I have been given the wonderful gift (and challenge) of managing 13 Destination ImagiNation teams. Why a gift? Not only do I have to be more organized than I’ve ever been in my life which is no easy task in itself, but I also get to see creativity in all its various forms, which, if you read this article by Joyce van Tassell-Baska, is full of nuances. But possibly the biggest gift of all is the requirement that I harness some of my own creative problem solving so I can see where other paths lead and in that process, observe the limitations of my own creativity. So why is all this important?
I suppose it rests on my belief that creativity is our path out of so many things: tragedy, destruction, problems, despair… when we think the world has ended as we know it, creativity offers us the option to make something new. As I watch my 13 teams I can see how some students are lost when things go wrong, while others just bounce off in another direction. Finding the balance between rescuing and motivating as well as freedom and control has been hard, particularly when we are on a tight schedule. How long do we need to stay lost? How far should we bounce in another direction? Each team challenges me to see creativity and giftedness in a new way.
Should all gifted students be expected to be creative? I can think of two who would give me an emphatic “no!” Despite all the problems that some of us see as a shadow over our future, there are some things that are going well and require experts to keep them running and working effectively. Can being too creative interfere with this? And if so, do we squash creativity in order to keep things comfortable? You can see where the polarities are going to take us. Once again, the argument for inclusive education is made. We need different kinds of minds working together, struggling with the balance and embracing that struggle as part of the challenge of being human.
So I work with my 13 teams to embrace the struggle, whatever that individual struggle might be and see that struggle as a necessary part of life. Creative or not, each one of us plays a part in making things happen and keeping things going. If we can master respect, kindness, humility and a few of the other virtues as we go, this struggle might be peaceful…or at least fun!