It is not what we know that is important today, but what we do with it! It is our ability to analyze, think out of the box, ideate and create.
We need creativity to get on with our lives. Finding that next tagline, strategy or product at work or resolving a tussle at home or even finding a quick fix to a leaking pipe!
Humans are inherently creative. From the design of a simple button to those amazing machines that fly into space, we have done it all. But what fascinates most is our ability to build simple solutions with limited resources. For example, the Jugaad car we see in villages that use a water pump from the fields to power an overgrown cart!
Born that way!
Picasso wisely said, “All children are born artists!” We don’t need education to be creative; we are born that way. In fact, mass education can hinder or suppress it!
The moment a child enters school they learn to paint the sky blue, the little ducks, yellow, and the pigs, a baby pink! They learn to conform to set standards even if they don’t make sense – after all who finds yellow ducks in a pond?
Endless rules, a one-way information flow, tests that focus on what the textbook says versus what children understand and the lack of time to complete a set curriculum often discourages questions. It also instills within a child a fear of getting it wrong. This stops them from questioning and in turn hampers creativity. Sir Ken Robinson has worked extensively in the area and strongly believes that “We don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Rather we are educated out of it!”
Creativity is important. We want our children to keep it! What can we as parents do to keep it alive?
Encourage the question – why and why not?
Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is the secret of great creative people. – Leo Burnett
Research has clearly shown that curiosity is critical to fuel creativity. Curiosity encourages children to study life’s mysteries and discover new ideas. Only if we ask “why” do we look for new ways of doing things.
Curiosity comes naturally to children. Spend time cultivating it rather than shooting it down because you are busy or restless yourself! When you read a story, stop and allow them to ask questions. You should also ask questions as that will encourage them.
And no – curiosity did not kill the cat! The great thing about curiosity is while it fuels creativity, it also ensures children become life long learners.
Let them get it wrong!
I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 things that don’t work! – Thomas Edison
The fear of getting it wrong, often stop us from trying new things. But if we don’t try, we don’t come up with anything original. Encourage your children to try even if they get it wrong. It could be as simple as trying new food!
When trying new things, some can go horribly wrong – enjoy it. At some point your child will experience creating something wonderful and the pure joy that comes with it!
Explore, invent and create
Creativity is putting your imagination to work, and it’s produced the most extraordinary results. – Ken Robbinson
Encourage new thoughts and ideas. Make it a part of their lives, a special fun time with you.
Let them find new materials to paint with, use stuff like vegetables from the kitchen to make shapes, fabrics from the cupboard to make patterns. Let them create a car out of a cardboard box! Let them build a new recipe in the kitchen with you – even if you know it’s the worst idea! Put chillies in their desert if they want to. After all, it was one creative person that created the popular Lint Dark Chili chocolate!
Boredom can help them invent
When you pay attention to boredom it gets unbelievably interesting! – J Kabat-Zinn
How many times do you hear this? “Mom/dad I am bored!” Don’t rush to find something for them to do like watch television, or a structured activity. Encourage them to find ways to engage themselves. You can help by brainstorming with them, but let them come up with their own ideas. You will be amazed at the games they can “invent”!
Think of it – Bubble Ball was a game invented by a 14 year old! A game that beat Angry Birds, at one time, by getting over 2 million downloads.
Share creative ideas
Stories help children learn new words and ideas. They help in understanding complex ideas like sharing, helping others, and safety. In a world where creativity is as important as literacy, it is important to use stories to build a love and interest for innovation and creative thinking.
There is no dearth of examples of how creative humans have been, starting from the Indus Valley Civilization! Share these stories. Celebrate them, as that will build within them a desire to create. A desire to create will always ensure they question and find news ways of doing things. This is turn will ensure their success!
Finally, children learn most from what you do. If you can keep creativity alive at home – handmade cards, flower arrangements, things made out of old books, new recipes – your work is done!