The Washington Times-Herald


November 23, 2013

Imagination and creativity - it's a brain thing

First, to avoid any controversy I need to open this month’s column by stating this is not a critique of the local school corporation. I have deep respect for those who chose to teach. I even spend a small amount of time annually assisting. Nonetheless, I have found some eye-opening information, which aligns with my thinking of how Scouting Matters. Allow me to explain.

We have all experienced how preschoolers are wildly creative. They can invent games on the spot, role-play countless personalities, color both inside and outside the lines and sometimes on the living-room walls. Then something happens: they go to school. They can learn at an astonishing pace until they run into a world that becomes linear and expository. As soon as day one, imagination and creativity begins to be replaced with rote learning and getting the right answer becomes the objective. The system focuses on getting kids to remember things and test scores with limited time left over for imagination and creativity. By the time they are teenager’s they are as much a part of the system as the lockers in the hallway. If we’re honest, we have observed this in ourselves and our children. I know I have.

However, if you look around you can detect the rest of the world has begun to move beyond this model. It’s not that we don’t need to teach our children math and to read and write, because if we didn’t things would be total chaos, but if you look at the current generation of young adults, the people who are really thriving are the creative and imaginative ones. Those coloring outside the lines.

It’s safe to say that a mandated and regulated educational system isn’t going away. Therefore, what can we do to enhance the quality of education of this and future generations? Well the good news is that every child is wired to be creative. Just remember those living-room walls. What parents have to do is simply unleash their kids’ natural creativity, to expose their child to different avenues for imaginative socialization and learning. By now, you have probably guessed what I’m thinking. That Scouting provides a sound foundation not only for expanded creativity but the opportunity for advanced parent-child interaction. Okay, let’s go with that and explore this line of thinking in a simple 3-step process. Tell me what you think after trying it?

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