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How to keep the silver shining – Helping children think creatively


sridhar creative-spark-760x430I recently visited one of my former colleagues’ home. Her flat was impeccably maintained.

As it happened when I arrived at her place, she was out and was on her way back.

Her maid let me in. She and another young girl were busy polishing all the silver items in the showcase.

“How often do you polish them?” I asked.

“Once in a week.” The senior lady answered.

“Do you do it regularly?”

“Yes, otherwise the silver will lose its shine.”

“But why do you take so much trouble?”

“Because Madam feels that this is the way all silver items should look.”

“And you must be having so many other things to do…”

“Yes, but this is important because these are gifts that madam got when she was a child. Some of these belong to her mother, some to her grandmother.”

“Suppose you miss polishing these for a couple of weeks. What will happen?”

“Then all the silver will look dull… ”

This conversation reminded me of a conversation I had with a parent.

“How do I help my daughter retain her creativity? Her schoolwork is demanding, and she hardly gets any time?”

“What do you mean by creativity?”

“Thinking differently, doing things differently…”

“What do you do when you are bored with your routines?”

“I try something different..”

“Give me an example.”

“Planning a menu for every meal is a routine I don’t like. I find it annoying.”

“What if you ask your little daughter to tell you what she will love to eat every day? Tell her to prepare a menu for the week. Condition: she should not repeat any dish twice.”

“Oh she would love to do it..she loves food.”

“What else does she like?”

“She is very imaginative… she likes to narrate stories.”

“That is wonderful. Give her the beginning of a story and ask her to come back with three alternative endings.”

“Give me an example..”

“One day you and your daughter return from school. As you approach your flat, you find the door open. And the lights are on. As you enter the flat you see_______
___________________________________________________________________________________________.
Complete the story in three different ways. Describe what you see, what you hear and what happens and who says what.”

“This is interesting. I can already imagine two options.”

“You used the word imagine. This exercise ignites the imagination.
All you need to do is to keep trying small little exercises every day.
It will be interesting, fun and even exciting. Sometimes let her design
the activity.”

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Sridhar Ramanathan is the Founder of IDEASRS, where he is also a Strategic Innovation Coach. Sridhar’s mission in life is “to help those who want to do things better and differently”. His work involves conducting creative problem solving workshops for clients, and buidling competencies in creativity and innovation. He also blogs at www.ideasrs.com.


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