This week I had two separate series of experiences that reaffirmed two aspects of our shared humanity that I think are of great value. The first affirmation was an affirmation of the creativity capacity within each person. As human being we want, we yearn, we need to and can’t avoid engaging with our creativity. When our spirits are sufficiently provoked or engaged by a task, project, idea, or vision and then invited to respond to it in creative ways, human beings can’t resist the pull to do so. This week I saw 5th graders dive into a project that required great creativity from them. Not only did they fully embrace the project, but the depth and breadth of their creative response was astounding. Among the many requirements of the project was to work in teams. It was particularly remarkable to watch the students team so intentionally and effortlessly, channeling their creative energy for the good of the team. The project was, in essence, a thought experiment. The context was a class that I teach that has no formal grading associated with it. I knew that I’d tapped into something deep and energizing when several of the teams asked if they could take their project home to continue working on it even though this was far from required.
The second affirmation has to do with the tremendous capacity that each of us for deep thought and feeling. Several unrelated conversations reinforced this awareness for me. When we let ourselves, or when life demands it of us, we are all capable of truly profound thought and feeling. Sometimes we experience such depth of thought and feeling as a burden or a liability. We don’t want to go there. But the truth is that being able to think and feel with all of our being is a source of tremendous strength and sign of well-being.