Thursday, January 12, 2012

Protect Your Creativity

We start out with an abundance of creativity, but over time, it seems to fade.  Many of us recognize now that there are actually forces at work against creativity: peer pressure, schools, competitive society, marketing.  And then the more children are exposed to these destructive mediocre-creating ways, the more our creativity is squashed. Without protection, little by little it would be gone.  One of our jobs, as mothers, is to hold the space for our children's creativity to grow and blossom into whatever it needs to be.

Preserving our creativity is vital - it's the basis of all innovation, progress, and growth. That's why, as unschoolers, we found developing creativity to be more important than learning the times tables. Calculators can do that. But inventing or creatively problem-solving? That can only come if your creativity has been nurtured.

I want to share a few really good articles on the subject that I found out on the web:

Why People Secretly Fear Creative Ideas by Jeremy Dean
Jeremy writes the PsyBlog and contends that there are some very human traits that also work against our creative selves. He doesn't say this, but I think it's easy for us to simply blame school for squashing kids' creativity. And, while I think that it does, Jeremy's piece helps us understand that while we might say we want to promote creativity, our actions often show otherwise. Understanding that we have to overcome our bias against that uncomfortable-ness that comes with doing something new. You might see yourself or  others in some of the descriptions he gives. This will help you with conveying the right message to your children, to others, and even to yourself.

How to Become a Creative Genius by Kim Roach
Kim gives six tips for expanding creativity. Keeping a journal on hand to capture those fleeting ideas, imagining conversations, increasing your reading, mind-mapping, to name a few.

How to Instantly Boost Your Creativity and Happiness by Sandra Martini
Sandra encourages us to take 15 minutes to examine what's blocking our personal joy these days. You might be surprised how that can affect your creativity. I found this article on the Creativity for Life, which has a lot of articles to poke around and read.

AHA! Great Moments in Creativity by Mitchell Ditkoff
 Mitchell shares stories of Rene Descartes, founder of the Scientific Method; Elias Howe, inventor of the sewing machine; Richard Wagner and Wolfgang Mozart, exceptional composers; Rudyard Kipling, famous writer;  Tchaikovsky, Nutcracker composer; Kekule, a Flemish molecular scientist. He gives brief little snippets of each of their lives, and how "great creative breakthroughs usually happen only after intense periods of struggle - even madness."

I think we should spend as much time pondering how to protect our children's creativity as we do thinking about educational experiences we would like to see them have. We have no idea what our children will face in their adult futures. Rote memorization won't really be much of an advantage for them. But creativity and the ability to problem-solve, that is what will be REAL tools we shouldn't be overlooking.
 "The things we fear most in organizations -- fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances -- are the primary sources of creativity." - Alfred North Whitehead
 "To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong." - Joseph Chilton Pierce
 "You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." - Maya Angelou
I'd love to start a collection of articles about creativity. If you have any you run across, would you consider putting them in the comment box here? I'd really appreciate it!

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