Thursday, September 18, 2008

Micro-Management and Creativity

I recently heard a person being interviewed saying that micro-management by their boss stifled their creativity. An interesting thought, that I would like to pursue here.

Just about all of us in the work force have had encounters with micro-managing bosses, supervisors and managers. I know that some jobs require close supervision. Safety, deadlines and certain seasons dictate the need for closer than usual oversight.

But micro-management is not reserved only for the workplace. I have led music teams and at times found myself a bit too controlling, justifying my actions by saying that I wanted a song to sound certain way. OK, give me a pass there as long as I don't abuse it. But what about our children?

Do we as parents micro-manage our children's lives because we have these big plans for them and we feel that the best path to achieve those plans is through our control?

I am NOT for simply allowing our children to do as they please, without any guidance or instruction. But I am for having Godly, parental insight and wisdom to discern talents and creative leanings and to gently steer our children in those directions. To simply push them into our pre-planned direction will likely stifle their creativity and perhaps warrant rebellion.

A friend and colleague who has spent many years as a brilliant high school orchestra teacher shared with me that many of his most talented students stopped playing their instruments after they graduated because they were forced by their parents to practice and play from a very early age, and in reality they really never enjoyed it. (Of course there is the argument that some exceptional musicians have thanked their parents for making them stay devoted to their craft as children.)

But what about allowing a child to lean towards a certain tendency they may exhibit? Many times we as parents feel that we have our children's lives figured out, regardless of their creative leanings.

I would like to suggest that we apply the insight that our Creator has given us to help discern and identify the creative tendencies in our children, and encourage them in those directions. Yes, practicality and common sense need not be discarded, but encouragement towards a God-given creative impartation may be the ticket towards our children's success. Just be careful that don't micro-manage that!

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