Have you ever watched children play and see their uninhibited exploration, discovery and inventiveness?
This weekend, while having dinner at a Japanese restaurant, I had the great pleasure of watching two young children sitting nearby doing just that. Taking one of the cloth napkins folded into a fancy, standing up shape the boy plopped it on his head announcing it was a hat. He modified it a few times, different hat- different role (artist, soldier, etc). The father, instead of chastising him, turned to the girl sitting next to him and asked what she thought of the napkin. For her, it was a dress and then an apron. Chopsticks soon became drumsticks with both children quietly, so as not to disturb others in the restaurant, tapping interesting patterns. This time the parents joined in, riffing off the children’s beat. What delighted me was seeing parents who encouraged this joy of discovery rather than telling them to stop because they were behaving unconventionally.
Your son marches to the beat of a different drummer, comma.
But don’t worry,
We’ll have him joining the parade by the end of the term.
The song then tells the story of a little boy who enjoys using all the colors he sees in his drawings but is told by teachers over time that:
Flowers are red young man
Green leaves are green
There’s no need to see flowers any other way
Than they way they always have been seen
No wonder some people describe socialization as a progressive reduction of our abilities through education and other cultural elements. After years of being taught that there is a “right” way and a “wrong” way to do things, many adults are afraid to act on their “unconventional” approaches or ideas. Maybe they’ll be laughed at, criticized, or treated as stupid (everyone KNOWS that won’t work).
Want to become more creative? Channel your inner, curious child. Ride on a merry-go-round, buy a coloring book and paint outside the lines, build a sand dog (did you think I’d say castle?), go to store and pretend you’re someone totally different from who you are, do something no “sensible” grown up would do. And let yourself enjoy the experience of playfulness. See what possibilities open up for you.