New school year= new school supplies!
Attacking the annual school supply list can be a formidable chore for parents. Some students, on the other hand, eagerly anticipate the newness of book bags, notebooks, pens, and other items that signal a fresh start. The first words carefully written with the new pen on the fresh page of a new notebook are promising signs of great achievement to come! Notebooks, pens, and pencils are cool, but there is something special about…
A New Box of Crayons!
Remember the excitement! Each crayon was placed perfectly in the box- whether the early childhood 8-crayon set or the big time two-level box of 48 or more. The neatly formed points with the tiny flat ends were pristine and unspoiled. They would become rounded off with torn paper wrapping soon enough, but that first opening of the box was a “new day is dawning” type of experience!
Why do we love to color?
Why do even the youngest children eagerly engage in coloring and in other forms of visual art? Why do they love forming images from modeling clay or any number of newly developed sculpting materials? What does our inborn yearning for beauty and creativity tell us about who we are? How do these traits help define what is human?
The recent adult coloring book phenomenon is evidence that this longing to create beauty is not limited to young children. There is something soothing to the human soul about making something beautiful, or at least attempting to do so. Whether the crayon is in the hand of a reflective adult meticulously staying within the lines or an enthusiastic pre-schooler drawing on the family room wall, we all express our creativity one way or another.
Where does creativity come from?
The scripture teaches that we are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26). As image-bearers, we reflect God’s traits, albeit on a far smaller scale. Humans have creativity because we reflect God who is the Creator. We express our feelings and deepest thoughts in the various venues of the fine arts. Music, poetry, the visual arts, and literature all reflect the work of the Ultimate Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-18).
God is the author of sound, color, light, music and language. He has revealed Himself in the physical universe (general revelation) and in the words of scripture (special revelation). When we use both words and music to praise God in worship, we are exalting Him through means that He has made. Sacred themes have been dominant in art and music throughout human history. What does this tell us about who we are?
Animals Aren’t “Artistic”!
Art is another affirmation that human beings are distinct from any other life form on earth. Animals do not make art, decorate their homes with purely decorative objects, or write poetry. We are not just the highest life form in the evolutionary pyramid. As image-bearers of God, we truly hold a unique position in the cosmos.
How’d we end up talking about this stuff?
OK, we’ve quickly transitioned from our memories of the thrill of opening a new box of crayons to commentary on some significant worldview presuppositions about anthropology and theology. But isn’t that at the core of what Christian schooling does in the hearts and minds of our students? We want them to make the connections between the fine arts and the God who created it all. It is important for students to know why they can create and how they can glorify God in their creativity. We want them to cultivate their God-given capacity for creativity and for the enjoyment of beauty!
So as the new school year is upon us, celebrate! Go get yourself a new box of crayons and make something beautiful! After all, it’s who you are!
Fant, Gene C. , The Liberal Arts: A Student’s Guide, from the series, “Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition, Crossway, 2012.
Dr. Mike Sligh, Headmaster, has served at LCS for more than 40 years. To contact Dr. Sligh, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.