"Research shows that 90 percent of five-year olds are creative, but only 2 percent of adults are." -Lee Lilber
One year our friend's son, (I'll call him Chip, even though it's not his real name) entered his school's turkey decorating contest. He came home excited to share the rules with his parents and tell them about the turkey he'd designed. After a trip to the craft store he assembled his turkey. It was terrific, it looked exactly as he planned. When our friends tucked their son into bed that night he told them how much he wanted to win the contest.
While the boy slept his parents looked at his turkey. It looked like a second grader had made it, which is exactly how it should have looked given the boy's age. They couldn't see it for what it was. They decided to improve it. Changing the design, they added more feathers, re-glued the eyes, and fixed the sagging head. Adding a guitar and sideburns it became a rock star turkey. They went to bed assuring themselves that their turkey was going to win, but it wasn't their turkey. It wasn't their contest to win.
In the morning when Chip saw the re-designed bird he burst out, "That's not my turkey!" His parents assured him that this turkey was the winner. He headed to school with the turkey stuffed in his bag.
After school he ran through the door grinning, "The teacher loved my turkey!" His mom congratulated him and called his dad. Chip, overhearing her on the phone, interrupted her, "Mom, your turkey didn't win. I showed the teacher your turkey and told her that I wasn't entering it in the contest. She gave me time to remake my turkey from the picture I'd drawn. Here, she wrote you a note." He handed his mom an envelope.
The teacher's note read:
Dear Mr. and Mrs. _________,
I am proud of your son's effort and outstanding attitude on the turkey decorating contest. He followed the instructions and created a wonderful turkey.
I appreciate your enthusiasm however, your entry was ineligible.
You have both completed the second grade and are not currently enrolled at this school. In addition, you sent a demoralizing message to your son that somehow his creativity and artistic abilities are inferior to yours.
As an eighteen year old our neighbor, Don built his own barn. He sent away for a set of plans, cut the trees, made them into board lumber, and constructed the barn. Seventy years later it's still in great shape. Can you imagine kids doing their own work? They'd either celebrate their accomplishments or learn the consequences. And here's an even bigger stretch ...What if dad's allowed their sons in Cub Scout's to build their own Pinewood Derby cars?