Creativity Means Planning Ahead

Sand Castle

A few weeks ago our family packed up the car and headed to Maine to celebrate the 4th of July. The weather, though a bit on the warm side, was perfect for the beach. The kids and I strolled to the beach with my sister, my brother, my uncle, and a bunch of friends. We had about a dozen kids in tow. Soon enough everyone was settled in and the kids set out to build sand structures. As I watched the kids playing, it reminded me how important planning ahead can be to creativity and innovation.

Both of my boys were by the water creating moats. Each child had built a circular defense system to protect against the incoming tide. My oldest son was having a blast. As the tide came in, he yelled over to a bunch of the kids and enlisted their help against the rushing water. One of the kids brought a shovel and started expanding the height of the wall, while another kid laid in front of the sand structure to divert the water away. The shouting, laughing, giggling and barking of orders caught the attention of passersby. People began commenting on how much fun the kids were having.

Meanwhile, my younger son was quietly playing by himself. His structure was exactly the same as his brother’s – the only difference was the location. My younger son’s sand structure was 10 feet closer to the shore. Spying the frenetic activity ensuing at his brother’s site, my younger son looked at me and stated (with a deadpan expression), “I planned ahead.” The adults within earshot howled with laughter. My younger son gave them a polite smile, then, with a calm and leisurely pace, he continued to build out his moat.

Lesson learned. When it comes to creativity, success is not about the fan fare or the chaos. Success may lie in planning ahead!




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