March 04, 2016

Crayons

Crayons on crayons. Credit: John Morgan / Flickr Creative Commons

There's a lot of competition among parents today: to get their kids into the best school districts, to make sure they have everything necessary to thrive, to be creative, to be… geniuses.

According to Eric Weiner, author of The Geography of Genius, this parental obsession is, frankly, “crazy.”

“The problem I have with helicopter parenting and parents who want to give their children everything they need to be creative and to be geniuses is that geniuses thrive where there are constraints.”

He views constraints and challenges as absolutely necessary precursors to creativity:

“Creativity, and especially creative genius, is a reaction to a challenge. And the more challenges they have, the more creative they’re going to be.”

That’s not to say that you should abandon a child in the wilderness and give her the ‘challenge’ of finding her way home.

But Weiner does question a lot of received wisdom about raising a smart, creative child. Even the idea that a prestigious university is the best place to go:

“Universities, to some extent, represent the status quo, and genius is always rocking the status quo.”

So, maybe when Junior tells you he doesn’t want to go to college, there could be reason for celebration.

Body and Mind, childhood, Geography of Genius, Eric Weiner, Education

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