The National Center on Education & Economy reached an important conclusion about the future of America a few years ago: The thing that will set us apart in the midst of a skilled, versatile and highly adaptable global workforce is creativity.¹
If we want to succeed, we will need to inspire our young people to dig deeply for the wellspring of their imaginations.
Think of creativity as ‘applied imagination.’ It’s the outer manifestation of the inner ability to imagine something that doesn’t yet exist. It’s why we love teaching at-risk kids to make socially conscious digital media. We know that kids who are born into poverty, raised in homes where mom or dad (or both) are missing, brought up in communities where prisons are an institution, desperately need to be able to imagine something that doesn’t yet exist: a place where they can be the empowered creators of their future.
You can’t give them that by telling them how hard they have it. Teach them to feel sorry for themselves and it may well seal a desperate fate of failure. But give them an eye onto the world….give them a voice to tell their stories. Now that’s a powerful thing.
The challenge is time.
Because it takes time to unravel softness in a child like this. It takes time to uncover the light of creativity. And it takes the consistent application of ideas and opportunity to ignite a spark into the fires of creativity. The greatest investment we can make in these children, in all children, is this purposeful and intentional commitment of our time.