If I say something like “please pause reading that story and start writing one yourself” or if I say “ try to stop watching the movie and make one yourself “ or if I say “please control the urge to order food from your mobile app and make your lunch”, you might think I’m being impractical or just crazy! I know, the immediate reaction would be – not all of us are born writers or moviemakers or chefs – but nothing stops us from trying and learning new skills. Nothing should stop us from the fun of learning new skills, making mistakes and enjoying the process itself!
It’s easy to consume readily available stuff as it gets us immense pleasure when we buy our favourite brand or from a favourite store. But, our lives have a creative side as well and somehow this is overridden by other social compulsions and economic priorities without any time to spare for any other activity. Harnessing creativity in each one of us will definitely enhance the dignity of skills, particularly manual skills.
Let’s pause and think – consumers and creators
Aren’t we all born creative? The creative genius in us is at its peak in early childhood, we see the world from untainted eyes; there is a vision that is pure and innocent. Then, as we grow and get ‘educated’ and ‘employed’ this vision is either swept away by our daily chores or by our unquestioned urge to tread the familiar path to professional and personal satisfaction. While doing this, somewhere the creative instinct is absolutely wiped out with our love for consuming things as we eat, dress, travel, work, sleep etc.
No, I’m not saying you should build our own cars and bikes, or stitch your dresses or weave your own cloth to show how creative you are! I’m not even saying that you should bake all your cakes and stop buying them from the neighbourhood bakery. Let’s continue to buy the cars and the cakes but let’s give some space to creating stuff that we would love to!
How creativity can enhance the value of skills
Our concern should be about identifying and nurturing those precious sparks of creativity at an early age or growing up years to preserve and promote a balanced and skilled society.
- This could be as simple as encouraging your kid to make more paper boats and kites than shouting at her for wasting paper and forcing her to stop wasting time and get back to studies.
- This could mean helping your kid in developing an innovative idea further even if it is as imaginative as making a staircase to reach the moon.
- This could even be as simple as encouraging your adolescent son to design his own dresses and get him a sewing machine! Difficult it may be , because in most homes, sewing machines are meant for women.
- This could be as simple as supporting your neighbour while he’s painting a room all by himself. Or, lending a helping hand to your favourite aunt in turning her pickle-making hobby into a small business. Or, joining your siblings or cousins in selling the candles or soap that they make at home.
Creativity combines a host of manual or intellectual skills and this take a back seat and eventually loses out in the race to popular notions of success. Creativity brings respect to manual skills that ironically get looked down upon in a consumerist culture. Encourage your kid to make innovative paper spacecrafts – not with the expectation that he or she should go to NASA – but just to enjoy the activity and learn and hone the skill.
Well, there can be list of unending possibilities to discover our talent and hone our skills. Let’s not try to put a price for everything. I remember, few years ago, when a friend of mine was visiting me I badly wanted to bake a carrot cake for her to show how I was able to improve my baking skills and pursue a cherished hobby. And, I managed to bake it for her on time, when she arrived for a short visit. But then this friend told me “oh, why did you trouble yourself with all the baking, you could have just paid few rupees and got it from the bakery” I didn’t know how to respond. In fact, I didn’t want to say anything because this friend was well-versed with the price but not the value of my cake!
I’m sure you will find such friends and relatives everywhere who find it a waste of time and energy to do things that make us feel good and accomplished. But, let’s remember, if we don’t pause and look back to discover ourselves, we would have realized only half our potential as skilled human beings!