Last week, I wrote about the three framed books which are adjacent to my diplomas. Yes, Dr. Seuss is more than just a children's author to me. A Dartmouth graduate, Theodor Seuss Geisel is someone who was able to sum up life in quick lessons.
In the first of this series, I wrote about Oh, the Places You'll Go and "It's Up to You." Next to that book in my daily sightline is: Oh the Thinks You Can Think! with the phrase underneath saying, "Think Outside the Box!" This book "made the frame" for a couple of reasons. First, it is about the many amazing 'thinks' one can think-- and the endless possibilities and dreams that imagination can create. Life doesn't have to be packaged in the small box of "that's the way we've always done it." There is always another way to do something, think about something, and come up with new solutions.
No, these days, maybe I don't spend a lot of time thinking about a "SCHLOPP, schlopp, Schloop, with a cherry on top." I have, however, thought a lot about the programs and services that we need to offer at the Hanford Center. I have spent a lot of time thinking about how to best serve the students and members of the Hanford community especially in these days of State budget cuts! Let me tell you, when thinking about the State Budget, a schlopp with a cherry on top sounds MUCH more exciting! Seriously, as the State budget shrinks for community colleges and the students of the area line-up to be served-thinking is an important mix in the solutions!
Second, this book reminds me of Seussical the Musical. In the opening song, it says, "Oh, the thinks you can think! Oh, the thinks you can think If you're willing to try... If you open your mind, Oh, the thinks you will find. Lining up to get loose... Oh, the thinks you can think..."
Isn't that what education is all about? Not a faculty member lecturing on the subject and the student soaking it up? Yes, the actual knowledge is important, but I would argue that another important part of it is learning to think. Many K-12 standards these days are based on critical thinking. And yes, my colleagues in the philosophy department would say, "Kristin, critical thinking and creative thinking are not the same." My response, I understand, but I believe they are more effective together than separate.
Can you grow creativity? Absolutely! Organizations such as Odyssey of the Mind promote creativity in Kindergarten through College. (If you are looking for some creative kids - Hanford High School is hosting the regional competition this Saturday, February 19!) Buffalo State University even has an International Center for Studies in Creativity. On the Center's website it says? "Why study creativity?....because your brain will thank you!" It then lists reasons from problem solving to adapt to our changing environments and from building effective leadership to enhancing learning. That's why we should learn to be creative!
Seuss tell us,
"When your thinks have run dry,
In the blink of an eye
There's another think there!
If you open your mind,
Oh, the thinks you will find
Lining up to get loose!
Oh, the thinks you can think"
So next time you feel stuck and don't know what to do, just...THINK!