Anupama writes a letter to her 18-year old daughter. Read what she has to say.
In a world that suppresses non-linear thinking, here is how to foster creative thinking in your child and give imagination a free rein.
“Wonder what the bird is singing about? Maybe love, could be hope; the song of happiness or the song of love “. He uttered to himself as he watched the bird sitting on a tree through the window of his school bus. He was seated so I was unable to guess his age but his face depicted a 10 year old or a 11 year old poet, sitting by the window, admiring nature and nurturing the poetry in his spirit.
A bigger girl sitting next to him chuckled and said “You are mad”. Within a few seconds the ayah of the bus came, hit the boy on his hands and shut the window saying “can’t you see it’s raining? “. That was shutting off the poet’s imagination also; for I noticed his eyes go down from the discouragement he received. I was eyewitness to the beginning of the slow death of a future poet.
All this happened in less than five minutes as I was boarding my daughter on the school bus and the bus was in static energy due to an unexpected road block. The happening was only five minutes, but it concerned me the whole day, enough to write on creativity and how it is slaughtered in children.
What would happen to creative minds like that little boy? Do his parents know that he is creative and thinks beyond his textbooks? How many like the other girl mock him into silence? How many Ayahs shut his mind from creativity? How many creative minds bow their heads in discouragement? What happens to creativity that gets buried in the symmetry of dissuasion?
What would happen to creative minds like that little boy? Do his parents know that he is creative and thinks beyond his textbooks?
I have hardly seen kids admire a bird through words while I have seen plenty of them take pictures of the birds or still better, a selfie with the bird. It’s no wonder that we hardly have any astonishing poets these days; creativity is getting slaughtered and put to eternal rest at the budding level. Poetry is no more creative while a Sheela ki jawani hits all-time records on the music chart. Art on paper hardly gets a look over 1 minute while art on software gets forwarded to millions.
Parents kill creativity in children in childhood and later set them off to a creative or a lateral thinking course in their adulthood. Creativity can be easily fostered at home by the parents as it’s more of a developed skill. For this, parents have to have time for the kids and the key resource kids need is their own free time. Most of the time the 24 hours of the day is well charted by the parents, with the child having no buffer time for creative expeditions.
Did you know that creative people are more flexible and better at crisis management and problem-solving? So if parents are looking at developing various other leadership skills, developing creativity is the foundation. Toy companies and software companies have impaired the carefree creativity of children by continuous stream of prefab characters, images, props and plot-lines that have made children to put their imagination to an eternal respite. Parents also have a share in this plot of killing creativity by trying to be the multimedia of entertainment for their children from day one of parenting. Parents think it’s their responsibility to entertain children 24×7.
If the children have been given the first resource of time, the second one they require is the resource of some free space without electronic interventions. Form a creative corner for your children so that the rest of the house is not the creative canvas and this place would also form the anchored place in their mind for creativity. Let them get messy as the creative benefits will surpass the momentary inconvenience.
Parents think it’s their responsibility to entertain children 24×7.
Limit screen time and substitute it by thinking time. We have to leave kids with enough of an inner space to create their own pictures, their own vision by reducing overload of images from the media, whether it’s television, movies, or computers. Lest we turn them into consumers while we have to actually turn children into creators. Craft a creative environment to foster imagination.
Let them into nature, as keeping kids in touch with objects from nature inherently inspires their imagination. Playing with open-ended toys like blocks or sand has endless possibilities for imaginations. Let them enjoy the chirping of birds, the gushes of water, and the feel of the wind
Children who are fearful of failure are less likely to think creatively so teach them about persistence and about looking at mistakes as creative opportunities for betterment.
Don’t limit their creativity, for creativity has several dimensions. Foster creativity in your children. What they see probably is not what you see. Step back and encourage autonomy and see creativity blooming beyond your expectation. Incentives impede creativity, therefore you don’t need to reward every creative step of your child as a ladder of encouragement. Appreciation motivates creativity, so make your praises objective.
Resist perfection and don’t jump in to complete a project for your child. The process is more vital than the end product. Product can be improved with practice, but the learning during the process is significant for creativity. Avoid shaming when creativity fails. Encourage your child to take risks, as this fuels creativity. Do not make comparisons but respect creative efforts.
Image header courtesy Shutterstock.
Jaseena Backer is a Psychologist. The world knows her as a Parenting Strategist and Gender
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