Pallavi (3) has a mind of her own. Everything must be done her way. Her mother, an artist, has all but given up trying to teach her art the formal way. Pallavi prefers to be left alone with her paintbrush and colours. She brandishes the brush and fills the paper with interesting shapes but she’s not done yet. She puts the brush away and uses her fingers and hands to finish her “art”. By the time her mother returns, Pallavi’s toes and elbows are covered in paint. Her mother is in a dilemma. While she cannot bear the ‘mess’, she realises that many great artists have used their limbs when working on their masterpieces. Instead of the usual tussle that would have ensued, she says: “That’s nice!” And Pallavi is delighted.
Enjoy the moment
Do you remember the day when you painted with passion and pure joy? Does a school essay written years ago fill you with a sense of wonder even now? When you revisit your early attempts at art or craft, are you filled with happiness and a sense of disbelief? This is the very moment, so sought after by people from all walks of life. Some call it ‘spirituality’, some call it ‘consciousness’ and others describe it as ‘creative genius’ — an experience which connects the inner and outer worlds. While creativity is an innate quality, the creative spirit needs to be nurtured. It is one of the best gifts we could give to our children.
The ‘why’ that drives most parents crazy is probably the first sign of a child’s creativity, followed by the need to do things ‘my way’. To nurture this spirit would mean allowing the child the liberty to ask the ‘whys’ and giving her time and space to explore, discover and be original. First attempts are usually half-baked ones, often resulting in a ‘mess’. This does not imply indiscipline, for discipline is, in fact, a prerequisite for sustained creativity.
Creative children are not the easiest to handle and very often misunderstood. A lot of thought is required while placing limits on and giving freedom to gifted children. They are the inventors and innovators of the future. They will choose to be leaders, not followers.
Most parents don’t rank creativity very high. Academics are given more importance. But creativity is at the heart of innovation and invention. It is required in science, architecture and business. Creativity, when nurtured, becomes a way of life. A groove or a path is created to think differently. Creative people see life differently and because they know what it is to create, they wonder at all creation.
The seat of creativity is in the right brain, while analytical thinking involves the left brain. Research has shown that people who use their right brain are more balanced. They possess an ability to make better decisions. When faced with a problem, they find original solutions that reflect this inner balance. They are gifted with foresight and insight.
To be original one has to ‘visualise’ something new. It comes from contemplation in a few moments of silence. The child learns invaluable lessons in stillness and the experience of contentment born out of achieving something original, as compared to the current preoccupation of many children who turn to television to occupy their minds to relieve themselves of boredom. Creative people not only consume others’ ideas but are themselves ‘producers’ of new ideas. Passive consumption of any media would only serve to block innovative thinking.
It is a changing world we live in. The ability to come up with original ideas would mean the creative child is more adaptable to change. What may seem like ‘insurmountable difficulties’ to others will appear as a challenge to the creative child. In his book, The Origin of the Species, Charles Darwin writes, “It’s not the strongest of the species who survive, but the most responsive to change.”