Creativity's Workshop

Taming and Training Your Creativity to Write Abundantly

Why ‘Childish’ is the Greatest Complement You Can Pay Your Creativity


Baby with sunglasses

Sometimes Jessica and I have disagreements/discussions on my behaviour.

I don’t like vegetables. She calls me childish.

My concentration flits from subject to subject. She calls me childish.

My hair is rainbow-coloured.  She calls me childish.

And each time I take it as a complement.


Because children are creative. Here, I’ll give you some examples.

Children Ask Questions

‘Why?’ Sure, it may be one of the most annoying words in the English language (especially if you’re a parent), but with that one word children learn to unravel the intricacies of their world.

Children are learning machines, and it’s because they ask questions. Even before they are able to formulate words, they are asking questions in their mind. ‘What happens if I do this?’ ‘How can I get your attention?’ ‘Can I fit banana up my nose?’

Those questions lead to experiments, sometimes with conclusive answers (‘Yes, squished banana does fit up my nose’), sometimes with new questions (‘What about apples?’).

Being creative is about asking questions, especially the questions other people haven’t thought of or are afraid to ask. There are plenty of people working on the obvious questions. To find unique answers, often you need to ask the uncomfortable or obscure questions.

Children Test Out Their Theories

Once a child has a question, they find way to answer it.

‘What does dirt taste like?’ Simple, taste it.

‘What does a caterpillar feel like?’ Touch it and see.

‘What does a saucepan sound like?’ That’s a no brainer.

And yet if an adult were to ask those questions, they may hypothesize an answer in their heads, but would they ever reach a definite conclusion?

Questions are extremely useful, but only if you act to find the answers. There is such a thing as too much theorizing. Eventually you have to stick your hand in and try. Why not start with an experiment, instead of musing.

Children Make Mess

‘This I know,’ you may say. ‘I clean my kid’s mess up every evening.’

There has to be a level of ‘mess’ in creative endeavours. If everything is too clean, too tidy, too perfect, then there’s no opportunity for the unexpected.

Creativeness happens when two unexpected things connect. If you have everything compartmentalized, when will the unexpected connect? Only during mental earthquakes, and at that point you’re too distracted by other things.

To be truly creative, you need to be prepared to get messy – embrace it, cause it, revel in it – because this is what it means to be creative.

Children Are Fascinated By Simple Things

‘Small things amuse small minds.’ How often is this term used in a derogatory manner?

It’s a beautiful thing to watch a child fascinated by something as simple as a bottle top or a gumnut. They turn the object over in their hands. They test it in many different situations. They learn all the ins and outs of that one little thing.

And when they’re done, their brain has a detailed understanding of that object. An understanding which will last a lifetime. But how many more little objects are our there to learn about?

Small things, or ‘simple things’ can reveal the answers to universal questions and provide life changing ideas.

Don’t shun the simple just because it’s not ‘adult’ enough for your attention. The answer to your question might be right under your nose.

Children Are Humble

Children make mistakes. They fall. They burn themselves. They embarrass themselves. It’s all part of the process. With a little help they pick themselves up, and continue – usually no worse for wear and definitely a little wiser.

Children realise they have much to learn. So they ask questions. They test things out. They make mess. They are constantly curious about their world.

Is being childish such a bad thing? It definitely has advantages from a creative standpoint, if not from other standpoints too.

So why not drop your guard for a little while, hang out with your Creativity and be childish together? Recapture the wonder and see what you discover.

Image credit: Microsoft Clip Art


7 thoughts on “Why ‘Childish’ is the Greatest Complement You Can Pay Your Creativity

  1. and Children are Bold.

    They know what they want – and they pursue it with pure focus.

    They don’t care what they look like if they’re having fun, hanging with their best buddies, laughing like crazy people.

    They laugh like crazy people. Isn’t that the best way to laugh?

  2. so true
    that’s why i am a child again
    giggling and having fun.
    when do we stopped
    doing that anyway?
    when somebody childish
    teased us and laugh at us?
    if only we have joined them
    in learning to laugh at ourselves
    fun huh

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