What Do Productivity and Creativity Have in Common?

What Do Productivity and Creativity Have in Common?

Education December 12, 2016 / By Joanne Foster, EdD
What Do Productivity and Creativity Have in Common?

The quick (and unproductive) answer is that both words end with the same letters—TIVITY. The better (and more creative) answer points to several sure-fire approaches that parents can use to foster kids' productive AND creative efforts. Find out more below!

Inspiring kids to be productive and creative doesn't have to be difficult. Here are some suggestions that work toward encouraging children to make the most of their productive and creative energy.

TIME - Productivity involves working toward a goal, and this demands planning, preparation, and effort—all of which take time. Similarly, creativity is a process. Sometimes creative expression bursts forth in an inspirational blast, but mostly it, too, requires sustained concentration, patience, and the desire to keep going. Parents who want to support kids' productivity and creativity should try not to pressure them or rush their efforts. Give them enough time to think through what they have to do, to consolidate ideas and figure out how to proceed, and to take the necessary steps to make progress and tweak things along the way.

INQUIRY - When children ask questions they learn. The more thoughtful the inquiry, the greater the likelihood that it will lead to connections, and elicit an informative response. When a question is shallow or pointless it tends to yield little of substance. Because accomplishments and creative output require initiative, it makes sense to pay attention to what fuels that. Parents can support kids' productivity and creativity by helping children harness their curiosity, by showing them how to ask well-targeted and thoughtful questions, and by responding to their inquiries in meaningful ways.

VALUE - If children (or for that matter adults) don't see the value of doing something, chances are they will balk at doing it. And, who can blame them? However, when a task is relevant and purposeful—and it's appropriately challenging, and perhaps even intriguing, and fun—that translates into value; it becomes worth doing. Parents who help kids appreciate the value of learning opportunities and of "doing" (that is, participating, initiating, collaborating, exploring, inventing, and so on), will find their children will be increasingly engaged, and therefore more productively and creatively inclined.

INTELLIGENCE – People don't have to be smart to be productive or creative. But they need some foundational knowledge upon which to build capability if they want to move ahead or move in new directions. Understandings are like the bricks and mortar that enable people to assemble ideas into productive and creative ventures. The more children know about something—or the more they're willing to learn about it—the better equipped they’ll be to advance in that domain. Intelligence involves know-how, and drawing upon that know-how ignites enthusiasm, self-confidence, and a mastery orientation ("I can and will do it!"), leading to productivity and creativity.

TASK-COMMITMENT - Resolve is, by the very nature of the word, a matter of finding solutions (a way around or in or out), and then reviewing possibilities. This can be demanding, especially if a task seems daunting. Parents are well positioned to show kids how to be resilient and how to persevere so they’ll be able to carry on even when they feel overly challenged. The paths to productivity generally are not without stumbling blocks so it's important to recognize that, and to be ready to confront them. Creative pathways also have their share of risks, and ups and downs, requiring hard work and determination to stay on track.

YET - Yet is a very small but powerful word. It holds promise. It's about what people can still accomplish if they so choose. And, in the whole scheme of things, productivity and creativity derive from choice. Children can choose to be industrious and responsible, or not. They can choose to be creatively expressive in music, art, drama, language, and other ways, or not. They may be inspired now, or perhaps not yet. Parents can help kids appreciate the open-endedness of possibility and optimism, and the joy of being fruitful. Children may yet surprise them, and maybe even themselves!

As children grow they learn to juggle responsibilities, extend their capabilities, and appreciate that putting forth effort can be gratifying and motivating. Parents can encourage kids to visualize success. Parents can also reflect upon what propels them to be productive and creative in the course of their own daily lives, and share that real and experiential information with their children. And, of course, parents are welcome to chat with kids about the various ideas that flow from the six focal points presented above.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: You probably spotted that I've reconfigured "TIVITY"—the letters that anchor "productivity" and "creativity"—into an anagram within this article. Anagrams present a fun-filled instructional approach that can be used to help kids learn useful strategies for meaningful outcomes. Anagrams offer an interesting and quick way to remember key concepts, and lots of people use them productively to their advantage, or creatively to communicate important ideas. Parents can share with their children the six effort-related points above, inviting them to add their own ideas as an interesting acTIVITY. It may very well lead to a new anagram, and to some productive and creative discussions!

For more information on productivity and creativity see "Beyond Intelligence: Secrets for Raising Happily Productive Kids" by Dona Matthews and Joanne Foster, http://houseofanansi.com/products/beyond-intelligence and "Not Now, Maybe Later: Helping Children Overcome Procrastination" by Joanne Foster. (Each of these publications is also available as an e-book.) For additional articles and resources on these topics and more, visit www.beyondintelligence.net and check out the postings at "Fostering Kids’ Success.

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