Any healthy two-year-old knows when, how and by whom her driving passion to explore the world is blocked. This morning, my two year old looked me straight in the eye and said, Now go away. She knew I would curb her next experiment.
Earlier she cuddled beside me smiling, her cool bare toes wiggling against my leg as I read her The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, for the fourth time. But then, my 5 month old woke up. The 2 yr. old said, Mama, I wanna hold the baby. Keeping a steadying hand at her armpit, I sat the baby on the two-year old’s lap. The novelty tickled each some place inside the chest and they both giggled. The 2 yr. old’s smile faded, suddenly, when she noticed my hand on the baby. That’s when she looked me straight in the eye and said, Now go away.
My daughter identified me as a blocker instantly, before even imagining her next step. I laughed. Calmly, she persisted, Now, go away.
The 2 yr. old outs who or what gets in the way of exploration, naturally. She persists in pursuit of ideas and dreams. But by age ten, many of us lose that confidence to say, Now, go away.
Creativity scholar, E. Paul Torrence identified the time when many children begin honing in on others’ expectations to the detriment of creative development as the fourth grade slump. Some children Torrence studied never recovered from the fourth grade slump.
Of others in his 60 yr. longitudinal study of Creativity, Torrence said,
As they entered their late 20′s…many of the participants in the study were awakening to the fact that they had been wasting their own creative energies by playing the games that others had presented, rather than using their own creative strengths.
Many of them were [still] having difficulty in learning to free themselves of the expectations of others and to walk away from those imposed by their parents, teachers and others.
Highly creative people keep the 2 yr. old’s ability to spot creativity blockers. They focus on their dreams and ideas. The more creative the person, the more automatic the response to blockers, specially the blocks posed by others’ expectations.
Highly Creative people block the expectations set by others with the persistence of the two year old.