When was the last time you encouraged someone’s creativity? This past weekend, after our worship services, I had more people than usual tell me that they really appreciated my sermon, that it meant something to them, that it was helpful for their faith life. It may well have had to do with the fact that I preached comfort in light of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. A need was filled for those whose hearts were troubled. But the kind words meant more to me than most of them probably knew.
I get my share of criticism, either first hand or “through the grapevine.” I suppose it comes with the territory. I’m a pretty sensitive person, so even though I know I shouldn’t, I dwell on criticism far more than I should.
So when a kind comment comes along, it takes me a long way toward wanting to create some more. The life of a pastor involves creating something that people will listen to nearly every week. Sundays never stop coming. It’s a challenge to put words together that will inspire, hold attention, sometimes bring humor, draw people in, and help them remember eternally important things.
I believe that outside encouragement is a key ingredient when it comes to helping creative people enhance their creativity. Kind words mean that you listened. A compliment means that you took the time and went out of your way to provide a needed boost. A pat on the back means that someone appreciates the time, effort, blood, sweat, and tears that went into creating. An artists heart is always appreciative of even a couple of kind words.
Here are some ideas for encouraging those who create:
- Write a note. A handwritten note mentioning specifically what it is about a person’s “art,” whether it is a speech, a book, a blog post, a painting, or a sermon, will make a creative spirit soar. Drop it in the mail and create the lasting impression that comes when something other than a bill or junk mail is in the mail box.
- Post a compliment on social media. Use Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to tell the world how much you appreciate someone’s creativity, and what you appreciate about it.
- Pick up the phone and make a call. Can you imagine what it would mean in the middle of business calls, or complaints, a phone call that comes with one, specific compliment regarding a person’s art? I promise you, it would make their day.
- Tell a friend. Tell someone else just how much you enjoy or appreciate a creative’s art, and allow them to get in on the inspiration, too.
- Purchase art. One of the greatest compliments you can give an artist is an investment of your money so that you can enjoy their art in your own home. If an artist you appreciate has things for sale, make the investment and spread the word. It means more than you know.
What ideas do you have for encouraging someone’s creativity?