I was sitting at my desk working up the curriculum for this class when my 5-year old son Hunter asks me, “Dad, what are you doing?” In my best fatherly tone I explained to him that I was preparing to teach this [Web Expressions] course in the fall. Without any hesitation he asked me the question that weighs on all little boys’ minds, “Dad, do big kids play too?” Being an adult and not too swift by 5-year old standards, it took me a minute to realize that the “kids” he was talking about were the students in my class.
Well, that innocent little question stuck in my head (like one of those cheesy ad jingles or the Muppet “Mahna-mahna” song) and got me to thinking. At the time, I was trying to find a way to “teach” creativity and was frustrated by my lack of progress. Creativity is a rather abstract concept and it’s very nature is fluid and boundless. How do you neatly package something like that?
Well, if Hunter is right, the answer just might be in how we play.
When we play, whether it is building towers with blocks, creating an imaginary friend or skiing a backcountry bowl, we are expanding our minds, testing and pushing our perceived limits and developing new experiences upon which to build our future selves. Watch any child at play and you can see them grow, evolve.
How we play changes as we get older, as we explore new opportunities. Some of us lose touch with the ability to play with the unencumbered freedom of our youth. We find it difficult to “be creative” because we have for so long struggled with trying to fit in, trying to satisfy the expectations of others.
Get out and play, be a kid, who cares who’s watching? You just might learn a thing or two about yourself.