Cultivating creativity in our children and ourselves starts with a willingness to dream

Edwards knows it’s hard to teach creativity. He also knows it doesn’t require a craft kit. What it does need is a nurturing environment where ideas flow, the imagination plays, and parents or teachers or mentors or friends really listen.

Such an environment – call it a sandbox or a lab – is built around dialogue and open-mindedness. “It’s an environment that encourages the creative mind and fundamentally the environment that makes us believe in our dreams.”

And it can happen as easily at the family dinner table as it does at the water cooler where co-workers and friends toss around ideas – as long as listening happens.

“I can’t overemphasize the importance of listening to idea development,” says Edwards, who teaches at Harvard University’s school of engineering and applied sciences and oversees ArtScience Labs in the U.S. and France. “You have to listen really, really carefully. And that happens when you grow up in a family where you’ve got to listen and people are asking you what do you think.

“It’s a telling of my dreams, but also listening to what everybody is saying back to me,” he adds. “People invest in our dreams when our dreams become their dreams.”

nurturing environment
listening to idea development

“People invest in our dreams when our dreams become their dreams”

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