One of my most powerful lessons on creative thinking was my aha! when I realized that half of eight was O!
I was in an arithmetic class in elementary school and as I looked at the number 8, I realized that "half of eight equals 4" wasn't the only right answer! This discovery thrilled me and I immediately raised my hand to share this with my teacher and the rest of the class. The teacher was neither impressed nor pleased. She was visibly annoyed.
By the time I got home, my dad, a calculus professor at an engineering school, had received a call. He sat me down at the dining room table to have a conversation. His face was expressionless (my dad had made a considerable amount of money in the Korean War playing Black Jack and unlike me, had an enviable poker face).
He told me that my teacher had called and given her perspective, quite negative, on my discovery, and he asked me to explain mine.
"Well, I just realized that half of eight can be zero," I said quietly, my head down.
"Can you prove it?" he asked, and I saw a grin cross his face. He knew I could!
So I drew an eight, and covered the top. 0!
My dad was not angry. He was pleased! And as I looked at the 8 I realize it could be an E or a 3! And if I turned it on its side, it could be an m or a w!
It was then that I realized being creative in school might not be well received. Over the years, many teachers wanted me to memorize and regurgitate. Thankfully my dad, a Calculus professor, wanted me to think.
My life would have been very different if he has scolded or reprimanded me as my teacher had. I have often wondered over the years as I've worked with young people, how many times their creative ideas and potential contributions have been squelched. Seeing things in new and different ways adds such joy to life.
Just this morning my daughter Mycala came up with an idea that i could see changing everything in her life, and have a humorous and joyful impact on others! I've been smiling since and thinking of how blessed I was to have support in my life for looking for more than one right answer!
"My mission is
to help others see and cherish the beauty,
romance and treasures within and around them
that are often dismissed or completely overlooked."
Mikell is a writer, artist and professional treasure hunter, finding the greatest treasures in the wonderful people who enter her life!