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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Perfection Of Store Bought Creativity

Lessons Learned

Trading In Homemade For Store Bought

With bright, wildly excited eyes, he exuberantly shared with words spilling over words that the long awaited and much anticipated huge science project was to be a creation of the solar system. Artistic, creative, original, unique, any medium, any materials were all descriptors from the teacher concerning this wonderful project. What do you think you’d like to do? I have thought about this all day and all the way home from school, and I think origami planets in different colors of different sizes all connected with pipe cleaners would be perfect. That sounds fantastic! What do you think we need to get for you create this just as you imagine it? With supplies gathered and work space cleared, the imaginer set to creating. Other than peeking in now and again, we, the support team, were to not distract or disturb the imaginer. Colorful origami planets began to fill the space, while pipe cleaner connectors held them in their proper orbits. Evenings filled with brilliant, beautiful creativity flew by punctuated with awe speckled giggles and other sounds of pride.  When at last the stunning, fragile solar system was complete, we were invited to a viewing. Magnificent. Perfect. The imagined solar system had at last become the created one, and  hearts were dancing with joy as they do when creativity is swirling in the midst. Although this humongous creative science project was due on a Friday, several students had decided to bring their projects in Thursday, and what our imaginer saw on Thursday crushed the zeal that had set his spirit soaring through the numerous previous evenings. Most, if not all, of the Thursday solar systems were made from purchased kits with every component perfectly set in place per the specific directions contained in the box, which made them actually, perfect; quite the same but nonetheless perfect.  Friday morning in the parking lot, as other beautiful boxed solar systems streamed by, a very sad thought struck our imaginer. Suddenly, pipe cleaner connectors and origami planets were the tools of losers and others who created without directions in the box. The bright, wildly excited eyes dulled and from the previously jubilating heart came the whispered words, I can’t turn mine in; it’s dumb. My solar system doesn’t look perfect like boxed ones do, and the teacher will think I didn’t work as hard. Gentle, encouraging words from the support team were not quite enough to get us beyond the parking lot crisis occurring in our car, but an intuitive, sensitive, empathetic teacher saved the day, the moment, and a creative heart under siege. This wise and good teacher, upon hearing of the crisis, tenderly pulled the student aside, reminded the student of the excellence of creativity and imaginative work, and affirmed the highest priority and value to be placed upon all of the extra effort involved in creating a unique project, which was, in fact, the assignment.  The imaginer’s smile returned thankfully.  When do we actually trade in our out-of-the-box imaginations for boxed kits complete with perfect directions? Once we make the trade, are we able to go back?