Today I was wondering about the future of creativity. I'm not a teacher at a school, so I'm not in the trenches every day seeing what kids are learning and maybe more importantly how they're learning. I do have teacher friends, however, and they seem to be conveying the message that most kids are incapable of paying attention anymore. Since a lot of creativity has to do with patience and the "tiny brushstrokes" that turn a good work into a great work, this worries me a bit.
It's easy to assume that kids today are going through the same issues we had when we were growing up. I would imagine if your attention was diverted by the bells and whistles of iPhones, laptops and Twitter feeds, you'd be a little distracted to. I certainly would have been. These kids are getting stimulated from a ton of different angles, but are they getting stimulated creatively? If not, it's probably time to figure out how to make creativity and imagination even better than these new-fangled bells and whistles. We also need to assert the importance of quiet time in which we can't touch said attention-sucking devices.
I think that the future of creativity has to do with how well the older generations nurture it for the ones coming up into the world. We need to remind kids about books and paper. We need to show them how to paint on a canvas and how to mold clay with their hands. We need to teach them to sing songs and dance, not just to post on YouTube but just for the hell of it. So much attention is being given to staying connected with everyone and homogenizing that we're not pushing uniqueness and individuality enough. Kids love to do what they see their parents doing all the time. If they see you on a cell phone texting away 24/7, you may be sending the wrong message to your kids. One that gives them a form of ADHD that keeps them from learning the more imaginative aspects of life.
Ask your kids questions about their dreams and have them paint vivid pictures with their words. Get them writing with a pencil and paper using writing prompts and story starters. Take them out to a cabin for a week or two without electricity or cell phone reception and have them create something. The future of creativity is in our children, but the future of creativity truly depends on how we show our kids how wonderful the imagination can be.