Thursday, July 8, 2010

Creativity, Part Two

Cultivating creativity is one of the main pillars of Humane Education and therefore Humane Parenting, as part of the three Cs - the other two being curiosity and critical thinking. As a mother, I not only seek to express my own creativity, but to help my children grow into creative individuals themselves.

As a humane parent, I work very hard to provide all sorts of opportunities for my children to flex their mental muscles. I make all sorts of materials available to them so they can explore their artistic sides. I try to refrain from stepping in and solving problems for them, instead allowing them to find their own solutions. When my five-year-old daughter asks me a question, I try to encourage her to think of her own answer before providing an "official" response. I want both my children to find ways to figure things out and find answers for themselves - it's too easy to just "ask mom", to consider me (or some other authority figure) the holder of information. I prefer them to realize that they often have the answers within themselves, or if they don't then at least to recognize that there are often many answers to a question and they have to decide for themselves what is "truth".

There is another side to the creativity inherent in humane parenting, though. I think that by having a vision of the kind of world we want to create, we are engaging in a very different kind of child-rearing than most. So many parents do what they do with their kids out of fear - fear of not measuring up, of being behind their peers, of failing to find a good job. But humane parents, and humane educators, choose instead to create the world they want instead of running from what they don't want. They are full of hope and see a world full of potential, and choose to do what they can to make that world a reality. What could be more creative than that?


  1. Yes! This is what my "campaign to create wonder" is all about! I am so trying to raise my son to be a creative, curious, critical thinker (and I would add compassionate to your list of Cs), and I figure the best way to teach it is to model it. So great to find people doing the same! I haven't heard the term "humane parenting" before. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I've also been thinking of adding compassionate to the list of C's. ;) I base my work on the writings of Zoe Weil, the co-founder and President of the Institute for Humane Education (through which I earned my M.Ed.) but I've been thinking a lot lately about how I could adjust her ideas to better reflect my own ideas and priorities, especially as they relate to parenting. I am planning to revamp my blog to better reflect that, so please check back in soon!