Stomping creativity out

Where do children learn they aren’t creative, can’t draw or sing? Although most young children gladly draw, sing and act, somewhere along the way many become self-conscious and judgmental of their efforts.

These negative self-evaluations may start when a parent, teacher or sibling criticizes a child’s writing or art work. Soon children learn that there is a “best” way to show creativity and their attempts don’t measure up and so they stop trying.

Sir Ken Robinson told this story at the 2006 TED Conference: “A little girl was in a drawing lesson, she was six and she was in the back drawing. The teacher said that this little girl hardly ever paid attention, but at this drawing lesson she did. The teacher was fascinated and went over to her and she said, ‘What are you drawing?’ The girl said, ‘I’m drawing a picture of God.’ The teacher said, ‘But nobody knows what God looks like.’ The girl said, ‘They will in a minute.’”

Wow! What confidence! How do we keep that bold certainty and creativity alive in our children? To the degree we can encourage our children's imagination instead of judging their efforts, they will learn to trust their creative impulses.

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