For some reason today I remembered an incident with my uber creative son when he was in kindergarten. That poor teacher must have thought she had offended somone in the superatural realm very deeply and my son was her punishment for her sins! haha
It happened the first time she handed out a page of "Connect the Dots" to her class of eager 5 year olds. They had just learned to count to 20 and this was going to be a good test of how well they could remember the order of the numbers.
When the teacher picked up their sheets at the end of the class, she was delighted to see how well they had all done....all except my son. He had not connected the numbers in order, but had connected them with no apparent order whatsoever.
The teacher assumed he had not understood the exercise, since he had all ready proven previously he could easily count to 20. So, she asked him why he hadn't connected the dots in sequential order. "Eli, if you draw a line with your pencil between the dots in the order that you count them out loud it will give you a nice picture of a cat."
"Oh, yes Mrs. X, I all ready could see it is a picture of a cat without connecting the dots in order. I wanted to see if I could make a picture that was more interesting."
She wasn't sure how to tell me after school that my son needed some encouragement from home to just follow directions on school projects and not attempt to "improve them on his own".
Kindergarten was just the beginning of another 12 years of misunderstood creativity at school.
So, if you have incredibly artistic and creative children who tend to follow the beat of a different drummer than the school system and learning community they are in, don't despair. They will survive and so will you. Encourage them to continue on their chosen path even if they have to spend a bit of extra time learning and understanding the point of some school rules and class exercises, even if some of the other kids at school think they are wierd and even if some of the teachers become annoyed by their more creative behaviour and attitudes. In the end it will be worth it as they graduate and spend their lives happily pursuing those creative interests that were so misunderstood when they were growing up.
My son is so happy as an artist and art gallery curator. He has a Masters degree and sells many of his paintings to art collectors. He is surrounded by people who suffered the same indignities and lack of understanding when they were growing up and now they are content and successful in their creative fields of endeavor.
Thank you so much Mrs. X for being one of the handful of teachers who understood that my son was walking a different path and encouraging ME to encourage him to continue along his way.