Creativity has been a buzzword for a decade. Before creativity was deemed as important, parents had no idea where to look for information. Today, there is so much information available that parents now have no idea where to begin to satisfy the young curious minds! As a primer to creativity, it is worth taking time to separate the wheat from the chaff – what is creativity and more importantly, what isn’t creativity.
Mention the words “Creative Genius” and most people would think of a lone mathematical genius toiling away at some mathematical proof, or a gifted writer who receives a spark of inspiration and proceeds to write the next New York Times bestseller. Neither of these misconceptions do justice to what creativity really is – a skill. More importantly, a skill that, given the right investment of time and effort, can be strengthened.
Creative people are curious minds and do not develop their ideas in a vacuum
They pay attention to their surroundings and are intrigued by what they observe. George de Mestral, a Swiss electrical engineer by training, exemplifies this curiosity and attention to detail. After he had returned from a hunting trip with his dog, his curious mind became intrigued by the burrs that were stuck onto the dog’s coat. Examining them under the microscope, the engineer noted hundreds of “hooks” that caught on anything with a loop. This eventually gave him the idea for an invention that everyone is familiar with today – Velcro.
Children are naturally curious and this curiosity should be encouraged
However, the same child-like wonder that led to the invention of Velcro is also the bane of many parents. All too often, parents get irritated by their child’s incessant “whys” and their ire gradually tells children to stop asking so many questions. Next time, if you find yourself on the receiving end of your child’s curiosity, encourage him or her to find the answers. Better yet, make it a bonding activity where the both of you can try to find the answer together. You may not always get a totally satisfactory answer for the curious minds of your child or yours every time, nor would the answer definitely lead to a new innovation. However, the message that is sent to the child is very important: keep taking in the details around you, and never stop being curious.
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