Culture Making Part VI: Be A Maker Yourself

painter

So far in our Culture Making series we’ve discovered that nobody makes culture, we make one specific cultural artifact at a time. We cook a meal, we paint a picture, we write a letter.

We can’t make Culture, but every act of creation changes the horizon of what’s possible and impossible.

Nobody has the power and influence to change the whole world. Everyone creates within one or a few culture groups. The most powerful culture group is also the one where we have the most cultural power – the family.

Cultural power is the ability to make something of our world.

What are we making of the world?

How do we help our children make something of the world?

Be A Maker Yourself

Perhaps the most important and effective way foster creativity and making is to model it ourselves.

For most of us, this is anything but easy.

The Courage To Create

At the same time I read Culture Makers I read The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think you’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Dr. Brené Brown.

Like Crouch, Brown connects specific acts of creation with making meaning

“If we want to make meaning, we need to make art. Cook, write, draw, doodle, paint, scrapbook, take pictures, collage, knit, rebuild an engine, sculpt, dance, decorate, act, sing – it doesn’t matter. As long as we’re creating, we’re cultivating meaning.”

Culture Makers gave me solid reasons to create, and Brown’s book gives me the courage to try.

It’s scary being creative! It makes us vulnerable to judgment. Dr. Brown understands this. Here are a few quotes to whet your appetite. I recommend book whole-heartedly.

“There’s no such thing as creative people and non-creative people. There are only people who use their creativity and people who don’t.”

 

“Creativity, which is the expression of our originality, helps us stay mindful that what we bring to the world is completely original and cannot be compared. And without comparison, concepts like ahead or behind or best or worst lose their meaning.”

I love the idea that value-judgment words lose their meaning. They aren’t just things we’re supposed to avoid saying, as though we’re sweeping truth under the rug, they just aren’t relevant any more. Words of comparison and judgment are important in other places, not here.

“When we value being cool and in control over granting ourselves the freedom to unleash the passionate, goofy, heartfelt, and soulful expressions of who we are, we betray ourselves. When we consistently betray ourselves, we can expect to do the same to the people we love. When we don’t give ourselves permission to be free, we rarely tolerate that freedom in others.”

 

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” -Howard Thurmann

What will you make today?

Remember, everyone has a different amount of cultural power. Don’t focus on what you don’t have, focus on what you DO have and run with it.

While our example is the most important ingredient, next week we’ll discuss more concrete ideas on how to encourage our kids to make something of their world.

This is Part VI of the Culture Making series. Read Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part VPart VII, and Part VIII here.

2 thoughts on “Culture Making Part VI: Be A Maker Yourself”

  1. The subtitle, “Let Go of Who You Think you’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are” alone makes me want to read the book. Sometimes I feel I’ve spent my life trying to like the things I think I’m supposed to like, rather than discovering what it is I really do like. In some ways that has been good for me; in others, not.

    “to unleash the passionate, goofy, heartfelt, and soulful expressions of who we are” — oh, how easy it is to destroy in others the willingness to do this. Parents do it. Older siblings do it. Teachers do it, and peers — especially in school — are probably the worst. Even spouses do it. And when they get older, kids are notorious for doing it to their parents. It takes an unusually strong spirit to withstand even a single taunt when one executes a spontaneous dance, breaks out into song, or dives gleefully into a snowbank.

    1. I think you’d enjoy the book. It sounds a bit like it’s teaching “do whatever you feel like” but that is not the case. It’s worth reading to learn more how she encourages authenticity within responsability (but not people pleasing).

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