You know that feeling when you think you’re completely alone and then it hits you…that eerie gut-knowledge that someone saw it. Oh yeah – that feeling where your stomach instantly knots up and adrenaline and shame shoots through your entire body.
Nothing is worse. The first time it happened was shortly after Roxanne and I were married; I’d say within a couple weeks. She was in the living room – I was in our bedroom closet supposedly hanging up clothes. I was certain she’d never find out.
And then, right as I reached for the hanger bar to hang up a shirt, she was right behind. She’d witnessed it all. There was no hiding it any longer. She walked in and I was caught in the act.
I was a closet… Elmo voice-over pretender! Dun, dun, dun!!!
“What the heck are you doing?” “Uh, nothing – hanging up my clothes. Aren’t you supposed to be making dinner?!” “Well I was until I heard you talking back here. Who are you talking to?” “Umm.. uh, no one. I was – you know – talking like Elmo while I hung my clothes. Don’t judge me!”
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When Creativity Lives in the Closet
The thing is, now I’m out of the “creative closet”. Almost everyone who knows me well knows I am extremely creative with voices and entertaining. It’s weird but true. Here’s the reason I share this story: is your child a closet creative?
Sure I was standing in a physical closet when I was found out to be a voice impersonator, but, I wonder how many of our children’s creativity is closeted simply because we do not see it. Or perhaps because we do not truly understand the nature of creativity. On that note – what is creativity?
Put very simply, creativity is the ability to make something purposeful out of something lacking purpose. Creativity applies to more than paintbrushes, actors or comedians. The way we define creativity will most definitely influence our ability to identify it in our children; and therefore our ability to enable them toward succeeding in their creative wirings.
Are you enabling or disabling your child’s creative genius? Is your child’s creativity closeted due to a lack of identifying where they’re gifted?
Enabling the Creative Bone in Your Kids – Empowering Your Creative Child
I’ve heard it before, “I’m just not that creative.” This is simply not true. Every person is creative. Each child has been intrinsically (and uniquely) gifted with a set of skills that when utilized properly create something. Sure art-minded people create art, but accountants are no less creative in how they crunch numbers or use their minds to navigate mathematical issues toward purpose.
For example, Daniel Bricklin and Bob Frankston co-created a software called VisiCalc which was an interactive visible calculator. This led to the eventual development of the program we know as Excel. Anyone who has used Excel knows how creative one can be in this software. Some people may write this type of invention off as nerdiness; “That’s not creative, that’s crr-aziness!” Call it what you will – it’s creative.
Every child is born with an intrinsic knack for creating. Some children may tend more toward creating organization for their toys while others might create imaginative scenarios in which there are numerous characters to act out and various roles to play. Creativity is required in both instances. A child’s creativity should not live or die by the parent’s definition of what may or may not be creative. Even if you see where your child is gifted and you don’t “understand it”… it’s your responsibility to fan that flame nonetheless.
Parents are not tasked with instilling creativity itself (since it already exists) – rather, we are given the opportunity to encourage and grow the already-instilled creativity within our children. It’s not about what we do or don’t think is creative, it’s about whether we enable or disable our child’s gift for creating, regardless of their arena for doing so.
Coming out of the Closet…of Creativity
Never – under any circumstances – make your child feel ridiculed or ashamed of how they have been wired for success and creativity. Our culture does a good enough job of defining success on their terms and valuing only certain types of creatives – we don’t need to join them.
Let your child be who they are. If they can turn a box of Legos into Lego wizardry, let them. Encourage this. Be interested in what interests them as this is the most consistent way they are empowered to succeed in their gifting. If they can process calculus problems like a mathematical Harry Potter, so be it.
As parents, we must put our children’s creativity front and center in their development as a person since this will massively impact their ability to find joy in what they spend their life creating for a paycheck. We must “I.I.E.” them.
I – IDENTIFY their gifts and tell them how proud you are of them for possessing such a wonderful gift.
I – INTEREST must be given through your actions, not just your words. Take time to watch them work.
E – EMPOWER them for success by cultivating opportunities for them to use and refine their creative genius.
They’ve been wired with creativity. Will you I.I.E? Will you cultivate it – or will we closet it?