*NOTE: For more information about the reading and prompt that inspired this essay, please click here.
My family has a strong history of artists; my grandfather was an architect, my father is a graphic designer, and my younger siblings both turn to art as a means to express themselves. I enjoyed a childhood where art and creativity was encouraged and praised. Even in my elementary school, I was given opportunities to let my mind run free through an arts and crafts program the school developed. Not only were we allowed to get messy with craft supplies, but the parents were invested and involved in the program. I remember loving when my mom got to come to school with me and help facilitate the program with other parents. Although the program got cut when I got older, I felt that it was a crucial part of my childhood because we were guided to learn to enjoy the process of creating something new. Children have this extraordinary capacity of just letting go of any reservations and acting on their first instinct. As we get older, we are educated to stop and think before acting. Essentially we get “educated out of creativity” since we must analyze and reanalyze our every action and thought to ensure it is the “correct” one. We are so focused on the idea that there is only one right answer to a question, we fail to view analysis as a divergent process that allows us to explore other possibilities that haven’t been thought of before.
Therefore, although I grew up in a household that valued art and creativity, I never felt that I had the talent the rest of my family possessed and grew to be selfconscious about expressing my own creativity. Add to this my insecurity in an education system that focused heavily on math and science, I ended up pushing my own creative development aside to focus on succeeding academically. However, after attending college I started to realize that creativity is valued and can be found in all fields. It’s not just artistic creativity that can result from encouraging developing minds to think outside the box. Developing creative methods for new medical procedures, discovering new ways to improve teaching skills, inventing a new dish; all these ideas stem from creativity.As Sir Ken Robinson says, “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never be able to come up with anything original.”
Creativity should be encouraged in all fields and subjects. We need to challenge ourselves to break out of the mold, and focus on how we can push the limits to create something new. It takes courage to move away from a system that has been in place for so long, but the world needs to understand that creativity can be found everywhere. If we start by giving some freedom and fostering creativity in different fields, it will teach children that creativity is encouraged and necessary in all parts of life. For myself, I want to be a person who always encourages others to push the boundaries in order to find a solution that is effective yet innovative. Creativity and courage is the key to change, and I hope our future learns to better value a range of creativity abilities.
Post Submitted by Lauren