The GirEleCroc - or a lesson in creativity

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Posted by Dharm

When I was younger, so much younger than today,
I never needed anybody's help in any way.
But now these days are gone, I'm not so self assured,
Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors.

Oooops! Sorry. I didn't mean to start singing that good ol' Beatles song. However, once I started typing this post, the song just popped into my head. It kind of makes sense of what I was going to say anyway. Let's try again, shall we. From the top...

When I was young, life was full of rules. There was no room for 'artistic 'licence or creativity. Everything had to be as it was supposed to be. For example, I couldn't colour the sky purple in my colouring book. Skies are blue. If I wanted to colour my roses green, I was told they had to be red. Trees had to have green leaves and trunks of brown. And heaven forbid if I were to colour a rainbow with colours other than VIBGYOR, or in the wrong order! See, I even remember VIBGYOR from my childhood days - Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red!

I suppose that's why Louis Armstrong constantly reminds us in his deep, husky voice:

I see trees of green, red roses too....
I see skies of blue, clouds of white

Times change though and kids these days have so much more freedom. They are encouraged to 'think outside the box' and colour the roses any darned colour they want to. I guess it makes a lot of sense too because, nowadays, you have roses that are yellow, pink and even blue - although I understand the blue roses are artificially coloured by feeding them with blue coloured water.

Just because leaves on trees in Malaysia are usually green doesnt mean you don't have red leaves and other brightly coloured leaves in the rest of the world. Especially at Autumn, right?!

So when my daughter wants to colour Snow White's hair a revolting purple, I don't stop her. When my son wants to colour his dinosaurs in different shades of blue, red and yellow, I shake my head in acknowledgement when he proudly declares that no one has seen how dinosaurs really look so maybe they were multi-coloured. Yeah, and spotty and striped and two-toned too.

My son made this Lego animal when he had just turned 6. My first instinct was to make him conform and tell him that there couldn't possibly be such an animal.

I bit my tongue though and just asked him what animal it was. He rolled his eyes, looked at me in disbelief and said:
"It's a GirEleCroc Daddy. See? It's even got something to spray out and something to suck things up - like a robot."

He then proceeded to explain to me that it was a cross between a Giraffe, an Elephant and a Crocodile. He had also put a wing on top that enabled the animal to fly. He logically explained, that that meant there was some Dragon thrown in too.

I had come so close to stifling his creativity just because he had created something that was out of the ordinary. I took the opportunity to join in the fun and relive a bit of my own childhood. He broke out into a broad smile as I asked him more questions about what this marvelous animal could do and he took even greater delight in explaining everything to me.

Children have such an active imagination and to make them conform to what we think is right can be so limiting to their creativity. So the next time your child does something different, ask them what they are doing rather than correct them to suit our own perceptions. Let them break the rules. Sometimes you'll be surprised that they have a perfectly good reason why they've coloured the sky red or green. Perhaps its the sky of Jupiter, Venus or maybe Pluto...

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This Post was written by Dharm from Dad ~ Baker & Chef


what a refreshing post!!! society, especially where i grew up, is all about telling kids (especially girls) how they ought to do things. people feel threatened when kids grow into free-thinking adults.

bee said...
June 4, 2008 at 4:10:00 PM GMT+2  

Its a Lovely Post and so true.

Medhaa said...
June 4, 2008 at 6:43:00 PM GMT+2  

a lovely post indeed! And thank you for such lovely thoughts.

PG said...
June 5, 2008 at 10:02:00 PM GMT+2  

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