Sir Ken Robinson passed away last month at age 70. He still has the most popular Ted Talk of all time, Do Schools Kill Creativity? and has written numerous books on creativity. As someone who struggled in school I often felt like I was broken. His speeches and books are a great inspiration to me and give me great hope for the future.
In his Ted Talk, he tells a story about Gillian Lynne. As a child she was restless and her mother thought she may have had a learning disorder so she took her to the doctor. After watching Gillian dance around the room to the radio that was playing, the doctor said to her mother, “Gillian isn’t sick – she’s a dancer”. Her mother took her to a dance school and later in life she graduated from the Royal Ballet school, founded her own dance company and would go on to be part of some of the biggest stage productions in history. Robinson says “someone else may have put her on medication and told her to calm down.” If that would have happened, we would have lost someone who brought joy to millions and our lives wouldn’t be so bright. It frightens me to think how many people this has happened to and how much creative genius we’ve missed out on.
These kids aren’t broken. They see life differently than others. I hope we can harness that because I think it would make the world a better place. I hope educators will watch this and listen to the message and not recommend medication as a way to get a kid to fall in line. Instead of seeing their actions as a distraction, try to look for the beauty and genius and encourage them to follow it with all their heart.
If you’re interested in learning more about Sir Ken Robinson, here are some of his books: