Creativity Leadership for the next generation

Posted on April 22, 2009

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I took a family vacation to Legoland last week. The above picture is of my kids staring in wonderment of the Lego New York City reproduction. I mentioned in an earlier post that it was an average experience. To me, average actually means below average but you can read my earlier post to get the full story. At least the Lego cities were amazing. The most valuable part of the excursion with my family was the investment in my two kids. Not just having fun but being intentional about exposing them to creative activities. Creative leadership development does not just apply to your current spheres of influence; it also applies to the next generation of creative leaders. To me, there are no potential creative leaders more important than my children. However, this post definitely applies to teachers, coaches, mentors, Pastors, and to anyone else that works with kids.

Our children are fighting an uphill battle when it comes to creative freedoms. From early childhood education through to college, our children are only encouraged to be creative when it doesn’t interfere with their academic learning (and maybe not at all). Math, Reading, and Sciences are held at much more value than the arts or music in any culture, at any time in history. So I see the mantel of responsibility is on the creative leaders in our culture to educate, train, and unleash the next generation of artist-leaders.

For me, it starts with my kids. I have a high value for the development of their ‘right brain’ skills. My wife does an amazing job at generating moments of wonder, awe, and creativity for our kids to experience. Whether it’s encouraging artistic expression, exposure to museums, or experiential learning, our kids have a chance to see the world in new ways. To them, everyday is an undiscovered country filled with hope, dreams, and opportunity. However, beyond the activities, the most important investment my wife and I can do is to model creative leadership in our home.

Our kids do creative things
         because we do creative things.

That is the single most important lesson you can learn. Whether you are a parent, Sunday school leader, teacher, coach, or mentor, you can only lead others if you creatively lead yourself first. So push yourself creatively, stretch your imagination, and reinvent your leadership. The best imitators are kids. If you lead the way, the next generation will follow. Unfortunately, the converse is true. If creativity isn’t cultivated it will die in the hearts of our children. A future without creative leaders is no future at all.

So love the next generation by giving them the gift of creativity. You never know, someday families may be standing in wonderment in front of something your kids created because of your inspiration.

Check out a video of Sir Ken Robinson talking about how schools are killing creativity from TED.com

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