I get so bored with standard thinking parroted as Truth. For instance, I’ve heard forever that children are so much more creative than older people. So when I took my five-year-old niece to a gingerbread house decorating party one year, I stood back to watch all the young kids create with the candies and other doodads available to decorate their own gingerbread house.
Didn’t happen. The little types looked to us adults. “What should I do?” some asked. “How do I put these things on?” asked others. In the end, the results were. . .unimpressive. There was no creativity, no spontaneity, no imaginative results. The houses that made it through the process were, shall we say, banal?
What passes for creativity in young children is actually ignorance sometimes converted, for the traditionalists and with parental indulgence, into “a fresh look.” Actually, the kids don’t have much information or experience to draw from so they do the best they can. That’s why tree trunks are brown and straight with a green ball on top. Somewhere they’ve been told that tree trunks are brown and leaves are green. They don’t have sharp observation skills, so girls are drawn with a pillar on each side of the face representing hair. I could go on.
If you want true creativity, you have to go to the olders, sometimes the older the better. Older people with imagination, sharp observation skills and a wealth of information and experience to draw from. With these older people, you can get original, creative expressions in art and literature.
They’ll look at a tree and see the individual tree with its rutted bark in shades of gray, perhaps, and individual leaves in shapes that differ according to species. Older people know that hair grows around the head, not just on the sides, and can be groomed in a huge variety of ways.
Older people with imagination and skill will beat the pants off the most creative child with the freshest of looks.