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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Creativity's key

By Zenaida Serrano
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Michelle, 7, looks for creatures in a tide pool at Sandy Beach. Visits to the nearby beach have become a hobby of the Kelly family, a time to explore “backyard” wonders.

DEBORAH BOOKER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Myles, 12, picks through the sand for pieces of coral.

Photos by DEBORAH BOOKER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Yurika Matsumori-Kelly points out a tide pool discovery to her children as her daughter scrambles over a rock.

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Matsumori-Kelly takes her children — Michelle, 7, Mitchell, 10, Michael, 16, and Myles, 12 — to the beach often to spend time together and explore. She encourages them to see the extraordinary in the ordinary.

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Creative "prescriptions" for parents, from Neil Tepper: • We are born creative, exploring our lives from the right side of our brain. The early years are about learning how the world works and developing the logical, left side of our brain. As adults we tend to allow the right brain, the creative side, to fall into disuse. Keep creativity alive — in your children and yourselves — by encouraging your kids to be in nature, constantly developing their curiosity and fine-tuning their sensory abilities. • Creativity is much more than just artistic talent. It is a powerful tool that we all can use to solve problems in new ways. Allow kids to find their own preferences, inclinations, skills and talents. Observe and encourage these tendencies in them, rather than inserting yourself and your own preferences into their natural process, or by comparing them to other children's talents.

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Parents: How do you encourage creativity in your family? Share your ideas at HAWAIIMOMSLIKEME.COM.

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The Kelly family of Honolulu took an excursion to explore tide pools and came across a variety of treasures: seashells to collect; small fishes to catch, examine and release; and a grasshopper that strayed close to the ocean waters.

For the family, exploring the Sandy Beach spot close to their home is a favorite pastime — as well as an opportunity to encourage creativity.

"It's the same tide pool, but every time we go, there's a new discovery," said Yurika Matsumori-Kelly, mother of four children, ages 16, 12, 10 and 7.

Learning to see familiar things in fresh ways is one of the primary messages in Neil Tepper's new book, "Prescriptions for Living a Creative Life: Simple Remedies for Common Maladies in Our 24/7 World."

Tepper, who lives in Honolulu, promotes the power of creativity. He helps readers see the world and their lives in new ways that offer creative solutions to old problems.

In his book, Tepper prescribes "logical creative" remedies for readers to bridge the gap between linear, left-brain thinking and free-flowing, right-brain creativity. The lessons apply to today's busy and harried parents, Tepper said.

"People feel that if they do nothing for a moment, it's being lazy or unproductive," said Tepper, a business and personal coach and self-improvement expert.

The need to do more and more in this "fiercely, furiously paced" world is a result of left-brain thinking, Tepper said. His advice is to "just move the dial a little to the right."

"Allow for the intuition, allow for the creativity, allow for the silence ... And the irony is that it makes us more productive. It makes us more effective and more fulfilled as people, and happier," Tepper said.

Matsumori-Kelly, who read Tepper's book, said the book inspired her to approach everyday parenting challenges in a new light.

"It helps you solve problems in a way that you didn't think of before and it also helps you get a fresh perspective on things," Matsumori-Kelly said.

Matsumori-Kelly, a speech language pathologist, said one of her challenges as a mother is looking for activities to do with her children.

"What I realized is you and your child don't have to go far away to find wonders," she said. "They're right here in our backyard, in our neighborhood. Even in simple things." Like tide pools.

Tepper, nicknamed "The Creativity Doctor," is a former creative executive for The Coca-Cola Co., Universal Television and the 1996 Olympic Games. Tepper is also an accomplished songwriter and award-winning photographer.

Tepper coaches groups and individuals to harness their own creativity for success and fulfillment in all aspects of their lives.

Among Tepper's prescriptions for living a creative life: Pursue your passion and your profession — or parenthood — at the same time. Regardless of how busy you get, there's no need to give up interests that make you happiest, he explained.

"I think when we become parents, some of us turn that one (passion) off," Tepper said.

Parents tend to forget who they are — their strengths, motivations and inspirations.

"It's OK to have your time for your own passion," Tepper reminds parents. "It's really about giving yourself permission to be a person, too."

Matsumori-Kelly said the book also helped her realize the importance of genuinely being in the present.

"Your 'river of creativity' freely flows when you're living in the moment," Matsumori-Kelly said, quoting Tepper's book. "That's when your creativity really takes off. That's a great tool for parents."