How We the Adults Should Treat Children and Their Creativity

Adults do not need to direct the sparks of children’s inspiration.  Knowledge thrust upon the children without taking into account their level or when they are absorbed by something else, is perceived by the children as an intrusion into their world and provokes unwillingness and misbehavior.  If we want to look at children’s drawings with enjoyment and see their usefulness, we must first silence our wishes and demends in regard to form as well as content and expectantly accept what they can offer.

Our demands originate for the most part from false ideas about the child himself and what he communicates.  They originate from preferences and prejudices of higher or less high aesthetic values, with parents’ judgments originating from ambition and some vanity or fear in difficult phases of development that they view as final and anxiously cut off prematurely.  The demands of the grown-ups, even where they are justified, belong in realms other than those in which they originated.  For example, cleanliness, exactness, and ability to reproduce a certain content have to do with geometry, ornamental drawing, fashion drawing, and illustration, but nothing at all with creative drawing.

When we prescribe the path to children who, incidentally, develop extremely unevenly in their abilities, we at the same time cut them off from their creative possibilities and ourselves from insight into these possibilities.  Why do adults wan to make the children so quickly, or at all, similar to themselves?  Are we so happy and content with ourselves?

The child is not (or not only) the unfinished, unusable preliminary stage of the adults.  Rithenau seems to have formulated the following exactly for that: “The allegro is not the purpose of the adagio, and the finale is not the purpose of the introduction.  They follow each other because of their own beauty.”

From “Through a Narrow Window, Frieldl Dicker-Brandeis and Her Terezin Students”


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