EMILY'S QUITE AN ARTIST . . . BUT YOUR SON'S A DUD
Your son’s not a creative dud and neither are you! It’s been said that we educate people out of their creativity. As a form of proof, try to think of every little kid you’ve known who just doesn’t have a creative bone in his body. Not many kids seem to fit that description, do they? No. The truth is we all start out as big creative thinkers. But starting early in our school careers, we are introduced to a process centered upon the rote memorization of facts and figures much to the detriment of that innate creativity inside us that was yet to be formally encouraged, coaxed out and strengthened. The American educational system “boot” came down on the fragile flower of creativity that each of us were. Actively steered away from music, dance, art and the world of performance, we became times table superstars and masters of the arcane laws of academic footnoting. As a result, many highly talented, brilliant and creative people think they are not.
Are you one of those people who believe yourself to be good at the manual and mechanical parts of life and work, but feel unimaginative and artistically comatose when it comes to anything considered creative? Perhaps you equate creativity only with classical talents like artistic expression (writing, drawing, sculpting, painting, mastering an instrument, etc.)? Creativity does not require you to perform a modern interpretive dance incorporating the lonesome melodies of Zamfir’s pan flute to express your concern over the rising balance in the Over-90 Day receivables column. Creativity, especially the elements that so often lift up businesses, encompasses much more than that!
CREATIVITY TAKES COURAGE
Tying it all together is the irrefutable fact that embracing creativity requires you to embrace the possibility of being wrong and being silly. Those students well-prepared for a chemistry exam (assuming they have an intelligence type that responds to textbook-driven learning) will feel confident and satisfied when telling the teacher that the chemical element Argon is a gas with a chemical symbol of “Ar” and an atomic number of 18. Of course, what of the students who have an intelligence that’s characterized by musical smarts or body kinesthetic smarts? Can you hum the periodic chart of the elements? Can you dance the alphabet?
Some kids would give it a great try but they’d need thick skin and solid self-esteem because they could get it wrong. That’s a two-headed cultural problem here in the good old USA. First, we don’t like to be wrong (especially if we’ve studied hard) and second, we really don’t like to look silly! What do we stigmatize in this society? Right . . . we brand and then ban the most creative people and those prone to memorable errors. Think back to your school days . . . who was picked on? As a late cycle Baby Boomer, my cohorts punished the poets, anarchists, dreamers, nerds, girls in body casts and sensitive types who wore billowy shirts and sat in their cars getting metaphysical with Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
Mistake makers were our next targets. We Americans celebrate our big dopes almost as much as our big champions; from the unfortunate kid whose parents allowed him to carry a briefcase to school everyday to professional goof-ups like Bill (I got it!) Buckner, Michael (I’m a cat person) Vick and Scott (Wide right) Norwood. News stations never showed a nightly compilation of Ken Jennings running the toughest boards on Jeopardy and being declared the evening’s champion even though they had 74 chances to do so before he was defeated. After $3,022,700 in winnings, America was treated to playback after playback of just his incorrect answer and dethroning (interestingly, it was a Business & Industry question about seasonal employees that tripped him up).