The Creativity Question: at 40,000 Feet
I was on a cross-country flight yesterday and watched a 2 year-old boy and his mom play with Mr. Potato Head. The problem was, mom didn't want her little fella to make Mr. Potato Head his way. The boy would reach into the Ziploc bag, pull out a piece and immediately mom was pointing to where junior should place the piece on the spud -- and, of course, it was always in the "correct" spot. If he deviated and tried to slip a tongue in the ear hole, mom was grabbing his hand and guiding it over to the mouth area.
What's up mom?
Why do we have such a hard time letting kids do it their way? Admit it...you have at some point, like me, tried to guide your child's creative ventures toward the "norm" -- the sun goes in the sky, every house has a chimney, hair should be yellow, not greeen -- or, in my own guilty case not long ago, the LEGO brick goes here, not there.
I consulted Wikipedia on the topic of creativity and found some fascinating reading material. No one seems to really be able to define, or more importantly, measure, a person's creativity or its significance.
I found one quote that sums it up quite well:
"Creativity, it has been said, consists largely of re-arranging what we know in order to find out what we do not know." George Keller
It wasn't until her 2 year-old, after repeated attempts to distort Mr. Poato Head's features, screeched at the in-air Bree Vandekamp that she, more out of embarrassment and respect for other passengers, allowed him to put the arm in one of the eye holes...at which point, all was suddenly right in that little boy's world.
And thus, the question is: are children simply small creators - after all, conception and birth are small miracles - born with the power to create? Are we conditioned away from being creative...by family, friends, colleagues, scoiety in general (how many times have you said "he's creative" which is a nice way of saying "he's a little off his rocker"?
By Keller's comment above, perhaps we don't want to know what we don't know, so we don't bother pursuing ways to throw order into chaos.