I think that, as adults today, there are a lot of us who were raised and educated with very little encouragement to be creative. Or maybe it was just starting to happen. I went to a Montessori school for pre-school, in Irvine California. If an education in creativity were to be found at that time, it would have been there. I am also the daughter of an interior designer, and a chef / floral designer, so I have some pretty artistic parents. I always received creative encouragement.
I think that things have changed greatly over my lifetime. I see so many brilliant educators everywhere promoting creativity in children. There are groups campaigning to keep art and music in schools. Parents themselves are embracing early learning tools and toys that encourage creativity in infants and toddlers. It is wonderful. I honestly believe that with the way that the world is changing, we have little chance of teaching our children to be successful without encouraging their creativity.
Kids all have different ways that they enjoy being creative. My son likes to build crazy contraptions with his Legos and to draw pictures of snakes and dragons with lots of teeth and scales. He has also started keeping an invention journal where he puts down ideas for wonderful fantastical inventions that he would love to create. He has no idea specifically how he is going to accomplish this, but who cares, we encourage him strongly regardless.
My youngest daughter has piles and piles of sketches of all of the fashions that she has designed and is planning to sew. She has learned how to hand stitch and puts little dresses together for her dolls. She got the sewing machine last Christmas. Unfortunately, because she is only eight and her coordination isn’t there quite yet, we are going to have to wait a few years before she takes off on the machine.
My oldest daughter is simply absorbing right now. She loves to draw, but is so enamored with the stories she loves, that she dedicates most of her time to reading. After finishing the Harry Potter series she flew right in to the Eragon books. She is on the third. Reading might not actually be creating anything, but it is very creative. The mind uses the words in a book to create entire worlds. She’s already reading better than I was at her age. She has the potential to be a much better writer than her silly mommy.
Even if the kids that are in your life are planning on being lawyers, or doctors, or soldiers: careers which some people might think require no creative spark, I think that it’s unwise to discourage their creativity. Not only can an ability to create greatly benefit almost any career that I can possibly think of, creativity can also be a balm to the soul when we have time to ourselves. Sometimes, creating just to create is the one thing that keeps someone happy, whether they are doing it for a living or not.
Encourage kids to be creative. It will make them happy. It will give them outlets to experience success and pride. It will give children real power. I want our children’s generation to get busy. I want them to use their beautiful imaginations to solve all of the ridiculous problems that their grandparents and parents have created. It’s time, and they know it. By encouraging them to be creative, we give them the inspiration to do it.