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Creativity opens doors to self reliance


Music, colours and books opens windows where doors are shut. Read more if you want to find out how to foster creativity in children.

Music, painting and reading are usually considered by most of us as ‘past-times’, but I owe it to my mother that these are actually making me self reliant today.
When I was a child, my mother encouraged me to keep myself busy by doing these ‘past-times’. These might be her methods to keep us engaged and get her some free time for herself.

Music: Playing the keyboard was never something I would have naturally gravitated to. My mother had ambitions for me that I would one day learn to play music and not just enjoy it. At the time when I learnt music there was no research to say that playing a musical instrument improves your brain capacities, making you smarter and more disciplined. I guess that was something my mother deduced after a bit of thinking. Getting me to play the keyboard and later on the piano made me a more confident person – I was able to play in public – did a lot to my self esteem. Also making me play music allowed me to relax, recharge my batteries and focus on studying better. It was no wonder that my sister and me were more calm and collected when we studied, scored higher marks than most of our peers and were excellent in our musical abilities.

How it is useful now? Well, today I know that I can turn to music for relaxation for sure. But I am also sure that tomorrow if I do not have a job or an inability to work for some reason, I can turn to teaching music.

Painting: Painting again was introduced to me by my mother when I was very young. I had a natural talent to paint and draw. That is something my mother recognised and nurtured. I would participate in several painting competitions and would win without much effort. This is something she understood and then encouraged me to attend professional drawing and painting classes with the hope that I might use these skills when I become a fine artist or a commercial artist. Fine art at the time wasn’t quite appreciated as it is today. I regret that I did not pursue it then. But I know that painting taught me to appreciate colour, beauty and have an overall aesthetic sense. It was because of this sense that I taught myself to learn computer graphics – photoshop and corel draw and I know that these skills will hold me in good stead when the going gets tough.

How is it useful now? Today I can design for myself anything I want on a canvas or I can create my own designs for my business using computer graphics that I have learnt. And again in the worst case scenario I can turn to teaching painting and drawing for a living!

Reading: No one nowadays reads. They are either watching TV or are glued to their smartphones. I am not talking about my generation – avid readers all but I am talking of the generation of children these days. They are either busy playing games on their tablets, or computers or smartphones but I haven’t seen kids taking a book with them to read on their train journey or when they are going visiting. When we were young, you couldn’t separate us from books. We used to read even when there was a social gathering and there wasn’t much that we as children could participate in! It was difficult to tear us away from a good book. I owe that to my mother again because she was an avid reader and encouraged us to read books that were way beyond our years. When you read they say, you travel twice. Reading opens up your mind and makes you a more rounded individual. It makes you think creatively and therefore write creatively.

How is it useful now? I can never be alone when there are books around me. Books are literally my companion. Reading has taught me to adopt several writing styles. And reading is the reason why I now write. Writing is the way I earn a living. And always did. The basis of any good communications job is the fact that you have read and therefore you can writing and elucidate better. This is one life skill which started out as a ‘hobby’ in my early resumes to what it is now. A way of life, the reason I can now say that I have a profession.

I am grateful that my mother thought these were some things I should be doing as a child and I am glad that she was able to instill my faith in these ‘past times’. I am certain that these are also going to be some of the ‘past times’ that my son is going to indulge in as well and maybe some others that will probably teach him to be self reliant when he grows up.

Janice is a communications professional, a social media enthusiast and a mother of two boys (one deceased). A keen follower of parenting trends, she dotes on her son while photographing him and anything that catches her fancy. An ardent foodie, she cooks traditional and modern recipes – compiling all of it on her blog – Working with startups and entrepreneurs on their communications strategies with her partner during the day, she has just enough time in the day to read, write and tweet @janoella.