I once read that the best thing you can do for the creative is to stay out of their way! There is more depth (and truth) to that statement than can be easily comprehended. With the assumption that creating something new is actually good for us (and there is growing doubt), let’s recognize that harvesting creativity demands an inordinate degree of freedom.
You may remember academic freedom. It was abolished in Texas around 1980 with a blunt instrument called the TABS test perpetuated to this day to maintain controlling impulses. It has been so destructive!
I have often viewed creatively precocious youth as singular works of art in themselves – to be cherished, enjoyed and, above all, protected. Children with the unique abilities to conceptualize non-linear constructs and ideas are very fragile. They are as frail as the fleeting thoughts they generate. And all are subjugated to their own self-esteem and to the thoughts they may be courageous enough to share.
Our minds are so linear in the process modality that it is almost impossible to create that which we are not predisposed to or are not familiar with. Few humans have ever had a truly original thought – a dynamic or even dangerous encounter with what is real or assumed to be known.
Our habituations evolve into our thought processes and become very real constraints to originality. And today few children are sheltered from the peer pressure and other negating factors that squelch creativity and dictate conformity. A truly creative young mind doesn’t stand a chance to blossom in an orchard that bears only one kind of fruit. I have discovered that extremely gifted children warehouse their thoughts when they fear what others may think of them, ideas that then evaporate.
Freedom from the fear to think and act on an idea is absolutely essential for society to profit from its most valuable natural resource – its gifted children. We need a non-judgmental environment coupled with an abundance of time, yes, with absolutely nothing to do. This time becomes fertile soil compelling the mind to wander and explore.
It is not enough to simply be positive. Parents and educators must understand the dynamics of creative endeavor: providing this time (totally unscheduled and unstructured), permission and encouragement to make mistakes, large doses of spontaneous humor (hey, it may not make sense but it sure is funny!), exposure to many, many other ideas, books, unusual people, places (place is truly a great teacher), even confessions Kirby and Katy are great friends
(I had the same dumb idea, twice, and I survived it both times!), stories (so what if half of them are not true – what do you think the true nature of reality is anyway? Really? Well, no one else knows for sure, so call it fiction. And throw in a good nap and a great meal with an entree no one can pronounce.
Life is a perilous, ridiculous, creative, funny, unpredictable, enjoyable and loving adventure. Or it becomes nothing at all