Sunday, July 13, 2008


Creativity and Children

Ginger Carlson, MA Ed.

Grasping Wonder with Slippery Fingers

Do you know that feeling when you are in the shower and you reach down to pick up the soap, and it just slips out of your fingers? So you
try again, this time using both hands, and plop!...there goes the soap
flying across the shower floor. And on and on, until finally you
grasp the little sucker with your finger nails so it can?t get away.
It will do its job for you. When it is done doing its job, and only
then, will it be able slip back into its comfortable nook on the
shower wall, only to slide off again at your feet, at which point you
just leave it there, sitting over the grate letting the rest of your
shower water begin to assist in its slow disintegration. You sigh and
just let it be. After all, it did what you asked it to do, and you are
clean now, so there is no need to go through that whole rigmarole again.

As adults, we often go through our own processes trying to hold onto
our own individual creative soaps. We are searching for our voice,
learning to create again, or developing a particular style with art,
cooking, music, or any number of ways we wish to express ourselves.
Oftentimes, we are working to take off layers of upbringing, possibly
even addictions or other roads that may have lead us astray from our
creative paths. We do it because creativity and being able to
uniquely express ourselves is our birthright, but it is often hard
work. So how do we rear thoughtful creative children, the kind of
children who grow up to be thoughtful creative adults, who are somehow able to continue to nimbly grasp their own true creative, yet
slippery, wonder?

Luckily, there?s more than one way to do so, and this little journey
we call parenting is as unique as our kids are. Still, if we can
release for a moment the urge to control; if we can allow true
expression; if we can honor the creative impulses that arise, and do
so early and often, then we encourage the creative life we want and
strive for ourselves.

So it is later in the afternoon and you walk into the bathroom. The
shower curtain is still pulled back and you see that the soap is still
guarding the grate, just as you left it. You reach down again and
easily pluck the soap up and place it back on the shelf. It stays
put. A second later your out-loud, expressive, energetic, creative
kid goes running down the hallway dressed as the super-human master of the underworld, flaming red scarves trailing behind. The energy
settles on your whole being, and you smile, because maybe, just maybe, when he grows up he won?t have such a hard time holding onto his soap.


Ginger Carlson, MA Ed, is a speaker, education consultant, and the
author of Child of Wonder: Nurturing Creative and Naturally Curious
Children (Common Ground Press 2008). She leads creativity-building
workshops throughout the US for parents and educators. Please visit
her at to learn more, see her blogs about living creatively and cooking with children, or sign up for
Wonderwise, her free newsletter.

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