Why we all need the opportunity to be creative

One of the most fun parts of being a parent is the front row seat you get to your child’s imagination.

I have two kids, a boy and a girl, and their ability to turn whatever they are doing into a song or a game is amazing. Don’t get me wrong, it can quickly spiral into an argument over who gets to play with what toy. But more often than not, it serves as a window into the way their young minds are able to transform anything into something fun.

As adults, even those who aren’t parents, we need to find time to play, to imagine and to create. Believe it or not, it can help us when we go back to “adulting” in the real world. As children are growing up, they learn how to interact with others through play. The ability to share toys, to take turns and accept that everyone is different are crucial skills to this thing we call life.

When we grow up, we don’t share toys, but we do share ideas and tools that help us do our jobs. When we get too invested in our work, sometimes we get too focused on our own wants and needs and that can make those tasks more difficult to complete.

In this month’s Building Stronger Communities feature, I spoke with Jo Jo Carcioppolo, founding executive director at Dancing Classrooms Northeast Ohio. She teaches kids to dance, but as she tells anyone who asks, it’s not really about the dancing.

“If you walk by a room where the program is taking place, you’re going to see some children ballroom dancing and think, ‘Oh, that’s cute,’” Carcioppolo says. “It’s not unless you are in there and experiencing and observing what’s happening and seeing the curriculum integration that you understand. It would be very easy to mistake it as a dance program.”

Carcioppolo teaches life skills that build confidence and help kids learn how to relate to each other. The dancing is simply a vehicle to teach these valuable lessons.

To tie these points together, we all need to understand core subjects like math and science. But we also need to explore our creative sides and make sure future generations have the same opportunity. The ability to do so only makes us better and stronger when it comes to leading our daily lives. So give yourself a little time to be creative that has nothing to do with work. You won’t regret it.

Mark Scott is Senior Associate Editor at Smart Business Cleveland