15 kids are having the time of their lives with the games and cool plastic shapes strewn across the room but a little boy sitting in front of a pile of colourful blocks is looking perplexed. When I ask him if he wants to make something, he replies dolefully…
I can’t… I don’t have a plan in my head 😦
Holy macaroni… He’s six!
A 6 year old feeling held back by lack of strategy* is so many layers of sad! You can usually give kids a cardboard box and within 2 minutes they’ve made a spaceship and flown to the moon. We expect kids to just try stuff out, have a go, play. We don’t need them to have a plan and know exactly how it’s going to turn out first.
And yet, when do we allow ourselves the same freedom? For 20 minutes before writing this post, I sat here not having a plan in my head. And because I didn’t know exactly how it was going to turn out, I sat here… looking melancholy. And it made me realise…
Creativity is more than just making stuff. It’s dancing with and freeing yourself from fear.
As we get older, using our imaginations becomes scary. We say things like, “oh, I’m just not very creative.” We call it things like ‘writer’s block’. But it’s not that we don’t know what to make or say.
It’s really that we have a crippling fear that if we tell the truth about some part of ourselves through a picture or a story or a tower made of straws, we’ll be exposed… people will see the thing we made, that came from our heart and wild spirit, and laugh at it or dismiss it or say it’s stupid.
To write down and share what you really feel, to sing a song at the top of your voice, to do a spontaneous twirl with your arms open wide, to show to the world what’s in your heart and have no idea what will happen next is a kind of audacity.
In other words, creativity is also courage.
Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.E. E. Cummings
Risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight today.
*And the sad little boy? Don’t worry, we made a totally unplanned giraffe out of rainbow coloured triangles… and it kicked ass!
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