A Pack of Ramen and a Dream
I can vividly recall sitting down as a child to eat a bowl of ramen, made gourmet only by a melted slice of cheese. I looked at the steaming bowl of cheesy ramen and exclaimed, “One day, I’m gonna have enough money to buy all the ramen noodles in the world!”
This may sound strange to those who know ramen as the au courant addition to trendy meals and salads. But there’s another world of people in America who ate ramen most of their childhood because it was one of the most affordable food items.
My reason for staking claim over all the ramen in the world was the latter, and I made bold claims like this all the time. I was an imaginative child because imagination was free and always readily available.
Considering that 1 in every 7 children in America lives in poverty according to the most recent U.S. Census Poverty Data, I think it’s safe to assume that they are imaginative for the very same reason — their creativity and daydreams are always at their disposal.
And yet, America is believed to be in a “creativity crisis,” a term made popular by Kyung Hee Kim when he assessed the creativity of almost 300,000 kids and adults using the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. When his findings were published in 2011, he noted that the decline of creativity is most serious for children in kindergarten up to the sixth grade.
Do I believe we have a creativity crisis? Absolutely. And it is a lack of creative thinking that makes people less receptive to new ideas. They become stuck in their ways, so to speak. And Americans experience this stuckness in the political arena and at the dinner table, places where people fight about who’s right and refuse to open their minds to new possibilities.
But I also think there is a more insidious reason behind the creativity crisis in young people. I believe children are just as creative as they’ve ever been, even while in school; there seems to be a creativity crisis because so many of these kids are living in poverty. As a result, their creativity is underestimated and overlooked.
The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows” — Sydney J. Harris