Convergence, 1952, by Jackson Pollock, jackson-pollock.org

Okay. Lets be honest. Some-most-all women have dreamed that one day their child might change the world. Cure cancer. Eradicate world hunger. Win a Nobel Peace Prize. Marry Prince George or Princess Charlotte…

But, according to this The New York Times piece, directing your children towards solely focusing on scholastic achievements isn’t necessarily the way to go. Turns out, encouraging creative, independent thinking in your children is equally essential. And even more essential in furthering already talented kids who might not be exposed to free-thinking while on their road to the top of the class.

This thought-provoking story by Adam Grant, How to Raise a Creative Child. Step One: Back Off, explores the reasons gifted children who start their lives at the top of their class, top of their school, top of their country, don’t often go on to be “revolutionary adult creators”. What’s holding these kids back? Creativity.

Read the full story here: How to Raise a Creative Child. Step One: Back Off.

A few bits from the story here….

Being a genius doesn’t mean you’re socially inept…

Child prodigies rarely become adult geniuses who change the world. We assume that they must lack the social and emotional skills to function in society. When you look at the evidence, though, this explanation doesn’t suffice.

Absorbing and retaining information isn’t necessarily a path to brilliance…

The gifted learn to play magnificent Mozart melodies, but rarely compose their own original scores. They focus their energy on consuming existing scientific knowledge, not producing new insights. They conform to codified rules, rather than inventing their own.

Okay, we get it. We need a creative spark. So… how?

One study compared the families of children who were rated among the most creative 5 percent in their school system with those who were not unusually creative. The parents of ordinary children had an average of six rules, like specific schedules for homework and bedtime. Parents of highly creative children had an average of fewer than one rule.

As simple as it sounds, it comes down to enjoyment…

Yes, parents encouraged their children to pursue excellence and success — but they also encouraged them to find “joy in work.” Their children had freedom to sort out their own values and discover their own interests. And that set them up to flourish as creative adults.