Friday, July 26, 2013

the creative impulse...

Make a ring pillow with foam, paper and glue.
In his examination of the "treatment of impulses" and natural inclinations of childhood, Robert Keable Row stated the following:
"Another mode of treating these impulses might be based upon the idea that in the child they are productive of no good result. His play impulse yields nothing of value, this is, it never produces anything of practical utility, or of commercial value. Nay more, it must inevitably lead to habits of idleness and immorality. The constructive impulse, it might be said, is usually rather destructive. The child simply spoils materials and tools and produces nothing of value. It is folly to give the child tools and materials until he is old enough to know how to use them to some useful purpose. Similarly, the art impulse might, from this point of view, be described as simply a means of disfiguring and wasting of material. It is impossible for a young child to produce anything of artistic value...

"From such a point of view these impulses should be suppressed. Instead of allowing the child to play he should, as early as possible, have regular work adapted to his ability. Instead of building play houses and mock forts and crude boats he should be learning to read and write and spell, because, though he may have little interest in these things now, they will be useful to him later. The impulses of the child should be suppressed and supplanted by interests and habits that will be of value to him in later life."
Of course Row is making light of a particular view with which he completely disagrees. An article in Time Magazine this week describes the way the human brain adapts to language and that as children age, the brain sheds connections that are not used. Children who learn to speak more than one language early in their lives are given distinct advantages over those who attempt to learn new languages later in life.

The same was observed over a century ago, in reference to abilities earned and learned in the manual arts. The perception of beauty, and the human creative capacity are both operative in the human brain. These must be engaged in the same manner children's capacity for language is nurtured and sustained or will be lost through neglect. The choice is clear. Use our human productive capacity, nourish through use the structures of brain and limb that support it and encourage its exercise at the earliest possible time in the growth of our children or witness its loss. The impulse to create is more important than knowing how to read and write and should take its place more firmly in American education. It is a natural impulse that should not be suppressed.

Make, fix and create...

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