(They Aren't Mutually Exclusive!)
by Virginia Knowles
[Note: This was the feature article in the May issue of my Hope Chest e-magazine.]
One thing that hugely irritates me is when people use fallacies called false dichotomies, framing situations in tight either-or constructions. In their minds, something must be EITHER this OR that, and can't be both or neither. It's all black and white, with no grays and certainly no colorful rainbows. One of the most common false dichotomies is that individual people are either creative OR orderly. In truth, we are all a mix of both, though some of us lean disproportionately in one direction or another. I'm saddened when I see an imbalance lead to personal dysfunction or family conflict. It doesn't have to be creativity versus order, as if we are pitting enemies. Creativity and order need to work together to create beauty and productivity. People who tend to be more logical and analytical can help create a useful infrastructure of life for their more creative counterparts. In return, the creative souls can enliven and envision their more technically-oriented comrades. A passion for whatever we do -- whether creative or more orderly -- can either burn and consume people, or fuel itself up on God's energy to love, light, and warm other people. In a marriage, we can see our creative or orderly personalities as an offering to serve our spouses, rather than a reason to demand that things always be done our own way. And we can see our spouse's requests to us not as threats, but as opportunities to show love.
You may have sensed by now that I am more of a creative and imaginative person rather than orderly, logical, and technical one like my husband. Yes, this sometimes drives him crazy since I tend to "fly by the seat of my pants." I do have to work at using my creativity to actually get things done around the house, reminding myself that tidying up a room or even cleaning out the refrigerator is like creating art since it brings beauty out of chaos. This morning I put this into practice by cleaning our master bedroom. It's amazing what a bit of decluttering, dusting, vacuuming, making the bed, cleaning the mirror, and rearranging nicknacks and pictures can do to make a room beautiful! I felt like an artist!
As Alice Bass writes in her book The Creative Life, "We label people creative, then grant them immunity from being like the rest of us. We put them in a special category. God does not treat his artistry with such a cavalier attitude. He takes care of the details and claims sovereignty over the outcome. What that means to your creative life is that unearthing your creativity does not grant you immunity from doing dishes. Sorry. But the good news is that your creativity includes everything in your life, not just the artistic projects on your list…. Being creative does not require you to step out of your life and into an artistic activity… If you figured out a way to potty train your resistant toddler, it wasn't artistic but it was creative."
So instead of seeing creativity as merely being "artsy" I can apply my imagination to solve problems around the house. A couple of weeks ago, my kids spotted two Little Tykes slides, a little one and a bigger one, at a neighbor's curb waiting for trash pickup. We snatched them as the garbage trucks were rumbling down the street. One of them was missing the stabilizer bar and would collapse without it. I told the kids that we needed a metal bar at just the right length and diameter. One of them remembered a piece of steel rebar in the storage room. It fit the holes, but stuck out a bit on each side so we covered the ends with a sturdy padding of plastic bags and duct tape so no one would get hurt. This is creativity in action. Then a few days ago, I needed some knobs to put on the doors of a bathroom cabinet that we had recycled from a neighbor's house. I remembered seeing some pretty porcelain knobs in a hardware bin in our storage room when I was looking for replacement parts for that Little Tykes slide. The cool thing is that a while back I spent several hours reorganizing all of our tools and hardware supplies into bins, tool boxes, tool bags, and zip-lock baggies. This made the knobs very easy to find! This is how practicality and organization served my creative decorating efforts today. You can read Organizing with Plastic Zip-Style Bags at Home and On the Go for tips on how to put your games, puzzles, school supplies, art supplies, flash cards, car supplies, pantry, first aid supplies, hardware, diaper bag, and family momentos in order! You might also like A Place for Everything.
- Whole Wheat Goodness: Pancakes, Bread in a Machine, Peanut Butter Cookies
- Baked Potato Night and Other Buffet Meals at the Knowles House
- See all of my recipes here: Recipe Box
- 95 pages in 28 days=3.3928571428571428571428571428571
- 3x+4y=95 (x=days for 3 pages, y=days for 4 pages)
- x+y=28 (total days)
- y=28-x (expressing y in terms of x)
- 3x+4(28-x)=95 (substituting the new x expression for y in the formula)
- 3x+112-4x=95 (calculating it out)
- 3x-4x=95-112 (grouping like terms: variable expressions on left, constants on right)
- x=17 (here's our answer for the number of days he needs to do 3 pages!)
- Check: 17*3 + 11*4 = 95 pages and 51+44=95 days
- So, on 17 days he will do 3 pages, and on 11 pages he will do 4 pages
Now, for extra credit, look at the original full decimal number 3.39285714285714285714285714285714 (Do you notice a repeating pattern in the decimals? You can write this as 3.39285714 with a line over the 285714 since those numbers repeat into infinity.)
The two other full articles I included in the May issue were:
There were lots of other articles linked, but you'll just have to poke around on my blogs for those!