I was having a conversation with my younger sister the other night, and she was telling me about how her and my Dad had just been having a conversation about me earlier in the night. In particular – they were talking about creativity.
Now, I come from a family of ‘creatives’. I’m seriously lucky in that respect. My father and all of his siblings are wonderfully creative, whether it’s in the field of creating amazing food, building and designing, painting, music, helping others, and making wonderful things with their hands out of everyday objects. I also had a bunch of wily and wonderful artists raising me, as my parents were art collectors and had an art gallery. We lived above it, and so I got to enjoy exhibition openings and interaction with all sorts of incredible people. To add to that, my grandmother was a world renowned violinist, my grandfather a serious ‘mover and shaker’ in the Royal Airforce and the Airline business.
My Mum is a ‘mad’ scientist in medicine, my birth mother works in antiques and gardening, my father is a designer and builder of all sorts of incredible things. So in turn, my siblings and I have had the most amazing life surrounded by people who are completely and utterly passionate about creativity, love, and life. They are people who have guided us throughout our lives, and have told us to pursue whatever makes us happy. My brother is a Builder, and makes the most incredible pieces of work, whether it’s a surfboard made of wood, a carving, or an eco-house. He is at the forefront of the green and environmental movement, and always scanning ahead for new wonderful ideas and opportunities to enhance people’s lives. It makes me truly proud to call him my brother. He thinks of an idea, and pursues it relentlessly. I love that. My sister is at Art School finishing off her degree, majoring in Contemporary Jewellery. She is amazing. She is a true believer that beauty is not about a superficial exterior, but about what is on the inside. She often talks to me about ideas of women standing up for their true and natural beauty, and not conforming to societies views and whims about how they should look. She makes contemporary jewellery that represents a statement in that arena. She stands for what she believes in. And every single day, she is reaching for her dreams as a contemporary artist in every sense. Nothing could make me prouder.
Anyway, I digress… now back to what my Sister and Dad were talking about? They were talking about me – and when I asked what was said, she responded:
“Your many talents, in creativity – drawing, painting, music, writing, book design. Your astonishing people skills, motivation, strength and determination.”
I mean… wow. I look at that passage and I am stunned. I stunned because I’m actually in awe of them. I come from a family of incredible creativity and achievement – and I am dumbfounded that they had all that to talk about me. Without the incredible family and upbringing I had, I know that I never would have had such a well-rounded set of creative endeavours instilled into me. It is not just me that has done that – it is the fact that they never once educated creativity out of me, by forcing me to conform to societies education standards. And because of that, I thrived in education. I learned to absorb the standard norms of education through creative ways – because of my parents. If I didn’t understand something, they would teach me a new way of looking at it in order for me to understand. I still learn that way in everyday life.
Nowadays, I am also a mother. And as I watch my daughter grow (she’s now nearly two) I know that deep down, I don’t want her to be the average girl, in an average school. I want her to have the gift of true self-belief. I want her to have goals, and the drive and determination to achieve them. And finally, I never ever want to educate creativity out of her so that she has to conform to our societies academic teachings. I would like her to learn how to think creatively to make society conform to her dreams. I want her to be extraordinary.
And on that note, I’ll leave you with a video of a TED Talk that has been bookmarked as one of my favourites for years. Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges the way we’re educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.