'Imagination is more important than knowledge.' Albert Einstein
It probably won't come as a surprise to most of you that as a child I loved making things. I hesitate to say art but you know just things. I loved to paint and stick and cut and sew. And then I became an adult with an adult job in science and I stopped making things.
Retraining as a primary school teacher transported me back to those days. Being around children and thinking more creatively sparked an explosion of making. I started with papercrafts, learned so sew, knit, crochet, embroider and of course take photographs. For a couple of years I got to teach art all the time and I loved every second of it. And it sounds trite to say but creating is what makes my life colourful (pun intended).
Brodie has always had access to art materials and on occasion he will use dough or clay or paint or chalk to create something. But he doesn't create in the same way I like to. He builds phenomenal lego creations, crafts fantastical stories, creates brand new games and constructs adventures all of his own. And I consider nurturing his (and his siblings, of course) creativity as one of the most important challenges, ever.
Because I know he's smart, I know he experiences the world in a unique way. I see him understanding numbers and sounds and connections. He, I'm sure, will make good progress at school. But I have this strong desire to allow his creativity to develop alongside traditional school skills because that is the key to success and happiness. A strong sense of creativity will allow him to think his way out of and around challenges. It will open up the world in new and exciting ways. It's how everything around us changes and grows.
And as a teacher I know that creativity can be one of the things that is hardest to nurture for every child in the classroom. Because each child is creative in their own unique way, because there are so many other things to think about and because often the adults around children don't prioritise the opportunity to create.
But at home I can give Brodie and Grier every chance I can find. I can turn off the tv, I can provide things I know they'll find irresistable to create with and I can give them the time and space to make things. I can forget about the mess or find ways to live with it, I can celebrate with them and I can draw from their enthusiasm and make my own stuff so they can see that adults like to play too.
If you are a maker, why do you make? And how do you encourage your kids?
'I define creativity as the entire process by which ideas are generated, developed and transformed into value. It comprises what people commonly mean by innovation and entrepreneurship.' John Kao, 1997