Friday, April 04, 2008

Children's Play and Creativity

When you watch a child play there will come a time when she will become bored. Her ideas for playing have reached a standstill. Usually, the child will walk around in a kindof daze looking for some idea, some new way of playing, something, anything. They might even come to their parents during this time. However, if left alone during that time (during that "boredom"), creativity will usually come. Something will spark an idea, something not connected before, and play will continue with serious vigor. Imagination comes out of the windows. They are again in their world of play.

Watching children play has proved to be a nourishing thing for my class and sermon preparation. In using some of these ideas, creativity is sparked like I've never experienced before. Let me explain.

I get to a place in my class and sermon preparation where I get bored. I don't see any connection between the text and life. The text is just one of those toys I've played with a thousand times. Nothing is there. It is at this moment when many teachers or preachers reach toward other outsiders, like parents so-to-speak who can help us "play" with the text. This is not a good move at this point.

When I get bored with the text, I stay there and begin to use my imagination, however vain I think the effort might be. For me (not necessarily for everyone), my dry erase board becomes a canvas for my imagination. I do a little bit of free association as I walk around the room bored with this text I keep reading aloud. Any image, idea, word, connection (no matter how outlandish) goes on my canvas. At some point, creativity happens. Sometimes it doesn't happen for a while. I might even have to go to something else (some other text) knowing that I will come back to my boredom.

Ever since I have started this, God has faithfully ushered in creativity. Even in how to present the text or arrange the class time. It is funny how this has sparked a new era, so-to-speak, in my ministry preparation.

Thank you, Lord, for loving me. Thank you, Lord, for blessing me. Thank you, Lord, for making my job such a joy. You are so faithful to sustain.

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