J. B. from Canton, Illinois asked, "You say that children are usually creative thinkers. Can you explain?"

Dear J.

I do think that children can be very creative in their thinking. Certain ideas and associations between ideas have not been built into their thinking yet, so they can make connections that adults would normally discard before trying the new concept.

Recently, I attended a seminar presented by a representative of the Madison Christian Community (MCC), an ecumenical group of churches in Wisconsin who have developed a community promoting and practicing all types of innovative techniques to enhance rather than destroy the earth. So projects such as solar power, wild flower fields, rain gardens and community gardens, are part of their program.

One mischievous pre-schooler who had caused various kinds of trouble in his pre-school career, was working in the MCC community garden with the senior citizens. With a shovel and pail in his dirty little hands, he told one lady kneeling between the rows, “You can’t lie to a garden!” Now the octogenarian was baffled. Who would think you could have a conversation with a garden, let alone the idea of lying to it? What purpose would it serve to lie in the first place? She quizzed him about the meaning of such a statement and he explained, “Well, I can tell YOU that I watered the plants when I haven’t, and you would believe me. But when I tell the plant that I’ve watered it when I haven’t, it droops its leaves in a sad way. Then everyone knows I’ve been lying. You can’t lie to a garden.”

It’s this kind of free-wheeling connection of ideas that gives children an edge when it comes to creative thinking.

Thanks for asking!  Lynnette Schuepbach

Lynnette is an author/illustrator who sees creativity in every aspect of life. To find out more about her and creativity, visit her Web site KidsDoRead.com.  Her children’s books create curiosity in children and speak to sibling rivalry and bullying.

Lynnette serves as chair of Art in the Park on the second weekend of October at the Lindendale Park in Highland. Many local artists will be exhibiting there. It’s her pleasure to be a part of this opportunity for you to experience “World Class Art in a Hometown Atmosphere.” More info at www.highlandartscouncil.org.

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