Why is it that children are more creative than adults? Does creativity fade away as you age? Sudha Subramanian has the answers
“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up!”
— Pablo Picasso
A common misconception is that creativity is only for the rare artist. Our films glorify this thought too. So I asked around, if anyone had seen shapes in the clouds or a mirage on a wet surface. Most people had — in their childhood. Psychologists all over the world believe every person is born creative, curious and imaginative.
So what is creativity? Rudra Mahadev, 8, from Dubai, believes that, “Creativity is the ability of a person to create something that he/she can imagine and which is not there before!” In which case, can something escape from the realms of our thoughts and become a reality? “Yes,” says Nikita Pramod, a nine-year-old with sparkling eyes. “I like to imagine,” she tells me, “and draw it on paper or write about it.”
Why are children so creative? Children are naturally curious and are independent thinkers. Meet the Krishnan brothers — Siddhanth and Om, aged 4 and 2 . They are more than a handful for the parents when the two play with play dough. Sometimes, the brothers enact the stories they know. They clamber up the cot and imagine themselves on top of a tree!
Experts have concluded that we lose our creative conscious as we grow up. Unlike what most people think, the decline happens early. I asked the 8 and 9 year old(s)– if they can imagine their bed to be a tree top? “Not so easily,” they said, “It would take time!”
As we grow and begin to follow the rules set by society, our creative instincts start to dwindle. Schooling further stunts it by instilling ideas and teaching us that there is only one answer to every problem. And this is not all. Take a look around you, there are many things that stunt our original ideas.
– Media: Cartoons, movies and pictures hardly leave anything to the imagination. It hinders imagination in terms of originality.
– Toys: There is a toy for anything that can be imagined, leaving no scope for the child to play “pretend.”
– Lack of confidence: To be original takes a certain amount of self belief. Before the golden era of Disney, there was Gertie, the Dinosaur, that probably inspired cartoonists.
The first of the animated cartoons, this was conceived by Windsor McCay. If in 1914, McCay had doubted himself, I wonder, what our cartoon world would be like today.
-Fear of being judged: Is probably the primary reason why people hesitate to display their creative best. Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert once said, “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”
– Too much information: Takes away our children’s independent thinking
– Limiting our imagination: With the media and Internet invading our lives, originality seems non-existent
If there are so many impediments for being creative, then what can we do to get the better of our creative soul?
Some of the most creative ideas come when we are stuck and there is no way out. It is important to believe in ourselves and open the flood gates of imagination. Like George Bernard Shaw says, “Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you WILL what you imagine, and at last you CREATE what you will.”
The fear of failure often stops the creative flow. It is okay to be scared but, we should move on relentlessly. Creativity requires persistence. The more you use, the more you have.
Creativity for everyone
Creativity serves as a means for our soul to express our thoughts, feelings and emotions. They help us analyse our problems. This increases the activity of the brain and thus enhances our brain power.
The best way to nurture creativity in children is through games. Here’s why:
nPlaying pretend games is the best and the easiest way to encourage one’s imagination to run wild
– Making up games of our own and playing it with our rules.
– Play the detective and investigate. Hide a treat and place clues around the house to find it
– Make up stories or play story building. Each person is given a chance to make up one line of the story and then, the next person will have to continue the story by adding another line. The game is popularly called Snowballing!
– Make up a secret coded language.
So, come on. Let us open up our minds and dare to be creative!