Recently, a parent who is also a teacher, asked me on behalf of a friend to offer some advice on how to ensure that her child will grow up to exemplify a sense of higher conscientiousness. In moments like these, past recollections come to mind of parents having inquired about methods, ideas or techniques that might assist them in raising their children’s aptitudes for one particular trait or another, which they believe to be of the utmost importance. Sought after advice comes in various contexts and requests, such as “I just want my child to be ~ smart and successful” or, “just be able to use good judgment in all matters”, or “have good manners and social behavior” or, “be happy and know the value of hard work”, “live his passion”, “be a good critical thinker”, “get along with everyone”, “contribute something to the world”, “use free will responsibly”, “make good decisions”, “have common sense”, etc.
I often respond by asking, “well what about creativity, or intuition”? The response for this question is “what about them?” – followed by a reiteration regarding their original request. Some folks reply with, “yeah, those are ‘okay’, but what really concerns me are success and responsibility (or, happiness and making smart decisions, etc.).”
Again, I probe and press on saying, “just out of curiosity, what would be your definition of creativity, and intuition”? It is here that I get quaint and vague answers, which are justifiable since they feel the traits of intuition and creativity have lesser values. Then I ask their definition of their original request, whatever their top-of-the-list, or very sought after quality is, such as conscientiousness.
In practically every case, the definitions for these “more important qualities” are as indistinct and ambiguous as their definitions for the “unimportant” qualities of creativity and intuition. At this point I realize that offering distinct direction for an indistinct definition is going to be somewhat of a challenge, because, unless we agree on a same or similar definition, we may as well be having two different conversations where never the twain shall meet. This in itself is the definition of a sad truth, where people use same words with different meanings, each believing their meaning to be the truer one.....