Yesterday at school Nate got in trouble for trying to make a snow goon instead of the snowman craft the group was making. He was upset after school and told me he was just trying to be like Calvin (Calvin and Hobbs Attack of the Snow Goons is his favorite book right now). I told him that there is a time and place to express his creativity, and then a time and place where you just need to follow directions. This was difficult for me because I feel that too many things today lack creativity. I have always encouraged the kids to be creative and think outside the box. At the same time, there are times in life where you need to follow directions. So how do I teach my kids balance? I deep down believe that their creative thinking will take them far in life. Society likes to make a little box for everyone to fit in and I want them to think outside that box, without causing trouble.
Mom loves to tell the story of my brother Rob's first day of kindergarten. The teacher gave each of the kids a picture of a ladybug and told them to color it. Rob and another little boy (who became his BFF) refused to color the "lady" bugs and wanted to color boy bugs. Rob struggled all through school, but is now a teacher. (A very creative teacher by the way).
I hope that I can find a balance with the kids and they can understand when and where to use their creativity.