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On Freeing a Child to Be Creative

Source |  |  BY:JOSHUA P. HILL

What Adam Grant says about the relationship between freedom and creativity is so true. But now I fear that the tiger moms and dads will decide that they can mass-produce creative children merely by cutting back on rules and letting their children follow their hearts. I would argue that the sources of creativity are deeper than that: Creative children tend to have creative parents who encourage and value creativity in their offspring.

And if a child does become creative, what then? Not everyone has the gifts or good fortune to achieve success in a creative field. How many bands actually hit the charts? How many novels become best sellers, or are even published? I have seen creative friends struggle for years to break into a field against astronomical odds; most ended up with day jobs.

The truth is, unless he’s one of a handful of stars, and often even then, the creative person will be punished for his creativity at every stage of his life. School rewards students for completing simple exercises according to schedule. At work, most of the profit and frequently the credit for art and invention accrue to others. Create something too sophisticated, and it won’t be understood. Create something uninspiring, and it will be condemned.


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