The Brontë sisters, the Dumas brothers, A S Byatt and Margaret Drable, Warren Beauty and Shirley Mc Laine, the Ribisi family, the Phoenixes, the Arquettes… One of the things that most fascinates me about the world is the topic of creative families. Why do certain families raise not one, but several creative geniuses?
(if you don’t understand Spanish, you can read below)
It’s simplistic to assume the reason for it is that they grew up in a certain sector, with an environment that favoured it. Some haven’t inherited their profession from their family (Henry Miller and her daughter write but their parents were tailors). Others are geniuses in different fields (the brother of the actor James Franco is an incredible sculptor).
The first person to study the possibility of a genetic component was Francis Galton, a psychologist of the XIX century who wanted to prove that creativity was not a “magic gift” with which certain geniuses were born; rather something that was inherited. But to prove these studies it was first necessary to discover DNA.
A recent study from Cornell University discovered that creative geniuses do in fact share not only certain stretches of DNA, but also a different brain structure (a smaller corpus callosum).
Yet, these studies also showed that there are other factors beyond the bounds of biology. Creative families:
-Have values, not rules: these are families where all members, even the little ones, know what is important and what is not. Where, instead of “you cannot do that because it’s a no-no” or “because I said so”, dialogue is promoted to explain the reason behind the “no-no” or the children are aided into finding out the reason for themselves.
-Appreciate, respect and encourage artistic activities as much other types: these are not the “only lawyer or doctor” type of families. They value the arts and invest time and money in it (they fill their houses with artworks and books, visit museums and theatres…)
-There is lightness and humour around mistakes: these parents laugh when they mess up, try new things without fear, accept their defects.
-Seek connections: they search for people or courses to satisfy the curiosity or interests of their kids.
-And most importantly: these are families where parents allow themselves to create: if they have a creative passion, they explore it without feeling guilty of “stealing” time from their kids. Their children grow up understanding the importance of taking the time to cultivate your own interests and passions.
Do you recognize some of these patterns in your family? Which is your favorite creative family? Leave me your comments! I’ll talk a bit more about this in two weeks with a new video dedicated to the importance of allowing yourself to create.