Sunday, May 29, 2011

Fruit of Our Children: Creativity

Continuing on with this series, I guess I'll call it, our second child (oldest son), H, has taught me so much about the fruit of creativity.

Now, while most of our children have creative streaks, particularly one other child (our daughter, J), H just exhibits creativity almost out of necessity instead of enjoyment.  You see, H is red-green colorblind, so his whole world appears differently to him than it does to the majority of the population, with the exception of his brother, Z, who is also red-green colorblind.  This was no shock since they share the same birth mother and her grandfather was also colorblind, I was told.

I have tried for years to understand the complexities of colorblindness through their eyes (no pun intended) and from what I've gathered and observed from their own drawings, etc., they see all colors that contain a hint of red or green (i.e., orange, pink, purple) in varying shades of brown.  They have memorized that certain shades of brown represent what they call "red" and certain shades of brown represent what they call "green."  Things get a bit more confusing with pastels or similar shades (like red-orange vs. orange).

At Christmastime, when I am enjoying all the reds and greens of the season, they are bored with so many shades of brown.  This has led me to stick to blues, yellows and whites for wrapping their gifts as much as possible.  I do similar things with their clothing or school binders or whatever -- when I can.  I definitely don't get them red shirts with green text or brown shirts with red text ... there's no point.  They'd never see it.

And my favorite season of the year, autumn, led H to once ask me, "Why do you like it so much anyway?  Everything looks dead."  I nearly wept to realize that in all the years I'd been so excited about all the reds and oranges of the foliage, they were clueless about why I thought it was beautiful at all.  For them, tree leaves are some shade of brown all year ... but considering that the brightest reds appear almost black to him (as expressed worriedly upon his noticing J having a bloody nose in earlier years, "she's got black stuff all running down her face!!"), I can see why during autumn, everything basically looks dead.

We have had some fun with colorblindness because when our older boys aren't reading the labels on the Crayola's, they are prone to coloring peach-colored faces in shades of green.  I can only assume that means to them, peach and green are a similar shade of brown.  We see it, they don't.  It's fun to ask them if they're coloring people as aliens or something and then they realize and figure out they just need to slow down and read the color-labels.

That explanation aside, because colors for him are so muddied, he has been forced to reach deeper and create things that are unique mostly because of textures and complexity.  He often prefers pencil-drawings to coloring them.  He builds constantly with Legos and makes some really unique things.  My most favorite Lego structure he built recently was the scene of a rock concert, where Jabba the Hutt joined the audience and totally rocked out.  There was just so much detail H included in the scene.  I was impressed!

The funny thing is that H has never been to a real rock concert.  His creation was all from stuff he's seen on television and movies and what we've described to him about our own experiences.  And looking at these, I think you might agree that he's got it pretty darn close.

Anyway, I do have a creative streak of my own.  I enjoy writing (duh) and taking pictures and planning parties (for other people) and all this takes some amount of creative energy.  But when things get tough and I'm stressed and tired, I forget how to be creative.  I forget to take the time to be creative.  I get sucked into the difficulties of everyday challenges and I neglect that thing that God put in me that makes me want to express myself.

This post alone has taken me several days to complete.  Something kept getting in the way of time or just brain-function to be able to express what I want to say here.  Today was no different.  It's actually been a pretty difficult day today.  But I won't let it steal my joy and I look to our son, H, to just take ten minutes to finish up this post.  To create a few more sentences so I have a sense that this day wasn't a waste.

That's the awesome thing about creativity -- it's how we use the gifts God has given us to make something that no one else has -- or at least, not exactly in the same way.  This blog post shares with you thoughts that no other person has written in exactly this way ... using these exact photos of a Lego scene created by anyone other than our son.  This is all ours and good or bad, this stuff didn't exist in the world till H made his Lego concert and I photographed it and then wrote about it.  All the pieces came together from two unique brains in the world.

So I think H was right in his answer for a law to make for everyone question... even if you don't think of yourself as a creative type, create.  Bake a cake, write a poem, take a walk in a different direction from your usual, plant a garden, draw, write someone a heartfelt letter, tell a child a story that you make up, sing a song with lyrics that you think of on the fly (I do this all the time!) or just sit and think up something fantastic.  You don't have to be good at it to do it.  You can add something to this world in thanks for God's gift to you of a unique mind -- a way of seeing the world differently than the rest of the population.

Click here to visit the next post in this series.

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