Raised on Pinterest

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Let me preface this with a huge disclaimer: I do not have a Pinterest account. I never have, and I don’t plan on getting one anytime soon. My roommate has an account, as does my sister. Dozens of my friends are pinning and talking about their favorite pins. I’m just not that into the hype. However, I felt the need to write after my sister announced at the dinner table that she had found a recipe for toothpaste.

“Where’d you find that?” My mother inquired, a little nervous about her daughter concocting toothpaste in our kitchen.

“On Pinterest!” was the reply. Sis went right back to her meal.

This isn’t the first time she’s found something on Pinterest. First it’s a hair-do. Then it’s a recipe. Or maybe a makeup tip or who knows what else! Now, there’s really nothing wrong with any of this, but by the end of the summer, I had exclaimed, “Are you being raised by Pinterest, or what?” Almost all of her fashion ideas come off that site, and she loves to share her finds with her friends.

Call me old fashioned, but I like recipes hand-written on little cards and stacked nicely in a box or compiled in a recipe book. Now, I wouldn’t be opposed to having all my recipes backed up on a computer document where I could search for the recipe in a pinch, but overall, I like the simplicity of a card that I can place on the counter while I bake.

I really don’t mind that she gets ideas from the Internet. There are tons of resources to be discovered. To be honest, I have found several recipes that I love online. I read blogs about dozens of subjects and explore the world in this way. But something about my sister’s love of Pinterest makes me a bit hesitant.

If we get all our ideas from Pinterest, what will happen to the moments when a college roommate has sudden inspiration for an awesome hair style? Or when a friend challenges you to pair that blouse with those pants, even though you don’t think you can pull it off? Will we end up simply imitating Pinterest? Could we be stifling our own creativity by spending our hours on Pinterest enjoying what others have created?  I worry we will lose the joy of trying something new, of creating our own art instead of imitating others.

Surely there is value in listening to others’ opinions, of considering what the more experienced have done. Of course imitation is the highest form of flattery. There is value in enjoying beauty and admiring it. But we can’t stay in the art museum forever or read the novel until eternity. We can’t walk into the fashion show and expect it to never end. We can’t listen to the same CD nonstop for the next 10 years. We can’t make the symphony go on for years or the sunset last into the morning.

Instead, we have to get our fingers dirty. We dig out the paints, the potting clay, the camera. We scrounge around for a pen and some paper. We pull out our laptops. We scoop up the fabrics and walk to our own sewing machine. We pick up the guitar, the violin, the flute. We sit down at the harp, the drum set, or the piano.

We sketch. We sculpt. We photograph. We write. We sew. We make music. In short, we create. We take a deep breath, revel in the beauty around us, and exercise our ability to fashion beauty. Made in God’s image, we find joy in creating. So take some time to get off Pinterest and get your hands dirty. Make something beautiful. There’s no shame in not liking what you produce. Try again.

Grab a coloring book if you don’t draw well. Who said crayons are just for kids? Pull out that instrument you’ve been hiding in the corner of your bedroom, waiting for the next lesson you haven’t practiced for. Who told you that you can’t make music? Pick up your camera, go for a walk, and soak in the beauty around you. Knead dough between your hands and breathe in the aroma of your work. Work your fingers into the dirt and plant the seeds that will give you beautiful flowers in due time. Kick your shoes off and move those bare feet on the dance floor! Leave the computer behind, and enjoy the wonder of making art in any form. Breathe in the beauty. At the end of the day, I hope you can look back at your work and say “It is good.”

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