What do you think is the core of education?
Education is designed to prepare our kids for the future.
Yet, in a world where artificial intelligence, Google glasses, and flying cars are more real than ever, it is hard to actually prepare our kids for anything.
No one knows what our future will look like. No one knows what kind of challenges we will have to face within the next ten, twenty, or even one hundred years.
The best strategy to prepare our children for the unknown is to simply encourage them to be and stay creative kids.
As Pablo Picasso has so eloquently put it:
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.
The Sad Story Of Being A Good Citizen
The number one tool for problem-solving is creative outside the box thinking.
Yet, instead of growing from creative kids into creative thinking adults, we grow out of it.
Even worse, we get educated out of our creativity.
Most educational systems were designed before the 19th century and back in those times, our future was industrialism.
No wonder our main focus in education was reproducing information, staying within certain parameters and increasing the economic growth.
Kids were educated to become knowledgeable encyclopedias and thus “good” citizens.
Good citizens were the ones who wouldn’t wonder, who wouldn’t ask questions and who wouldn’t think beyond the horizon.
What the system wanted was non-thinking employes that would obey the rules and not ask questions.
Creative kids couldn’t contribute to collective prosperity because no one ever acknowledged their innovative way of thinking.
Even worse, more often than not creative kids were stigmatized with learning disabilities.
Then we “found out” about ADHD, and every kid who couldn’t sit still for more than 5 minutes was diagnosed with hyperactivity disorder.
We often think our life becomes easier once we label our kids.
But what happens if we take this label away and instead search for different kinds of intelligence?
Why Schools Kill Creativity
We have seven different learning styles.
The most common ones are visual, auditory, logical and kinesthetic learners.
No matter which kind of learner a kid is, they are all geniuses once they start using their specific gift.
Unfortunately, schools put more emphasis on the left hemisphere of our brain, the side that is responsible for logical thinking, science, math, language, and analytical processing.
But why are math and literacy claimed to be more important than the arts?
We have an entire other half of our brain filled with the abilities of creativity, intuition, innovation, and insight.
And believe it or not, our ability to access this other half of our intellect is actually rather simple.
The most common and easy tool to access these parts of the brain is by using different art forms such as fine arts, music, dance, and drama.
If kids are talented in one of these areas it’s most likely that parents and teachers will notice a child’s gift.
But as adults, we don’t give enough attention to these gifts because we are all injected with the belief that the arts are an unprofitable waste of time.
Why You Don’t Have To Copy Pablo Picasso To Be Creative
First of all, if we are to talk about creative kids, we can’t only talk about the artistically talented kids.
We’ll talk about kids who know how to unleash their full potential and use their brain to create something extraordinary out of the ordinary.
And secondly, we need to step away from the idea that an academic degree will ensure professional success.
Right now, we are suffering from inflation of academic kids.
The recent high school graduates enrolling in college rose from 49% in 1980 to 69% today.
Bachelor degrees have become only another box to check, and with no guarantee for financial security.
Suddenly creative kids are the only ones who know how to adapt to the situation and create new jobs for themselves.
They will be the ones who know how to break conventions and reshape their environment.
The ones who will be left behind will be the ones living in their heads, not knowing how to be flexible or how to get their message out into the world.
Creativity is the key to the future
Creativity belongs to each human being and is not a magical gift that belongs to a minority.
It is a thinking method that reshapes what already exists.
Creativity channels feelings and is a way of communication.
Creativity is what helps to create and share visions.
How do you think people reacted when Tesla announced the idea of flying cars?
When we encourage creative thinking we play with the space in the brain that exists between input and output.
We see something and instead of being lazy and giving in to the brain’s automated response, we start thinking “what would happen if?” – “What else could this be?” – “What could this be turned into?” – “Why?” – etc.
Elon Musk once thought, “what happens if we combine cars and airplanes?”, and resultantly created a global future vision with his idea.
Questioning why a shoe is a shoe and even how a shoe can become a boat, a flower vase, or a piece of art — is an essential way of thinking in the human species.
Without creativity, cavemen would have never evolved into space explorers.
Yet, once the primal need for survival was gone, humans somehow became lazy and started to avoid unconventional thinking.
From Couch Potato To Superhero
However, if we nurture children to be creative kids, we contribute to the world.
We raise conscious visionaries who are able to get off the lazy path of just memorizing and reproducing information.
These future visionaries will be able to think flexibly when faced with global problems such as climate change and major irreversible diseases.
Think about a world where robots and artificial intelligence have taken over.
Why would we need more Jimmy Neutrons if every robot can think quicker than every human being? According to a report by McKinsey Global Institute, up to 800 million global workers will lose their jobs by 2039 and be replaced by robotic automation.
What do you think will happen by 2050, 60 or 70?
It’s a fair guess to say that soon enough 90% of our current jobs could be operated by machines.
But one thing we can’t implement into any robot is consciousness and creativity.
The real change-makers will be the ones who are able to use their imagination to improve our reality.
Everything you can imagine is real.
— Pablo Picasso
The #1 Creativity Killer
Yet, even if we encourage children to think big and come up with new ideas, most of them don’t dare to go beyond what they already know.
The unknown is scary because the unknown is unpredictable.
When something is unpredictable we have to prepare to be wrong.
But who prepares us for failing?
Don’t we get judged based on our achievements and our success stories?
No one likes the awful feeling of failure, and it’s not because of the failure itself but because of the thought that’s indoctrinated into our brains.
We are taught that failure is in someway something bad.
It’s time to rewire our brains as teachers and mentors and pass this knowledge to our kids because most success stories actually arise from failure.
Did you know that:
- PayPal was launched in 1998 and that back then, the internet wasn’t trustworthy enough to rely on for your finances. It took years until people trusted Paypal enough to handle their financial transactions.
- When Instagram was founded in 2010 no one believed the social media knockoff could compete with the popularity Facebook already had. Nowadays Instagram holds 800 million active monthly users.
- Oprah Winfrey was fired from her job as an anchor at a local television station because she was “unfit for television”. Eventually, she got her own talk show and became one of the most famous people in history.
Toolbox For Superheroes
The examples above shows us that we need to trust ourselves and stop hiding in a corner after someone tells us we are wrong or not good enough.
Sometimes society is not ready for our great ideas — often creative kids understand this principle long before adults do.
In a TEDx Talk, Ken Robinson shares the famous example of a little girl who was drawing a picture of God.
Her teacher comes to her and asks, “What are you drawing?”
She says – “I am drawing God”.
Teacher says – “… but nobody knows what God looks like.”
The girl says – “They will, in a minute”.
Why do we all know the expression “to think outside the box” but barely anyone knows how to actually do so?
The example of the girl who draws God is only one of many proofs that children intuitively know how to bring their imagination into reality.
Yet, instead of creative kids who like to explore the world with curiosity, we are facing a generation of kids who fear failure, kids who are scared of the unknown, and kids who can only operate within clearly defined guidelines.
The number one key to unleash creativity is no fear of failure.
Kids need a safe space where they are allowed to be wrong.
We need to create an environment where creative kids can express themselves freely and without any filters.
We have to encourage our offspring to wonder again.
Imagination is the seed of innovation.
We should keep Santa, Peter Pan, and Alice alive as long as we can.
The more magic children experience in their lives the more they are triggered to wonder.
They will be able to look beyond the obvious and may even bend reality.
Mindvalley’s Evolved Education Program
Mindvalley acknowledges the power of creative kids.
Mindvalley believes that kids and teens are the future of the world, they are the future generation and the earlier you introduce holistic learning in their lives, the better.
— Miriam Gubovičová, Director of Programming for Mindvalley Events
That’s why each year Mindvalley holds a 3 weeks event where they offer an evolved education program for kids and adults to build a new global model for better education.
Check out Mindvalley University and please, join us next year in Amsterdam.
Let us know what you think and share your thoughts on creative kids and education around this topic in the comment section below!