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Don’t Yodel At The Pecan Farmer!


So, since I seem to be on a “Be More Creative” kick this month, I was thinking of how I can help my kids with their creativity and apply it to school and other every-day situations.

POW! Kid’s Pictionary! Foster imagination… fun… family.

Last night, I ran down to the game closet and pulled out our Kid’s Pictionary game. And after blowing the dust from the lid and scrounging up a pen or two, I challenged my kids to a game. I was immediately welcomed with a chorus of, “Aw dad… do we HAVE to?”

“Uh-yeah…” I sniffed in a “you’re going to be creative with me whether you want to or not” attitude. And we all slowly migrated to the living room.

First round, I drew and my youngest son, 5-year-old Garrett, was my partner… The answer was “Killer Bees”

With a quick sketch of a striped oval with a protruding triangle, and two tear drop “wings,” all three kids screamed out “BUMBLE BEE!”

With wild eyes, I pointed to them with my eraser. “YES!” Dad’s a freak!

Next, I drew a bullet… then two… Nothing. Silence. Then, I drew a rough tommy gun, with the big, round clip beneath the barrel.

“GUN,” they all yelled.

They were really getting excited… And within seconds of the sand running out of the little, annoying egg timer, Madison, my “tween-aged” daughter, abruptly yelled out, breaking the overwhelming stress and nail biting.

“KILLER BEES!” And the room erupted with laughter, high fives, and approving gestures.

Man, that was cool.

Next to draw was Simon, the 8-year-old. Glancing down at the answer, he thought for a second. He started out timidly, drawing rough, oval shapes randomly at the top of the page.

“BUGS!” Garrett yelled out. No.

“Nuts?” my daughter asked. Simon started crossing out the ovals. Then, he drew a human figure below.

NO BUGS… Bug killers? The Orkin Man!” they started yelling randomly. “PEANUTS! Pecan farm…

NO.

Simon was clearly getting frustrated. As the sand ran down and out of the top of the timer, I looked at my wife and gestured to just let him go on.

He drew lines from the human figure’s mouth, quarter notes and a symbol that looked like a treble cleft.

“No NUTS?” my daughter yelled with an innuendo-filled snicker. I looked at her sternly.

And as if fireworks had just exploded in my youngest son’s head, he stood up and yelled out, “DON’T YODEL AT THE PECAN FARMER!”

Simon dropped his pen. Then, he tipped his head back with a guttural guffaw – followed shortly by a deafening roar of laughter. The entire room lit up.

Time had run out. The answer was “Singing In The Rain.” But we didn’t care. “Don’t Yodel At The Pecan Farmer” was a much better answer. Brilliant!

*****

So, the theory goes something like this…

Children are born creative. But through systematic, social adaptation and the need to “fit in,” the innate characteristics of real creativity are suppressed.

Why?

My parents always encouraged creativity. My grandmother was a painter and a nationally recognized art educator of over 40 years. My father and his brothers can take a pile of blanched and boring wood scraps and, in a flurry of saw dust and miter cuts, create the most beautiful hand-finished furniture I’ve ever seen.

So how do we foster creativity in our children – our future? And how can we keep that brilliant spark from dimming over time?

Food for thought.

Until next time, remember; don’t yodel at the pecan farmer.

Keep Cooking!
Andrew

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