You are seven years old and you have just drawn what you think is the best space rocket in the world only to get shut down by a passing adult who thinks that your rocket kinda looks like a boat. Your heart sinks and from that day forth you decide drawing isn’t for you. You shut yourself down from your creative side.
When sharing school experiences with other grown ups a similar pattern emerges. We seem to get defined and then define ourselves as being creative or not. The general consensus appears to be that if you can draw well, are good at design, can use colours well or do drama and dance then you must be creative. The word artist is then reserved for the very talented creatives.
Traditional view of what it is to be creative.
How about we consider for a moment that we are all artists in whatever we do. Really paying attention and listening to some one you are in a conversation with, following through on something that we said we would do for someone as a way of building our integrity or something else. Now you may think that these are ordinary every day events but there is a remarkableness and a creativity to the every day. We only need to pay attention for the opportunity.
I was told from a very young age that I was scientific and analytical and that I should keep away from art because I was no good at it. If I had gotten to speak to my younger self back then, I would have reframed that to say well actually you are pretty creative as you got to make aspirin, experimental drugs used for potential arthritic treatment and other cool stuff in a previous work space.
The challenge is how do we share and grow this artistic muscle in our children? I am not saying that I have any answers however it has gotten me thinking. All I know is that developing my children’s creative streak and resilience requires a broader definition for them to make connections and break open other peoples narrow definitions of what it is to be creative.