writing for children

The Creative child

This is a great article by Dennis Jernigan on the Creative Mind. I’d love to hear your feedback/experience on this topic!

How to Understand the Creative (artistic/melancholy) Mind Confessions of a Tortured Soul or How to Be Creative Without Losing Your Mind

By Dennis Jernigan

This study is by no means exhaustive but is meant to give you encouragement as a melancholy soul or encouragement as a parent of a melancholy child. You may have a friend that seems to be living life on a roller coaster of emotions. My desire is that you receive hope and encouragement from this article. Take what you need and ignore what you don’t! I think of myself as a creative person. I know that sometimes my view of the world seems odd to others…and I know that my moodiness is often seen as a bad thing. As I have matured I have come to understand more and more about the strengths of my creative personality as well as the weaknesses. For some reason, God made me to be able to feel emotions on a very deep level. He allows me to feel hurt, despair, fear, anger, guilt, and loss to a degree many might perceive as abnormal. The Lord has provided His grace for such moments and, because He loves me, He is willing to risk me not responding to grace – not responding to Him. It is that very juxtaposition that fuels deep creativity. This level of freedom causes me – compels me – to respond to Him with passion. In other words, I have nothing unless I give up everything…which, in turn, gives me the wealth of the universe as my own! Something may seem trivial to the ‘normal’ soul, but to the artistic/creative heart we may see and feel a mountain. Looking back on my childhood, I can see how my parents must have had many sessions of pulling their hair out in trying to relate to me and my creative outlook. As a parent of creative children, I have pulled my own hair out on more than one occasion! As a result, I have thought a lot about how to help parents respond to and nurture their creative ones. This will also come in handy with spouse and friends of the tortured soul! Mind you, every single person is creative because we were all created in HIS image – THE Creator! When I say creative people or tortured souls, I am referring to those with melancholy and/or artistic personalities – those who feel and experience life deeply and feel the need to express those feelings in creative ways.

Before I go on, let’s take a look at what the tendencies or character traits of the creative person or creative thinker are. There are considered to be two types of creative personalities – the self-actualized creative person and the special-talented creative person. Those who are self-actualized are generally well-adjusted and forward thinkers who carry themselves with a healthy sense of their place in this world. They typically have a positive outlook on life and are visionary. Examples of the self-actualized creative person might be Oprah, Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, Rick Warren, and Ron Howard. These people are usually considered easy to work with and are highly motivated and productive.

Those who are born with special-talent creativity always have a great ability or talent in a certain area but may not be well-adjusted at all. They tend to be considered (in a psychological sense) neurotic or even psychotic. The word melancholy is generally associated with the special-talent creative person. Melancholy is a term that means ‘thoughtful or gentle sadness’ or ‘gloomy in character’. Some examples of the special-talented creative person might be Vincent van Gogh, Howard Hughes, Michael Jackson, Andy Warhol, Edgar Allen Poe, and Dennis Jernigan!

  • Some traits of the special-talent creative thinker/expresser: 
  • Open to innovative and far-fetched ideas •
  • Sees problems and obstacles from new perspectives •
  • Willing to take risks others would find crazy •
  • Often ambiguous and indecisive yet this ambiguity often leads to great artistic expression •
  • Is not afraid of being wrong. The new vista is more important than making a mistake. •
  • Tries and tests new ideas freely and not afraid to push the envelope •
  • Is good at bridging two worlds – combining an old idea from a new and fresh perspective •
  • Does not think of something being possible or impossible. Their way of thinking is has this been tried or not? •
  • Challenges the status quo. Rules are meant to be broken. Experience is more important than knowledge. This person tends to operate from the perspective that if you do not know something from personal experience you really do not know it at all. •
  • Generally sees life as a glass half-empty and sees problems as personal challenges to their own identity. This often motivates the melancholy soul to respond from deep within their soul and express great artistic achievement. •
  • Is not so concerned with making money but rather concerned with being heard, seen, and understood. Has a deep need to have the approval of others. Has a deep need to help others and believes if only others could see what they see they would find the same enlightenment. • Relishes confusion and chaos because these moments lend themselves to thinking outside the box – where others see disorder, they see profound order •
  • Tend to be more open and honest, wearing their feelings on their sleeves, which, in turn draws people to their art/expression (all people are emotional and tend to find expression for their own emotions in the art of the special-talent individual) •
  • This person tends to play hard and laugh a lot…and finds humor even in places where most would not find it • Does not always depend on logic, tending to go with intuition more often than not • Is pretty much willing to risk anything and everything for their crazy ideas •
  • Often day-dreams and lives in a fantasy world •
  • Given to deep contemplation • Imagination is more important than reality •
  • Tends to place great value on collecting meaningful items •
  • Tends to be lonely •
  • Tends to withdraw •
  • Tends to over-analyze themselves •
  • Tends to feel what others feel even if not directly involved •
  • Tends to need the acceptance and approval of others •
  • Feels easily rejected if his or her art is rejected •
  • Because they want acceptance they are easily used by others

How to respond to a tortured soul :

  • Remember we have need of each part of the body •
  • Each part needs the other – no matter how insignificant we may feel – or seem •
  •  The artistic needs the disciplined perspective of the prophetic soul •
  • The prophetic soul needs the emotional perspective of the artistic/merciful soul •
  • Involve yourself in their life and interests •
  • Invite them into your world •
  • Express a need for their gifts and talents and value their interests •
  • Involve yourself in their interests • Show them your perspective and learn to value theirs •
  •  Understand that allowing them to work through their pain is part of their creative process – the way they are wired •
  • Encourage them to view their gift from God’s perspective – and you do the same •
  • Use every opportunity to instill in them their true identity •
  • Use every opportunity to show them their gift is from God and is to be used for His kingdom and for His glory •
  • Show them how to feel what God feels and to use the depth of their emotions to feel what He feels •
  • Encourage them to use the artistic creations born out of such times to minister to and bless others •
  • Encourage them that they are not what they feel. The melancholy soul needs to be reminded they are a NEW CREATION that has been given the gift of feeling emotions very deeply. •
  • Encourage the creative soul that they are on this earth for God’s glory and His pleasure…and that they are allowed the privilege of feeling what HE feels. •

 This gift was meant to be used for God’s Kingdom…whether in the Christian arena or a secular platform. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

NASB ©2009 Dennis Jernigan


One thought on “The Creative child

  1. I finally found ya! Love the new blog! Shannon and I did a character test a couple of years back and were fascinated with what we learned. It helps break down communication obstacles when you know how your loved ones tick, doesn’t it? Thanks for a great post!


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