Where did anyone ever get the idea that kids learn to be creative at school? For instance, a recent Newsweek cover story entitled The Creativity Crisis goes right from describing the lack of creativity among children to discussing how schools and teachers can solve this problem. What about home and parents?
Think of your childhood experience, or that of creative people you know. Read books about the childhoods of creative people, such as the biography of Steve Jobs.
By far, most creative adults got their formative creative experiences at home, not at school. In addition, by far, the most important people in the formation of creative people were parents, not teachers. For example, see the great video Lemonade Stories, which profiles the influence of mothers on famous entrepreneurs like Richard Branson.
There are very good reasons why school and teachers did not provide the most creative inspiration to most of today’s creative adults. Schools are formal institutions that have specific, detailed curriculum objectives – reading, writing, arithmetic, etc. Sure, some great progressive schools have atmospheres that encourage creative expression, but, in the end, all schools are dominated by schedules, rules, and adult supervision.
Most kids’ homes these days are also dominated by schedules, rules, and adult supervision, but they don’t have to be. That’s your choice, as parents.
I’m engaged in research right now to understand how parents can best raise their kids to be creative, mindful “doers.” It’s pretty clear to me that kids whose spirits are constantly caged in by schedules, rules, and adult supervision usually don’t turn out to be very creative.
As a foundation, young kids need a safe, loving environment that gives them a lot of freedom to play on their own. When they get a bit older, parents can help them channel their play toward their passions.
Most schools aren’t going to give kids a lot of freedom to play on their own. Most teachers don’t know kids well enough to help them find their passions.
Their home can provide the absolute freedom that school just can’t, and their parents are in a unique position to help them find their passions.
If you’re interested in this topic, stay tuned. I’ll be writing a lot more about it in the coming months.