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2 Ingredients for Creativity in Children & How I Avoided the Slammer


My first job was a snack shack on a playground. I saved my allowance, took my radio flyer and went down to the convenience store. I bought a bunch of candy, snacks, and soda. I set up shop near the playground at my apartment complex. I even had a notebook to do my bookkeeping. I planned to go big. When my inventory was running low and I didn't feel I had made enough money to restock, I got some friends to invest some of their allowance (for a small cut of the profits and a complimentary piece of candy). I never ate the candy myself. I somehow knew that sampling the kiddy crack would be bad for business.

When some kids started threatening to steal from me, I hired some muscle. The older brothers of my friend stood guard. My sales were on the rise and kids were coming from neighboring complexes, allowances in hand.

I was CEO and CFO of my own profitable enterprise. For 4 days, instead of going to the ice cream man, kids were coming to me. I was purposefully out pricing him and advertising that fact with posters I had hung up around the complex. I was 10.

Day 5 a police officer came and had a little chat with me about needing a license to sell food. I may or may not have had my first bathroom accident since potty training that very day, coincidence? I knew I wouldn't make it in the slammer. I closed up shop and wheeled home. I used the rest of my candy to pay off my investors, kept a little stash for myself, and never looked back. I wonder who called the police on me? A disgruntled man driving a musical vehicle, perhaps?

My little entrepreneurial spirit took a hit that day, but I think it was for the best. Reading back over this story, I realize that I may have been well on my way to becoming a drug lord.

That same creative spirit has been rekindled a little lately. Near weekly, while I am out, moms have been coming up to me and commenting on something I have. Something they seem very curious about. Something they seem to want. This 'something' is something I made. Hmmm... Maybe my dream of dealing goods on the playground will come true after all. Right now, I am not sure that idea is something I want to commit to, still thinking about it. Not every idea makes it off the ground. A few months ago I was making my own paper. My husband just bought a ream of paper, for reasons I don't want to get into. :)

While every idea I have may not be the best, I appreciate the opportunity to try them out.

I wonder what made me, as a child, think that I could even attempt something like running the ice cream man out of town? What were the ingredients that inspired me to try something creative?

Here are 2 ingredients that I feel aided my creative ability and allowed me to become a child drug dealer, err I mean, entrepreneur:

1. Time

I had free time to think and wonder. I had the time to try out bad ideas and see what happened. I wasn't so overly scheduled and busy being successful that I missed out on learning from failed ideas. I had time on my hands and no one told me exactly how to fill it. Being bored was an option for me. Like most children, I didn't want to be bored, so I made another choice. This lead to thinking (or in my case scheming. First stop over throw the ice cream man. Next, take over the world.... (insert evil laugh)).

2. Unfulfilled Wants

Everything I wanted wasn't given to me. This was a gift. I knew that there were somethings that I wanted and no amount of begging or whining was going to get them. If I really wanted something, I would have to find away to earn it.

Unfulfilled wants lead to goals and goals lead to making plans. This is a starting place for creativity.

I can't remember what it was I wanted that lead me to start that doomed little business. But I do know that because I wanted something, I got creative.

Thanks for reading.

These are just two things that I think made me get creative. Surely, there are lots of ingredients to creativity. What makes you get creative?

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