Watch the video of President Uchtdorf’s talk to learn more about being creative in small ways.