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Get the creative juices flowing

By DENNIS DOUGHTY • Feb 8, 2019 at 2:00 PM

On Feb. 1, I had opportunity to participate in my 23rd grant awards ceremony sponsored by Fisher-Titus Health.

Incredibly over the past 23 years almost one-million grant dollars has been distributed to area schools. This event represents an incredible partnership between our local hospital and our area schools. Certainly this event is something to be celebrated, but there is even more to consider.

For the past 23 years I’ve listened to area health, science and math teachers talk about innovative and creative programs they have been able to establish in their schools because of these largely unrestricted grant dollars by Fisher-Titus. It is amazing to think about what these teachers are able to do when given an opportunity to have some discretionary funds slated for creativity.

As a long-time educator, I simply get excited to see the creativeness of staff and students so focused. I look as those funds provided by Fisher-Titus Medical Center, their doctors and board members as a creative spark. It really reminded me that often our creativity is boxed in by our own failure to think outside the box. I look at our teachers and am inspired by their willingness to step it up and get things done.

I put together a few ideas that might help all of us become more inspired and more creative, especially when working with children.

1. Believe in your ability to solve unique problems. When you have an idea, share it with someone else. Take the time to talk it though. You might be surprised that your ideas may be bridged by someone else’s ideas.

2. Be sure your creativeness is aligned with the organizational goals of your organization. My daughter and I often discuss creative ways she would like to approach students in the classrooms where she is working. Part of my task, always the administrator, is to remind her of the classroom and school rules. Her plans have to fit within that structure or at least be mindful of that structure.

3. Be aware that your ideas may flop but your failure may provide additional ideas and answers. Many great inventions or creative processes happened inadvertently. Always understand that “chance” can enhance your creativity.

4. Don’t be afraid to invest time in your creativity and develop your ideas more fully. To do things well takes time. Plan it, work the plan, redo it and achieve it.

5. Do the research to make sure you’re not re-inventing the wheel. While something might already have been done, it is okay to improve upon it.

6. People may try to shut you down — telling you not to waste your time. While you should listen to constructive criticism, don’t let negative comments stop you and your creative thinking.

I am mindful of my oldest son wanting to design roller coasters when he was very young. He took time to make and create his own miniature coaster out of popsicle sticks. It was complete with banked tracks and steep hills. Stated quite simply, it really worked.

While he doesn’t design coasters, he is a mechanical engineer by trade. Those early ideas and thoughts planted the seeds to go to engineering school. And, perhaps one day, he will design rollercoasters. …

Local columnist Dennis Doughty is the president of Norwalk Catholic School.

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