In my first career as an early childhood specialist I learned a lot about children and how they display their natural gifts and talents. The concept of natural gifts and talents was discussed somewhat in the classrooms of my early childhood education training however the true learning took place observing children in actual child care settings.
In the preschool classroom children have the option of playing in several different corners of the room. If they like art they can go to the paint section and paint a picture on a small easel or use crayons at a table. Children who are physical can play on the jungle gym while others can play house in the dramatic play area. Then there's free play, puzzle, music or any of the other creative ways that teachers give children to express themselves.
Interesting how this freedom of expression is generally only available during the preschool years. As children get older the school focus is more academic and the rote memorization of letters, words, numbers and rules. There's also the need to stay in line whether sitting in the classroom or walking as a group to the bathroom or lunch room.
I'm not saying that this way of providing structural organization is bad. Quite the contrary. We are a huge society and we require certain structures in order to be orderly and civil. But what I am saying is that sometimes we focus so heavily on the order and structure that we forget to return to the creative.
As human beings we are basically very creative animals. It is quite evident in our preschool years when we move freely from one way of creative expression to another. However by the time we become adults we have gone through a process of maximizing our memorization skills and minimizing our creativity unless we had parents with the will and the resources to develop our creativity. Otherwise we become products of public school systems whose focus is on getting the masses through the process rather than highlighting the creativity of the individuals.
As a result, the voice of the children often gets lost in the effort of parents and society as a whole to just get us through the process. And in the process the individual voice of creativity often gets set aside and the children adapt rote memorization and 'get a job' attitude that most people conclude is the only option in life.
However when children have the opportunity to find their voice at an early age they grow with self-esteem and self-empowerment. When children can tap their creativity they have a fresh view of the world and themselves. And when they are able to find career paths that utilize their natural gifts and talents, they get the opportunity to share their voice with the world in ways that school might never have taught.
If you are a parent, grandparent, godparent, teacher, caregiver or in any other capacity where you have the ability to impact the children in your life, remember to look for and develop their creative nature. That's the part that makes each child unique and is the foundation of their authentic voice. Please take time and listen to the voice of the children in your life.