“The urge to create is equally strong in all children. Boys and girls. It is imagination that counts. Not skill. Build whatever comes into your head, the way you want it. A bed or a truck. A dolls house or a spaceship. A lot of boys like dolls houses. They’re more human than spaceships. A lot of girls prefer spaceships. They’re more exciting than dolls houses. The most important thing is to put the right materials in their hands and let them create whatever appeals to them.”
I didn’t write that. It was a note in a box of legos. Of course I agree with the sentiment, except the part about skill not mattering. I guess it is okay if you create for your own enjoyment, but if you hope others to enjoy what you create it is important to practice and polish your skills. I am listening to a very skilled guitar player as I type this. But I want to talk about creativity, not skills.
When my son was in Kindergarten, I was a little concerned that he always played with the girls instead of the boys. I asked his teacher who explained, “Oh, it isn’t divided into boys and girls. There are two big groups at recess, those that play physical games and those that use their imagination. Your son is in the ‘imagination’ group.”
That made me really happy. Imagine how pleased I was to learn that my son was the one making up the games that the kids liked to play. I did not come from a home that encouraged using our imagination. If I could sum up my mother’s philosophy, it went something like “Life is hard, then you die.” I have tried not to limit my son and encourage creativity, but it is hard not to live under invisible restraints if we are not aware of them.
I am recently very motivated to allow my own imagination to run free, to loosen the reigns of my creativity. How will I go about this? Good question. Send me suggestions, if you will. I will not limit myself to my own ideas, but here are some goals I have for 2015:
1 – get back to being an avid reader without letting up on writing
2 – read more variety
3 – surround myself with more creative and positive people
4 – spend time alone (specifically running, a very important time for me, mentally)
5 – meditation
6 – get out more
7 – play more
8 – take in more art
9 – worry less – the biggest energy zap (easier said than done – but I have a strategy)