Whenever Cindy, one of my good friends wants to get under my skin, she says in a creepy, hushed tone “. . . techn-ol-o-gy. . ” That’s because she knows my concerns over how the world has changed at mach speed — so much so that tech and app firms have to fly by the seat of their pants to try and keep pace with the competition.
However, the least of my concerns is how well I keep up with technological change. What troubles me more is that children are growing up in a world where, if they so choose and their parents allow it, they can remain constantly “plugged in” through smart phones and tablets, leaving little time for creativity and imaginative play.
That’s why I was so pleased to come across this article written by blogger Amber Schultz: The Best Way To Encourage A Child’s Creativity | Myth Busting Mommy. In this excellent missive Schultz reminds us that at the very least, children need downtime, and quite frankly they need to experience a modicum of (are you ready for this?) BOREDOM, in order to tap into the creative well that’s in all of us. She cites a study in which many musicians, writers, and artists admit that boredom is part and parcel of the creative process.
Brenda Ueland, author of If You Want to Write, would enthusiastically concur. She warns us that inspiration does not burst out of the sky in a bolt of lightning, but rather through much mulling and ruminating, a process she refers to as “moodling.”
And, incidentally, “moodling” doesn’t necessarily only occur when you’re sitting alone in a quiet room. Charles Dickens walked the streets of London four hours a day, hashing and rehashing the plots and story lines of many of his classics, such as David Copperfield and Great Expectations. Julie Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, encourages writers and artists to go on (by themselves) weekly artist dates in order to refill the creative well. Although she wrote the book before smart phones were around, I’m sure she would suggest, strongly, to leave them at home or at the least turned off during these creative outings.
Although most certainly challenging, Schultz gives some sage advice on how to make sure your children have time to imagine, create, and yes, be bored.