Child Behavioral Counselor / Mom
With technology at our fingertips, we have new ways to create new ways to solve problems, new ways to connect with people, gain different perspectives, and network with people all over the world. At the opposite end of the spectrum, our children spend too much time watching TV, playing video games, and using tablets. They can become slaves to the screen and lose the ability or desire to be creative. The more children are tied to the screen, the less they use their imagination to play creatively, which is essential to social development, and cognitive skills such as problem-solving. It is crucial for children who will eventually become adults to develop their imagination and explore their creative side.
So, what does it mean to be creative? Most people think creativity = arts and crafts or artwork. Being creative is finding new ways to solve problems, changing the way we see things. Our children are the future generation that will solve the problems of the world. We need our children to use their imaginations and creativity to figure out how to solve the issues with say our environment, poverty, economics, etc. In order to do that, we need to foster their creativity now. Researcher Dr. George Land conducted a creativity test that showed creativity was highest in young children and steadily decreased into adulthood. He determined that non-creative behavior is learned. It is essential as parents, teachers, and mentors to encourage children to be creative. If they do not have opportunities or individuals to foster their creativity, they will not learn to create and be creative. This skill will be lost as they grow older.
Most school systems don’t focus on teaching creativity, and some schools don’t even have creative arts programs. The focus has become standardized tests and getting the best scores. As children get older, the focus becomes more on being practical, and what are you going to do with your life? And how to make a living, pay the bills, support a family, and have all the THINGS you want in life. You may remember your parents or other parents say things like, “When are you going to get a real job?” These are the types of things that hinder creativity.
I wanted to be an art teacher when I was younger but was discouraged by my grandmother. She said art teachers don’t make much money. At the time and still, now I thought this was odd since my grandmother is very creative. She spends her time watercolor painting and drawing. She is very creative and enjoys having time to do those things. She is 92 years old, and having creative hobbies like this keeps her mind active and healthy and makes her happy. I learned not long ago that she wanted to be an art teacher but was discouraged by her mother.
Hmmm, you see the patterns of behavior and discouragement. She used to spend her days as a child drawing pictures on scraps of paper. As parents, we have the power to foster creativity or discourage it in our children, based on our ideas and beliefs, such as you need to strive for success, you don’t make money in the arts.
My best friend attended a prestigious college, Carnegie Mellon University, and earned a degree in chemical engineering. She worked in the field for a while but became discouraged. It wasn’t her passion. She wanted to do something creative that made her happy. When asked why she went to school to be a chemical engineer, she said, “It’s what her father wanted her to do. She is now happily creating sacred geometry paintings. She may not be earning the same kind of money as she would as an engineer, but she is happy and not miserable working in a career that did not satisfy her, and she was not passionate about it. Japan struggles with how to create creativity. The Japanese education system is one of the highest-ranked in the world. Their students outperform students of the same age and older all over the world. Though there is one problem with having such a stringent focus on the education system, Japan is concerned about how children will be able to compete in the global economy as their education system does not foster creativity and the arts. Their focus is on mathematics and science. They are concerned that students cannot think creatively, an essential skill in being innovative in today’s economy. Young children need to explore creatively and have opportunities to foster their creativity. Let’s focus on how to encourage children to be creative instead of discourage. Let them explore ideas that seem wild and unrealistic. It’s what makes a great innovator who can come up with unique ideas, develop new ways of doing things, and designing new technology. They are our future. To learn how to foster our children’s creativity, please subscribe to our blog and check out our online course workshops on creative activities you can do with your children and additional information on conscious creativity.