If you have a creative child, there are at least two times when he completely frustrates you. One is when you know he can do it, but he won't. The other is when he deliberately only almost follows directions. Are the two situations the same? Is one sheer stubbornness and the other a creative happening? Only the child knows for certain, and he's not telling.

The relationship between the two situations merits an examination at another time. However, if you have a creative child and you don't understand him, don't blame him! He didn't ask to be creative or misunderstood! Actually, most creative individuals don't understand themselves. I know from personal experience. I'm the child whose mother declared, "You can find 13 ways to ask the same question!"

The Importance of Creativity

I sincerely believe God allowed me to get my doctoral degree to better understand myself and to help others gain insight into the phenomenon called creativity. Motivation for the Release of Creativity through Creative Writing was the title of my doctoral research.

Robert Browning, a 19th-century writer, described one of his characters in this manner: "He is not so much a human being as he is a civil war." That could be a description of a creative individual trying to make a decision. Creative people see so many possibilities, and they are heartbroken because they can't do them all. They are often prone to start more projects than they can finish. Without direction and self-discipline, it is easy for the creative individual to lose focus and, like the double-minded man, become unstable in his thinking. Consequently, his values may become distorted.

Creativity is really important to God because, according to Genesis 1:1, creating was the first thing He did. God obviously liked what He accomplished through the creative process, for He said it was very good. It is interesting to note that in the Scriptures, God's creation is the only thing He bragged about. That's not too surprising, though, for His creation includes everything.

Have you dared to imagine how much happiness God experienced in deciding what He would create? When He was finished with the universe, He chose to create man in His image. He gave us intelligence so we could communicate with him and creativity so we could experience the joy of making something new and different.

Uncomfortable with Creativity

Have you ever wondered why people are at ease if their child is identified as brilliant but anxious if he is branded creative? It's as if intelligence is to be desired and praised, but creativity is to be avoided and debased. It's a strange paradox: People rarely talk about God's intelligence, but His creativity is constantly observed and celebrated. Conversely, we readily discuss man's intelligence, but we fret about his creativity.

Consider these questions: Why this difference? Is it because we have a greater understanding of the intellectual process than we do of the creative process? Is there an innate difference between the two? Is it because we have developed objective measures for intelligence, but creativity is hard to quantify and thus remains subjective?

Research reveals that creativity is universal. For example, whenever we fail to meet expectations, our creativity comes to the fore and we "create" excuses. Since it is universal, why do we know so little about it?

Society has a love-hate relationship with creativity, and creative people are caught in the middle. They are misunderstood because they are on the cutting edge of their culture. This may be because creativity always involves change. People clamor for it, but as soon as you begin to introduce it, resistance consolidates and the battle is on.