After listening to Sir Ken Robinson, in my previous post, I began to reflect back about creative thinking as a parent.
When my children were young, we had some restrictions in our life owing to my health issues.
I wanted to give them every opportunity I could. I felt if I understood them better, as individuals I would be able to provide more specifically for their needs: educationally, socially and with life skills etc.
I read copiously about left and right brain development.
I then worried that formal education appeared to attempt to knock out left brain strengths from girls and right brain strengths from boys.
When my 1st child was ten an incident panicked me and I went to visit some friends, both teachers and successful parents.
I listened well.
I returned home a different mother.
I watched my children.
Remarkable I saw my 2 children were almost left/right brain-balanced.
However, as I feared, my son was being pushed to left brain dominance by the school system.
I took steps to counteract this.
I, or was it we? Fixed shelves to his yellow (his choice) painted bedroom wall. I actively encouraged him to display his amazing Lego creations thereon. Drawing (with chalk) on the drive way was encouraged: grandma wasn’t keen on the pathway art. Not until later.
(For years his gift list remained unchanged: books & Lego. He sold all his Lego when he was 12)
I recall a Saturday afternoon when my mother came to visit (at a guess I would say she was a right brainer pretending to be a left brainer, with some success. My father a successful architect, would appear to be left brain dominant, yet I feel there was also a strong right brain factor) I over heard a conversation between my mother and my son (age about 7?) She asked him what he was doing, clearly he was doing calligraphy, however his answer to her was ‘I am balancing my soul grand ma’.
But true. I actively presented him with opportunities to strengthen his right brain capacities.
He has remarkable spatial and linear skills. He is phonetically gifted. Language, and IT skills, a thirst for knowledge and a rare sensitivity are evident in him as an adult.
As his mother, I would say his soul is balanced.
Efforts to have my daughter become right brain dominant were minimised as she grew up.
She was educated through the years when educational policies were focused on pushing girls with regard to math and the sciences. Thus she managed to maintain her balance. I actively encouraged her to draw (in chalk) on her blue – her choice – bedroom walls: huge re-creations of Disney characters appeared.
(Might I add here that as a parent I encouraged the making and treasuring or memories over the possession of things, thus throwing – a very soft – ball, in a game of tag, inside the house was deemed ok by me. I also was prepared to take unusual paths – some may call it lateral thinking/application- to teach a desired course: we watched the Oliver Stone movie ‘JFK’ when they were just 10 & 13. We took over 7 hours to get through to the end, stopping for me to explain answers to their many questions. One thing they learnt from that film was the ridiculousness of swearing.)
My 1st child’s left/right balanced brain remains thus to this day. My sequential cautious daughter is also my spatial simultaneous daughter. These strengths aided her as she trained as a chef, and evident as an exceptional mother, and in her amazing quilting.
The whole process of learning about left/right brain strengths and applications was not just interesting but empowered me as a mother, in a way that was not limited by my physical restrictions.
I considered myself right brain dominant, actually hopelessly not left brain at all, and I am sure my children would agree, given my inability to measure for curtains, reason through a budget – if it’s in the cupboard already it’s free, right? – and at times head-shakingly bad attempts to logically explain things to my ever so balanced off spring.
However I find, in these more mature years that I have become more balanced.
Yes, I confess I did call my son just yesterday to ask if I have a wall 125 mmmms long, how many boxes that are 36.5 mmms can I fit in.
How have you used creativity in your thinking or as aparent?