There is a thin line between creativity and futility. Just like courage and stupidity. Where is the creative idea rooted in an individual, is important. Out of the box idea emerging from surface intelligence, are not creative ideas. Rather they appeal to our sense of humour, cause temporary excitement and are futile for any other purpose beyond this. E.g. think of a recent good movie you enjoyed. And now think of a movie, from the top 3 best movies you have seen till date. Both are creative endeavours. But can you see the difference in how they impacted you?
Creative ideas rooted in the intellect (Buddhi) are of a higher value and purpose. Humans are by nature creative. Then some among us find more meaning in life through this creative expression. But not all of us! And yet all of us thrive and rejoice whenever we experience something truly creative, right from the rendition of a simple song to appreciating the creative genius behind an iphone. Albert Einstein said “The greatest scientists are artists as well.” And it is well documented that Einstein’s insight didn’t come from logic and mathematics alone, but from intuition and inspiration.
The task for parents is to nourish children’s intellect, where the creative seed is imbedded. Let’s take the example of colouring. As soon as children get a little sense of colouring, parents want their children to colour within lines. Colour identification becomes an agenda for parents and the child is made to answer the most mundane question “What colour is it beta?”
If we take a step back and only think, what is going on in my child’s head when they pick a crayon? The window of possibilities opens up. This is where the seed of creativity lies. Creativity lies in possibilities, not in colour identification.
The next important agenda for most parents is to restrict the child’s creative ideas to socially acceptable norms. An elephant has to be grey or black. Have you ever seen a pink elephant coloured by a child? You would wish that elephants should actually have been pink! Allow your child to think different. It’s not about getting the right colour.
The biggest nutrition for creative thoughts to emerge and flourish is “Trust”. When parents trust children, children trust themselves. Trust is the warp and weft in all relations, which we keep weaving throughout life. But in the parent child relation, it’s so easy. Children are born to trust Ma and Pa. In fact we were all born to “Trust” till we learnt otherwise.
Trusting your child’s choices, especially the bad ones, is the test. Take the example of eating habits, e.g ice cream. Every child given a choice will have an ice cream every time she sees one. So parents keep ice creams out of sight. An easy solution! But is it the best?
Our refrigerators are not stocked with ice cream always for our children to see, but unfortunately the world is. There are all sorts of tempting ice creams and offers that are thrown at our little ones. The thing for parents to do here is to help your child make the right choice for themselves. Let your child choose!
As parents it would thus be necessary to make your child understand the consequences of eating so much ice cream, in terms that she can understand. Parents can do this for their child as young as 1.5 -2yrs old. Having informed, if the next time your child still demands a scoop, you need to respect that choice. Thankfully in case of an ice cream, you will have its negative impact much sooner than later, (a cold, sore throat, fever…). Now you have to smile from YOUR HEART and through your face, along with your child, throughout the suffering from the consequences of that ice cream. If you can do that, you will soon be surprised by the maturity even a your two year old will show. Because by being with your child with a smile and through her pain, you have showered “LOVE” and you have seeded “Trust”.
But if it doesn’t happen soon, you have to bear the negative consequences over multiple times, and if necessary over multiple years. Until one day your child decides to have an ice cream for the sheer sensual delight it offers along with the full awareness of its trivial nutritional value. Only over many instances and years that you have stood by her, then and only then you have wrapped and woofed a life-long trust in your loving fabric.
It’s not the eating an ice cream, that your child learnt. What she learnt is that Ma and Pa LOVE me with my bad choices; they TRUST me to make a choice in the first place! These are at the root of creative instincts. The freedom to choose what comes from within; the freedom to make mistakes; the freedom to learn from mistakes by looking deeper within and rising higher up to make a different pattern.
By opening our own windows of possibilities, by questioning social norms, by allowing our children to make their choices and by respecting and trusting their choices, we will make them ‘Creative Thinkers’. May not be always possible, but make it more often than a rare experience to, TRUST YOUR CHILDRENS CHOICES!!!
Thanks for reading!