Upon the death of Steve Jobs, I repeatedly read in articles, blogs and tweets that creativity is integral across the board—regardless of the field in which a person works. That's the ideology: that innovation and progress depend on creative thinkers. What's the reality in our society, though? What skills does society value? Generally, is creativity valued as much as technical skill? When it comes to creativity, does reality match the ideology?
In my experience, many adults seem to be trying to learn—or relearn—the creativity that was a part of daily life throughout childhood. Childhood is all about creativity: playing make believe, drawing, coloring, painting, crafting, inventing games, building with blocks, telling stories, and on and on. When does this infusion of creativity dissipate? When do children begin to lean toward the concrete/technical and away from imagination and creativity?
And what can I do to help children hang on to that vital creativity?
Pondering this question, I have concluded that the most natural place to start is with my own children. Right now that means providing drawing materials to my almost-12-year-old to encourage her interest in sketching. It means, as much as is practical, allowing my daughter to plan her own birthday party. It means taking a comment like "school buses don't have rainbow windows" and revising it to "your bus's rainbow windows look colorful." It means meting out an extra ounce of patience to wait for my 8½-year-old to finish drawing colorful flowers along the bottom of her to-do list.