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Wise Words with Lynda Hope

By Carrie Jackson

As an artist, cantor, musician, and writer, Lynda Hope taps into her creative side every day. Helping other people harness that is a passion of hers, and her new book, Jackie and Creativity Go to School, teaches children to value and discover their own creativity. The book is the first in a series called “The Creatively Creative Story About Creativity,” and is a tool for children ages 4-8 and their parents to explore together.

How did you become so interested in the idea of creativity?
The concept of creativity has been an integral part of my life since I was young. My mother and I would take art classes together and spend hours discussing the book “The Art Spirit,” by Robert Henri, who proclaimed “Life is art, and art is life!” I went on to study at The Art Center of Design, in California, where I further explored the idea of art psychology and how to foster creativity. It’s very tied into our emotions. I use this knowledge in my work today, which includes leading meditation groups, serving as a cantor, running a grief recovery program, and facilitating a wise aging program. I always felt strongly that creativity needs courage to succeed, and fear will hamper it. My own idea of creativity has evolved over the years, but I’ve always been interested in the feelings associated with it. My own daughters, who are grown, constantly remind and help me express myself and keep exploring.

How does your book help children learn about creativity?
My book follows a boy named Jackie, whose creativity is challenged by his parents and teacher’s unimaginative perspectives. I give life and personality to these emotions in the book through the characters. Courage, Hope, Happy, and Joy help Jackie tap into his creativity, while Fear, Hate, Anxiety, Gloom, Despair, Bigotry, and Jealousy distract him. These are feelings that children deal with on a daily basis, but may not fully understand. Through the story and the pictures, they can identify with what Jackie is feeling and thinking. I also point out that creativity isn’t just about art. At school, Jackie uses creativity in looking at math problems and critical thinking. It teaches children to approach their lives differently. I also want it to be interactive, so I have coloring pages and other resources that parents can get on my website and upload their children’s work to share when they’re done.

Why is creativity so important for children to learn?

Children are innately happy, but parents need to foster that instead of shut it down. So much of parenting is saying “no,” or “don’t do that.” Children need to hear “yes” more, and find opportunities to express themselves safely and creatively. I encourage play and exploration as ways to cultivate creativity and happiness. Go for a walk on the beach. Doodle on a napkin. Dance in the kitchen. Find moments of joy throughout your day. We all have an inner voice, an inner being, which needs to be heard and expressed. Creativity is an asset in all areas of life. It helps us see solutions, not just problems, in everyday situations.

How can people use creativity to cultivate happiness?

I believes that being happy is a choice, and being creative greatly contributes to that. Through mindfulness, practice, meditation, inspiration, and appreciation, we can find our bliss. Setting intentions and following a path to get us there will help us find joy. Using creativity when we come up to potential roadblocks help us look at things in a different way. Our energy is vibrational, and when we’re happy we have higher vibrations that allow us to live to our fullest potential.

For more information, visit CreativityStory.com.

Carrie Jackson is an Evanston-based writer and frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings Chicago magazine. Connect with her at CarrieJacksonWrites.com.