Creativity is when curiosity and imagination get together and something new comes out of it.
With our new (and still quite messy) podcast exploration into the meaning of creativity here at DRAWN TO DISCOVER, we are starting to see some common themes and patterns emerge. Two big themes are messiness and process.
Personally, this is not a concept I take to naturally so it’s interesting and fun to discuss it here. Learning about how important it is to allow children to be messy and to do many types of things with their hands has been an important reminder. Messiness allows for visual variability, an important tool for their developing brains. Allowing children to be messy in their play and in their learning is also important because it encourages risk taking; it minimizes the fear of failure. Indeed, embracing messy experiences frees children to think beyond our normal, and often artificial, constructs. Messiness encourages imagination. Without the fear of being wrong or the pressure to do it perfectly, learning is allowed to be fun. Dr. James emphasized this repeatedly in her interview and Angie Keiser illustrated it perfectly with her story about putting a dress made from a dishtowel and elastic head band on her daughter. In turn, this freedom will actually help the child better master important skills better than if we pressured them in a “drill and kill” mentality pushing them to do it perfectly each time.
The importance of the process of creating over the product of creation is directly interwoven with the concept of messiness. When you focus on the process more than the product, you are ok with things being messy. They don’t have to be perfect (a quick aside: I wish I could incorporate this concept more into my life). When we focus on the process we allow for more enjoyment and allow for more discovery. As Angie defined it creativity is when “curiosity and imagination get together and something new comes out of it.” This emphasis on process also allows for greater joy because the focus is more on the present moment. Additionally, enjoying the messy process can also help children embrace the difficulty that they often encounter when creating. As adults and parents we can help support and nurture them during these struggles by offering encouragement and emotional support, but not necessarily by fixing it for them.