Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Genius Child

I asked my husband if there was a space he could go where he was inspired to be creative...what sort of mediums would he enjoy "playing" around with?

He mentioned, he would like to learn how to fix a boat engine or learn about plumbing.
Maybe, some building of furniture, etc...

Hmmm....ok. Is fixing a boat engine a creative process?

Is following instructions on diagnosing a clogged sink allowing a person to achieve the feeling of creation?
I decided that he was interpreting creativity in a way that is very different than how I see it (so typical in a marriage, right?!)

I am sure that a boat engine repairman uses "creative" problem solving to fix boat engines.
Macgyver used pencils and paperclips in creative ways to get himself out of sticky situations. 
I understand that businesses are really trying to embrace creativity in problem solving and team building experiences with their employees. 
So, what then is the type of Creativity I am thinking about?
What separates the creative Arts from mathematical creativity or engineering creativity?
For me, there are 2 factors that influence my version of a true act of creativity. 

1.  Expression that allows the human to connect soulfully with oneself and has opportunity to share that expression with his/her community. 

2.  The process or the journey of the artistic act itself is the product.  We are not solving some sort of "practical" problem, which means, our product is not necessarily useful. 
So, while these two "rules" for creativity may seem opinionated or judgmental (and you have your right to think so)...let me try and persuade you otherwise.

I don't want to be a creative snot but I am sort of picky about this one.

Children are creative geniuses.

If you give a child some free time...some materials that really serve no purpose (garbage is great!), and another human (remember the part of the rule that says, "has opportunity to share that expression with his/her community"... 
With this simple arrangement...the child typically starts shuffling around, moving things around, trying out different designs and movements until a communication or expression of some sort begins to emerge.

The younger the child, the quicker they are able to feel this "Spirit of creativity". 
As the human gets older...even 4 or 5years...creativity begins to be stifled as distractions come into competition.

This tends to be the time also where Free Time itself becomes less and less.
Parents begin to organize the child's time more deliberately...School, gymnastics, swim lessons, piano lessons...etc...

If the child is left without time for the creative spirit, she soon forgets this type of expression and begins to look for entertainment.

In our world today, this is easily found through Screens of all sorts as well as "Activities." Activities  which mean games where there are rules and an expected or somewhat predictable outcome.
And, boredom has become a real "thing" to avoid. 

But if you think about it...boredom itself could be defined as time with no distractions. 
Most of us are scared to be bored. We don't like seeing our children bored.
Boredom seems wasteful.
And, I guess...boredom is's Boring.
But 9 times out of 10...boredom leads to true acts of Creativity.
(the only alternative would be a Nap:)
If the distractions can be resisted and we are not averse to a bit of a mess...the creative spirit begins to awaken again.
You may have already noticed that my two rules for true acts of creativity also fall in line with the meaning behind the word "Play". 

In play, the child is free from the burden of having to produce a useful outcome, which is why I cannot stand learning disguised as "play", but that's another blog.
Can adults also experience this type of freedom?

I think so. But remember, we are old so it may take us longer to get there.
And, while I may add a third rule having something to do with Freedom...
I believe that creativity is a like a muscle.  The more you "flex" it, the stronger it becomes.
But, getting back to the question I asked my husband...I do think it helps to have "places" that inspire us to get to that creative spirit.

These places offer us the time and the freedom and the materials we need to "flex" that muscle.
Find those places.
Design your own...
Your "genius child" is inside of you...set her free. 

Genius Child

This is a song for the genius child.
Sing it softly, for the song is wild.
Sing it softly as ever you can -
Lest the song get out of hand.

Nobody loves a genius child.

Can you love an eagle,
Tame or wild?
Can you love an eagle,
Wild or tame?
Can you love a monster
Of frightening name?

Nobody loves a genius child.

Kill him - and let his soul run wild.
Langston Hughes