Balance – it’s the key to everything in life. There’s also a balance between creativity and practical implementation, the balance between having the confidence to take a creative step and the patience required to understand the systems and resources are needed to make it a success. We often look to kids’ creativity, fearlessness and uninhibited thinking for solutions. But are they the answer?
Workshop observations of adults and children
Delivering workshops to children and adults certainly opened up my eyes to how each group learns so differently. The adults listen to the facilitator and follow instructions; kids tend to listen less and do their own thing. Which is correct?
Well - kind of both. I love watching the kids have an innate confidence in themselves regardless of their abilities (parents and caregivers will know what I mean here 😊). Sometimes, I would like adults (including myself) to have more confidence in ourselves to do something out of the ordinary. A greater willingness to take a risk regardless of what other people may think.
Perception versus reality
I once heard that kids who think they are good at maths, regardless of their actual ability, do better academically in the long run. So, it would seem is that others impose their subjective views rather than objective opinions on us from an early age that mark a pathway for what we think we are good at.
It cracks me up when we make a beautiful upcycled example of what the kids are going to make in class, and we try to teach them the steps. Adults would listen attentively to this, but kids just ignore instructions and start to make it by themselves.
It’s obvious that kids look at a finished object and either want to do themselves without step by step instructions or don’t want to make the thing at all and just want to do their own thing. They are more than happy to experiment and create freely.
A parental view
As a parent, this can drive me a little crazy, as they often make a mess and have a lack of scientific/logical understanding of the process of making and assembling parts together. But what I love is that they have an innate confidence and willingness to try anything despite what others have to say.
What I find even more hilarious, is their sheer joy and pride over what they have made regardless of what it looks like, and generally to the adult eye, it’s not that great!
How wonderful it is that kids can create and love something that the world would quickly reject. This makes me curious about how each kid sees the world and how their views change by the time we reach adulthood.
The need for some logic, understanding & patience
As a parent observing my kid’s everyday activities, I understand that they need to learn some realities of life. Things like resilience, patience, logic, consequences etc, etc. However, somewhere on the journey to understanding these things, we lose our ability to sometimes think outside of the box or to look at life with without being influenced by those who have shaped our opinions and thoughts.
As I have said, this blog is about balance. Kids do need to learn skills that will help them survive in the big, bad world – but what are the best skills to teach while maintaining creative curiosity?
The Joneses mentality
I’m going to take this a step further and look at how we purchase, decorate our houses and style ourselves – the things we have learned to WANT. This is certainly a trait learned from parents and friends. When I look at how society is pushing us towards great materialism, nicer, bigger houses/car/ more clothes etc – I wonder where the line of conformity is crossed between kids and adults.
I look at my own kids, who have no sense of style or know how to match their tops and bottoms. Daily, I try to impress upon them to put their things and clothes away neatly or dress in a somewhat matching way. But running these classes has also made me wonder where that line is, between not caring what something looks like and the need to have a bed full of 10 plumped up matching cushions and curtains that would be the envy of everyone on the street. We know of kids who want Nike shoes because they think it’s a way to look cool.
Let’s just continue to question ourselves?
I am a traveller (a bad environmental trait) but what I have learned from my travels is to question everything I was raised with – my values, my spirituality, my sense of family and friends. I look back and question the things that were shoved into my head from a young age, then look at the people around the world, get a glimpse of what has been shoved in their heads, and think about it rationally.
Where is the balance between what a child will do instinctively that is good? What needs to be taught for survival in society? and How do we care less about materialism and more about being playful and creative?
Maybe finding a balance will help us produce the answers needed to save and protect our planet - home.