For the Love of a Creative Child
“Creativity is as important now in education as literacy and numeracy, and we should treat it with the same status.” ~ Sir Ken Robinson
When discussing creativity, some still believe it’s about sitting in beanbag chairs, looking up at the sky, and imagining horses and castles in the clouds.
If you go to Google Images™ and type a search for creativity, you will find anything from colored light bulbs to the smiling faces of children blowing dandelions.
Creativity, creative thinking, and problem solving are often seen as unscientific. Those who prefer a structured and logical approach to life view them as non-important “soft skills.” In fact, it may be argued that some people actually do not like creativity.
Creativity requires a great deal of effort, hard work, intellectual risk taking, and the ability to pursue an idea or concept without fear of being different.
We are not saying creativity, creative thinking, and problem solving can’t be simple or fun. What we are saying is they are also serious, rigorous thinking processes.
When creative work or thoughts are shared, there is always a risk of rejection, being laughed at, misunderstood, ridiculed, or even worse.
Here are some famous “historical and hysterical” examples:
- We all know the Wright Brothers made headlines after their 12-second flight of the first airplane in 1903. But even eight years after numerous improvements, Ferdinand Foch, a French general in World War I, said, "Airplanes are interesting scientific toys, but they are of no military value."
- In the early 1750s, people threw trash and insults at Jonas Hanway, the first man to use an umbrella on British streets. It was too much like a parasol used only by women. Coach drivers who were threatened by his new device ridiculed Hanway.
- In 1878 a British Parliament Committee noted that Thomas Edison's light bulb improvements were "good enough for our Transatlantic friends . . . but unworthy of the attention of practical or scientific men." They described it as a fairy tale and a sham.
- "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home." - Ken Olson, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), in 1977.
And our absolute all-time favorite:
- “This telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication! The device is inherently of no value to us!” – Western Union
Staw (1995) states, “As much as we celebrate independence in Western cultures, there is an awful lot of pressure to conform.”
When a child exhibits creative behaviors, such as asking a provocative question or offering a different answer, she may be met by someone who dismisses her idea or misunderstands her.
Sadly, and all too often, when a child is met by such responses, it does not take him long to realize it is really not worth the effort. It is much easier and less painful to just provide the expected responses.
Many people are actually very risk-averse. They are quite naturally (it’s human nature) satisfiers. Unfortunately, this innate quality of the human spirit breeds a culture of teacher-pleasers.
At Curiosita Teaching we guide educators in changing the classroom environment so that when “offbeat” ideas are shared, the whole class responds with “WOW!” instead of “WHAT?”
Creativity isn’t just nice to have or fun to do.
During this Valentine’s celebration month – be on the look out for all the creative ideas and expressions you hear and seek out and support them throughout the upcoming year!
Live creatively and prosper!
Patti & Rick Shade
Founders – Curiosita Teaching™
Thanks for reading!
Our goal is to help as many parents and educators as we can. If you know of others interested in parenting and teaching with and for creativity please forward.