‘Too many people think creativity is exclusive to the arts and don’t understand that creativity is about a way of thinking and seeing’
‘I’m not creative – I don’t know where they get their creativity from!’ I’ve heard this sentence uttered far too many times from fantastic and highly creative adults – many of them parents. We are all creative! We have natural characteristics that help us think creatively, and the challenge is to continue to develop and nurture these natural characteristics as we grow. As parents one of the ways we can support this effort is by developing a better understanding of creativity and challenging some of the misconceptions that exist within society. In this 3 Question Interview, Jane Harvey who recently co-authored a book called ‘Creativity for Everybody’ will challenge this misconception and explain how creative thinking expands far beyond the arts.
What do you consider to be some of the greatest myths about creativity?
Myth: Some people are born creative and some are not. I would prefer to say that it varies in how people find their way into (or out of) creativity.
Myth: Creative people are the odd weirdo-types. Yeah, thanks.
Myth: Too many people think creativity is exclusive to the arts and don’t understand that creativity is about a way of thinking and seeing. I have heard from parents “you can either choose a career that will earn money, or you can choose the arts and not make money”. Why is it either/or? Why can’t the arts be integrated into everything, so our brains get play time and freedom of expression for the full benefit for learning?
What advice do you have for parents who what to cultivate creative thinking skills at home?
Encourage multiple perspectives of a situation. Not everyone thinks the same or sees the same. Have your children get into a habit of considering different views and then talk about it. To build fluency and flexibility for creative thinking, kids need to try out alternatives. There is no one right answer, but we all get caught up in the mindset of efficiency and immediacy. Have your children think beyond a fast answer, and play along yourself. Reward imagination, curiosity, and deep thought.
What are some of the creative characteristics that you’ve seen in your children and how have you tried to nurture these skills at home?
I don’t see myself as intentionally nurturing creative skills in my daughters (age 17 identical twins). I encourage them to think for themselves and honor their need for freedom to play and think and explore. I support their interests and strongly believe in variety and diversity and making ‘newness’ available to them. I am accessible when they have questions. Teenagers are a different kind of creature. I don’t have the same influence or access as when they were younger, so it’s hard to take credit for their creative characters now. They both have a great sense of humor and clever wit, are perceptive and intense. Deep thinkers, curious, thorough, they do have artistic sides. I mostly try to fan the flames of their creativity and just get out of the way!
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Jane Harvey is a freelance designer, graphic recorder, artist, and creativity consultant. She is valued for her openness, empathy, and humor, and skills in simplifying and designing content. She earned a Master of Science degree in Creativity, Creative Problem Solving, and Change Leadership from the Center for Studies in Creativity at SUNY Buffalo State, and has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Parsons School of Design.
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