Creativity, Courage and Resilience: Lessons from my Grandaughter
Considering the turbulent changes that the world has undergone in our own lifetimes we would be foolish to imagine we can realistically predict the future that our children will inhabit. Many of the skills that enabled human life to thrive in the past will need to be transformed or developed to meet the unknown challenges of the future. An essential skill to enable us to transform our lives and the lives of others for the better is human creativity. Children are naturally creative yet for many their confidence in this capacity is diminished through their experiences in their immediate environment and at school. Our world only too often undermines the very capacities that should be allowed to flourish and strengthened. To face new challenges requires courage and the inner strength to step into new worlds of imagination and inspiration.
However it is possible to develop approaches to care and education that enable children to develop these capacities that are part of the ‘unknown person’ within every child. Placing an arts-rich curriculum and experiential education at the centre of school life, respecting play and playfulness and its metamorphosis into adult life, exploring our multiple identities with a sense of wonder and an understanding of our commonly shared humanity and social responsibilities, are some approaches that can all support our children in their young years and enhance their future wellbeing.
As teachers and carers we can consciously explore child nature and how those qualities can beneficially and appropriately be retained into later life to assist us in our task as educators. Resilience, like well-being, is a process not a state and has to be woven anew from our sense of self with each new challenge that we face. Courage can be found in finding the value of our interdependence and the potential joyfulness of life. These are not just lessons that adults impart to children but lie in the essence of childhood itself. To refind them we must be open to humility and seek help and guidance wherever it can be found and interest ourselves in all the efforts made by our colleagues and contemporaries who are searching along the same path.
There is no recipe except to be willing to learn. By uniting our thoughts in freedom, care and imagination, even for a short space of time, gives us encouragement and insight that in turn can nourish our children. In return we can receive their love and trust that enables us to be better human beings than we often are and find in our own creativity, courage and powers of resilience a way, together with the children as our companions and co-creators, to build a better and more just world.
“Our future is not something that happens, but something that is constructed –constructed on our choice, or our failure to choose. The nature of the major problems we face show us the nature of these choices. They are not technical but moral choices. They are a statement of what we believe a good society to be.” (P. Hughes in A Shared Challenge, a Shared Response)
Christopher Clouder 6/10/2014