‘I’d like my crayons back, please.’

I attend a playgroup with my four-year-old son every week, and the other mums and I take turns at organizing craft activities for the kids. After the little ones have had a go making a paddle pop stick creation, constructing a photo frame, or pressing their hands into some play-doh, us parents will often giggle at the way we quite enjoy these things too. I love that we give each other permission to ‘have a play’, rather than just leaving it to the kids.

It’s made me wonder what we’ve lost in that stage between childhood and adulthood, in terms of creative freedom. Today I came across this quote from Hugh MacLeod, who wrote Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity

“Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with dry, uninspiring books on algebra, history, etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the ‘creative bug’ is just a wee voice telling you, ‘I’d like my crayons back, please’.”

* Image credit: www.faber-castell.de
* Image credit: http://www.faber-castell.de

I’ve recently been bitten by a creative bug of my own, and am contemplating exploring the dramatic arts a bit further. I love learning about acting, and seeing a performance unfold. In a sense, acting gives me permission to be a kid again – free and uninhibited. Part of me is trying to talk myself out of exploring it because I’m not as young as I used to be – and I have responsibilities. But the other part is saying: ‘But you’re only 34! And you can… So why not?’

We have to give ourselves permission sometimes, to do what might seem irrational or impractical. Creativity is important, and in many ways life-giving.

And I don’t think ‘being creative’ necessarily means giving up your day job. But it’s worth considering.

Finding your outlet might be as simple as unearthing – and reclaiming – that beloved box of crayons, making an amazing meal, putting on your dancing shoes, planting a beautiful garden, or exploring the world around you.

Why not brainstorm ways to carry out what is in your heart to do?…

“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”
– Vincent Van Gogh.


  1. I love this! Lately I’ve been getting into a lot of creative projects with my 4-year old. It has been so much fun, and such a great release from the day to day stresses of life… And an awesome way to spend quality time with the little one. Thanks for such a bright reminder of the little things in life to enjoy! God bless.

    1. That sounds wonderful! It’s so good and important, isn’t it, to play like that! May God bless you as you continue to enjoy these special creative times…

  2. Lovely little reminder here… that’s one reason it’s fun to observe kids, they’re just so open with their feelings, observations, creativity. They haven’t been ‘silenced’ yet.

  3. Hi Ali
    A great post for sure! God is our Creator so we have the ability to be creative but like you mentioned we grow up and the creativity gets lost somewhere…..
    I believe creativity is a part of us and to shut that side of us is to shut off a very vital part of who we are!!!

  4. Amazing! I am reading the book: The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson. It speaks of this very thing. Time to get back to the dreams and creativity that God has placed in all of us.

  5. It’s great to be connected with you again, Ali–and I love that you quote Vincent. I didn’t leave a comment on your About page, as there are so many–but your picture is wonderful; you’re both beautiful and adorable! God bless you BIG–love, sis Caddo

    1. Sure is, Caddo – I was pleased when I found you again 🙂 You’re lovely, thank you – and many blessings to you as you walk with Him and share your creativity and insights with us.

  6. I think somehow I feel like I’m suppose to do more “productive” things than create, but the joy of creating is surely of Him. Thanks Ali, for encouraging us to have at it today! God bless you as you explore dramatic arts more!

    1. Well said Debbie – I often feel that way too – that it’s a luxury and should be a low priority. But yes – He certainly models creativity doesn’t He? Thank you Debbie! And may He bless all that’s in your heart to create and explore.

  7. I don’t think you should talk yourself out of exploring acting. What if the idea and the desire came from God’s wish to use you in that way? Age is only an excuse to do nothing. We are able as long as we are living 🙂 Best to you as you explore your creative side!

    1. Thanks Janna! So true, that we can use age as an excuse. I’m definitely becoming more and more open to seeing how God can use my gift and interest in this area. You’re right – it’s only us that stands in the way of God using us and helping us explore our talents.

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