Wednesday, March 02, 2011

How do we generate creativity in kids?

In Sunday school we talked about a study Mark Batterson referenced in his book In a Pit... It focuses on divergent thinking and showed that 98% of children between the ages of 3-5  score in the genius category, 32% of children between the ages of 8-10 score at the genius level, 10% of teenagers, and 2% of those over 25. And yet our God is a divergent thinker. Just look at the Bible to see a host of examples where He did things or told people to do things that weren't...normal. Naaman, go dip in the Jordan seven times. Joshua, march around Jericho seven times. Donkey, go talk to Balaam. Etc.

So as a homeschooling mom, it has me thinking. What can I do to help my children keep that divergent way of thinking? Why would I care? Because I want them to be willing to do anything God asks. I want them to be able to look at problems from a different perspective because they aren't limited.

I guess I want more for my kids. I want them to be willing to do things that seem foolish -- if God asks them to do them.

In the same chapter he talks about another author who had a common experience when he went into schools. He'd ask kids who were the artists in the class. In first grade it was all the kids, yet by sixth grade it was only one or two self-conscious kids.

Now I don't want to force my kids to be artists. But we were created by the ultimate Artist. And I want them to feel the freedom to create.

So how do I do that? Again as a homeschool mom and in general. To the left is a painting my oldest daughter painted when she was 8. She was actually commissioned by a friend to paint a similar painting of their dog after my friend saw this one. Will my daughter by the next Monet? Um, doubt it. But she's learning to be creative and use what skill God has given her.

I don't want her to lose that. I want her to love to create so much that she sets her alarm for 6:30 a.m. so she can create a new bracelet to go to church. I want my son to be forever constructing random Lego masterpieces because it's a way he reflects creativity.

What about you? How do you foster creativity and divergent thinking in your kids?

1 comment:

Timothy Fish said...

To look at it from the negative side, I think one of the biggest restraints on creativity is the idea that there is only one right answer. Also, the lack of respect for people who disagree with a point of view hinders creativity. Obviously, there are some things that do have only one right answer, but in working with kids I've found that they often hold firm to the belief that whatever their parents say is right is the only answer. To encourage creativity, a parent should encourage kids to look for other answers as well.


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