Killing Creativity

Ryan Flynn-

They say it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert on something.

They say the key to a good life is finding happiness with yourself as well as with others.

And yet for a good segment of the population, we have to settle for happiness in minor forms.

Are we killing creativity?

Are we killing creativity?

John wanted to be a composer, but due to the lack of training and time, he has to reduce that to a “hobby.”

It’s an insult: hobby!

It’s a demotion. You will not make a living by being a composer, so we shall strike it down to “hobby” status.

How do we know that John will find the same level of pleasure and happiness not being able to practice his talents on a whim?

Will he find it in a “job?” You know, something most people find strenuous, unrewarding, and lackluster.

I should say not.

In the American public education system, we kill creativity instead of foster it and cultivate it.

If we don’t foresee success in a child’s grasp for happiness or money in their dreams, we take them by the hand and drag them to a task we deem more fitting.

To kill a child’s creativity is to cloud their sense of wonder, dull their senses, and slap down their hands from reaching for something greater than maybe you or I could ever have foreseen.

And while we are on it, ADD is not a problem and never will be. The problem is our inability to stretch our inflexible education system to help those with ADD to succeed.

The same goes for autism and other diseases.

In a February 2006 TED talk, Sir Ken Robinson had this brilliant example on childhood creativity:

“I heard a great story recently – I love telling it – of a little girl who was in a drawing lesson. She was six and she was at the back, drawing, and the teacher said this little girl hardly ever paid attention, and in this drawing lesson she did. The teacher was fascinated and she went over to her and she said, “What are you drawing?” And the girl said, “I’m drawing a picture of God.” And the teacher said, “But nobody knows what God looks like.” And the girl said, “They will in a minute.””

Children have loads of creativity, and yet we squander it. We take it away, because we believe it will set them back or they will make poor choices because of it.

Robinson asserts that the main purpose of the public education system is ultimately to make university professors. If everything were to go right, then the child would be one in the end.

Why are we not playing into the strengths of the children who pass through the public education system? Instead of a career test, why not a creativity test?

I remember when I was a kid. I could draw maps, loved the abstract nature of art and drawing mazes. I loved drawing as well as writing. And until I got to college, I had given it all up. Through middle school and high school, this love of art digressed into nothing more than a tool to impress my friends. It was a “hobby.”

Whenever people think of laws, science, government, etc., they come to the conclusion that there is an ultimate truth to things; that there is a right way and a wrong way of doing them.

And we teach this to our children. There is a right way to learn. There is a right way to study. There is a right way to speak. And anything else is just plain wrong and uneducated.

As society progresses, laws will be rewritten, the sciences revised, governments will fall and others will rise. Why not teach our children to be adaptive to that? Why not teach our children to be the catalysts to that? Why not teach our children to create a norm that lets their creativity and that of the others around them run wild?

But why kill it?


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