What a Waste?
I have been hunting for ways to nurture creativity in my children, but hadn’t really found much. Then I stumbled upon Dave Werner’s now famous portfolio.
What intrigued me the most were the things that fueled his creative growth growing up. So rather than guess what those things might be, I asked him. Here’s a list of things Dave did or was free to do in his childhood that exercised his creative muscles (Thanks for sharing Dave):
- Exploring and drawing maps of the woods near our neighborhood, including secret bases and paths
- Drawing huge murals on butcher paper of imaginary worlds and characters
- Making fictional television guides with shows like “Lego” and “Dinnertime”…if we were ever bored, we would just look at what time it was and check out what the different imaginary channels were playing.
- Writing journals and stories in spiral notebooks
- Creating construction paper menus and taking drink orders whenever we had relatives come over for dinner
- Making short films with stuffed animals and action figures
- Starting a detective agency called Outlook, making secret codes and using walkie-talkies
- Having a full bookshelf, always reading
- Making radio shows or singing impromptu songs into our tape recorder
- Having massive treasure hunts outside with the neighborhood kids
Now, how many of us were able to do any of these types of things in elementary, middle, high school or even college? Probably none of us. That kid day dreaming out the window may be the next Dave Werner. Or the girl doodling all over notebooks the next _____. Most of these activities were labeled a waste of time by our teachers (and maybe parents?), but they are an essential part of exercising the imagination. Maybe what we need in school and life is 4 hours of “recess” and 2 hours of “classroom” time? i’ve talked about the power for creative Good that is held in our imaginations when we looked at C.S. Lewis’ work in the Narnia series. It is no coincidence that Lewis’ ideas for the entire series came his imaginary play during childhood.
So, what I’m going to try and do for my children (I have 5 under the age of 15) is encourage the very things that seem to me to be “childish”, and maybe in the process I’ll discover some part of my own imagination.