Nourish your child’s creativity

2012-03-08 00:00

“CREATIVITY is a natural extension of our enthusiasm” — Earl Nightingale.

Whether we wish to acknowledge it or not, the heart of humanity is the ability and desire to create. People are born to reproduce and create what is within their hearts. If the heart is filled with joy or pain, fear or anticipation it’s through the ability to create that one is able to express what lies deep within in such a way that the world outside is able to share it with us too.

From the toddler who squishes some play dough into a rough bird’s nest to the next Vincent van Gogh, every human carries within him or her the need to be creative. So often as parents we spend our time, money and effort directing our children to their academic studies and sports, and leave little room for them to develop their creative being. Subjects such as art, music, drama and dance are viewed as luxuries, frivolous add-ones. When in fact these are the core of one’s being. If children are able to develop the skill in a creative area they will often be able to focus more on their academic work as they have a way to pour out what is bottled up within them.

Somewhere along the line we began to rank and rate creativity. It became boxed and structured, stating that only certain forms and methods were the correct means of creativity. We, therefore, tend to shun and pull away from creative forms that we are not fully proficient in. “Oh, I can’t sing”, or “Don’t ask me to draw”, are comments that we hear more frequently from adults than we do from a five-year-old.

Why have we become so hampered? We are much more capable than a preschooler and yet we are inhibited by an irrational fear of not being able to create well enough. But well enough for who?

Unless we are performing to an audience who has paid a great deal to see a master performer, we are all pretty much on the same ground. We are simply creating for the joy of the creation, not necessarily to compare the final product with that of an expert.

Without the freedom, the time and confidence to create we are building a nation upon the fallacy that creativity is of no value and that a strong nation is built upon the mind and physical strength alone. However, it’s not the functional policies and documents or the number of battles won that build a nation, it’s the creative, passion within its people. It’s the poets writing to encourage young men to a battle, the journalist at the scene creating the image of horror or exuberance within the mind of the reader, it’s the cartoonist capturing a pivotal moment, the solo violinist who holds a single note at the perfect moment, the activist’s voice of passion drawing the people together, the protesters’ placards, the child’s sand castles upon the beach and granny’s chocolate cookies that build a nation.

Throughout history, moments in time have been remembered and captured with a pen, a shout, songs, the paintbrush, musical chords, a photograph or legendary tales handed down by word of mouth from generation to generation.

There is no doubt about it: creativity pumps within our blood and beats within our hearts. But what are we doing to foster this need in the life of not only our children but our lives too?

• Joanne Madgwick is a parenting and educational consultant. Find out more about her at


• To discover more about creativity and how it links to education, please join us at the next Beyond the Box café evening hosted by Joanne Madgwick on March 12 at 6.30 pm in Hilton. Our guest speaker is well-known local artist Sheryl Thornton-Dibb who will be speaking on how the visual arts can be the key to understanding. For more information, e-mail

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