"Every child is an artist.
The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."
- Pablo Picasso
Watching the video below could not have come at a better time for me. This week I am quite busy preparing for Audrey's birthday party and the theme that we've come up with encourages kids to practice their creativity. I for one believe in encouraging a child's natural talents and abilities - their God-given gift that is unique to them. I love discovering what Audrey is good at, interested in and what she can do out of these skills.
This video talks about how school can sometimes hinder these natural inclinations to learning and creating, or expressing one's talents - because of the set standards that students feel they need to follow.
I remember my own experience in school and how I sometimes felt limited, or different. In our freshman class in college we were asked to think of a concept for a house and translate it into a drawing. I didn't think of doing the usual box with a triangular roof, square windows and rectangular doors. Instead I thought of my favorite musical instrument as a concept - the piano. So my house didn't have a lot of corners, but had curves. I didn't have a pitched roof, but a flat one with an overhang. And it was just black and white. After submitting my work I saw some of my classmates' drawings on the way back to my seat. I saw rectangles, triangles, squares, and some arches. Most of them drew structures that I've already seen. And I suddenly felt that I may have done something wrong. I just hoped I would be given a good grade for thinking of something unusual.
Well, my drawing came back with a grade I was happy with but with no encouraging comments (like "very creative" maybe? haha!). I felt then that maybe I should just play it safe - draw structures that looked like every other structure that already existed. And I'm pretty sure I'm not the only architecture student who has felt this way at some point. It would have been great though if our teachers then pushed us to break free from the norm and design without thinking of boundaries.
So with my own kids, I am open to encouraging creativity. When I noticed that Audrey was fond of building towers with things (blocks, canned goods, milk bottles, markers, you name it) - I didn't tell her how she should stack them up. I let her figure out how she can balance them, even if she did it in a way that would seem odd to an adult. Well, the important thing is that it would work and not topple over. I can already see her building buildings that are interesting and unique.
As for me, I still try to design out of the box when an opportunity arises (with clients who like to experiment!). Sometimes I'm told that this and that might not work because they haven't done it before. But since I'm the designer and I draw up the details, I say let's try it :)
This talk by Sir Ken Robinson is really interesting and eye-opening - not to mention entertaining. So glad I was able to watch it (even though this talk actually happened years ago already).
Thanks Patty for retweeting the link to this video so the rest of us could watch it :)