Living Creatively: Torrance’s 7 Rules to Follow
Recently here at SIG, we’ve had some parents ask us to provide them with information about areas in which we feel their children need to improve. While I understand a parent’s need to make sure they are providing everything their child needs and desire to help them to be the best they can be, I am also concerned that we do a disservice when we place too much focus on what folks don’t do well, as that takes away from our focus on what they do best. At SIG, we want students to discover interests that resonate with them, and then to pursue those topics, or issues, or skills with intensity, to fuel that passion. I believe this passionate pursuit is where we find true happiness, as well as significant productivity and innovative contribution within fields of study.
I can’t help but be reminded of E. Paul Torrance’s Manifesto for Children. Torrance, a pioneer researcher in creativity, created this manifesto, based on the findings of his research, to help guide us in what to do and what not to do, if we want to embrace our creativity to its fullest and let go of those things that prevent us from doing that.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Manifesto, here are Torrance’s 7 tenets:
- Don’t be afraid to fall in love with something and pursue it with intensity.
- Know, understand, take pride in, practice, develop, exploit, and enjoy your greatest strengths.
- Learn to free yourself from the expectations of others and to walk away from the games they impose on you. Free yourself to play your own game.
- Find a great teacher or mentor who will help you.
- Don’t waste energy trying to be well-rounded.
- Do what you love and can do well.
- Learn the skills of interdependence.
So, for all of us working with gifted young people, I suggest we take his teachings to heart and when we find ourselves focusing on what students don’t do well, that we read through these seven guiding statements repeatedly. In this blog context, I suggest paying particular attention to #5 and #6: not wasting energy (and time) trying to be well-rounded, and doing what we love and can do well. If we can help children realize their dreams in these ways, we will be great facilitators of happy, productive, creative adults. If you were to create a Manifesto for you, what would it include?