Take a Step Back

How do you raise a creative child? Or, another way, how do you ensure that your child is raised in an environment that allows creativity to blossom, to flourish?

NYTimes has a few thoughts on that:

What holds them back is that they don’t learn to be original. They strive to earn the approval of their parents and the admiration of their teachers. But as they perform in Carnegie Hall and become chess champions, something unexpected happens: Practice makes perfect, but it doesn’t make new.

Adam Grant continues on:

Yes, parents encouraged their children to pursue excellence and success — but they also encouraged them to find “joy in work.” Their children had freedom to sort out their own values and discover their own interests. And that set them up to flourish as creative adults.

And how does this happen? The 10,000 hour “rule”? Perhaps… or perhaps not:

Evidence shows that creative contributions depend on the breadth, not just depth, of our knowledge and experience. In fashion, the most original collections come from directors who spend the most time working abroad. In science, winning a Nobel Prize is less about being a single-minded genius and more about being interested in many things.

I have liked the 10,000 hour rule in my thinking but perhaps I’ve been too narrow-minded. Perhaps I need to stretch my thinking about what makes creative people creative and how I can better approach my own children with their own creative needs.

Taking a step back as a parent means exerting less control over the very futures of our children’s lives, which is scary because we know that there are 1,000 different ways that they could go, a ton of them are not what anyone would consider “healthy” – but perhaps that’s only because we have considered the % chance of an unhealthy route too largely at the cost of shrinking the possibility of something much bigger, much better.

My own children, like my oldest, is occasionally crazier and we love that about her. I don’t want to put any cap on that.