It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. Suddenly, out of the blue, little Johnny or little Ashley confides, “I don’t care whether or not I make a lot of money, I want to do something creative.” In an instant, over a decade of hopes and dreams are dashed to the ground, college savings accounts are rendered futile, and the value of love itself is brought into question. In the months that follow marriages collapse, shame is inescapable, suicides are frequent. What can be done?
Psychologists have debated the nature or nurture question for decades: are people just born creative owing to some genetic defect, or is this creative urge a result of something the parents did – something dark and twisted? Perhaps it’s a combination of both. Perhaps parents who are dark and twisted are more likely to contribute bad genes and ruin their offspring. Perhaps this dark, twisted, creative gene is latent in both parents. The reality is that no matter how dark and twisted the parents might be, nobody wants to be burdened with the humiliation of having raised a creative child.
Debating fault isn’t going to turn Ashley into a stockbroker, however, nor will it make it any easier for Johnny to appreciate the incalculable civic virtue inherent in the pay-day loan industry. We asked our team of top parental guidance professionals for a list of steps that new parents can take right now to protect their children from the danger of growing up creative.
1) Make your child a big breakfast with two fried eggs, bacon, beans, etc. Your child will not be able to resist using the two eggs as eyes and arranging the plate to look like a face. When she does, hit her!
2) Accidentally on purpose leave your child alone in the minivan with a thick black pen and a notebook while you go and get your hair done. When you come back check to see if he has drawn any pictures. If he has, hit him! If he hasn’t, buy him a 6,000 calorie bubblegum flavor Big Gulp to prove to him that you love him.
3) Teach your child to despise music. Whenever music is played unexpectedly always adopt a disgusted tone and say, “When will people ever learn that music is only meant for elevators?” If you are actually in an elevator and music starts playing say, “Why do they always play the elevator music too loudly?” Always point out grubby buskers and explain how valueless the coins are and that grubby buskers are invariably supported by some sort of welfare scam that they are running on the side. Point out that the least bad musician of all time was Mozart and that even he was buried in a pauper’s grave. Point out that Mozart could have worked at minimum wage and invested his money wisely and lived a long life. He could have made something of himself.
4) Show your child graphic pictures of children who have been killed or mutilated while attempting to be creative: “Here’s what happened to a boy who built his own parachute,” “Here’s what happened to a girl who made her own sun tan lotion. Look how ugly she is now!”
5) Show your daughter glossy photos of happy-looking women, preferably celebrities (Disney celebrities are best of all). Explain how women don’t have to think of how to dress themselves or decide what their values are because they have qualified magazine editors who can do that for them. Explain to her how thinking is a cause of premature aging. If she questions this premise, hit her! Have her write out 500 times, “Thinking makes me sad and sad people are ugly.” Have her pin it up next to the mirror.
6) Buy your child a box of Lego. Leave him alone for half an hour. If he has built something, hit him! If he explains that it is too hard and not worth the trouble, or if he has simply stacked the blocks in one big unimaginative column, praise him and pat him on the head. Remember, it’s always good to catch your children doing something unimaginative and then reward them for it! If he has not even opened the box, buy him a gun to show him how much you love him.
7) Breakfast again. Ask your child how she slept the night before. If she mentions any dreams, take away her breakfast. Have her write out 500 times, “Today’s dirtiest gutters are full of yesterday’s biggest dreamers.” Have her post it to her wall in front of her bed.
8) Take your child to one of those awful parts of town where creative people hang out. Explain how creativity leads to alcohol and drug abuse and give him all the details concerning the unspeakable diseases that are prevalent in the creative community. Point out all the graffiti and explain how honest, unimaginative people have to clean all that up. If he likes the graffiti, hit him!
9) Ask your child to list all the ways that money can buy happiness. Go over the list with him and praise him for each entry. If there is anything creative on the list like “I could buy a box of paints,” hit him!
10) Have a serious talk with your child about happiness. Explain to her how people were born miserable and that human history was always miserable until money came along. After we invented money we started buying things and that made us happy. Show her some of those dreary blue paintings by Picasso to teach her how miserable people who don’t have money are. If she likes the pictures, hit her!
11) Tell your child the story about the widow’s mite. Why was this woman so stupid that a mite was all she had. Explain how this old crow could have invested her money sensibly and have been virtually guaranteed 8%. Why hadn’t she got another man yet? Explain that she was probably not pretty enough. Point out that Jesus did not say the old crow would get into heaven although he was constantly making that promise to other people. Let your children know that Jesus won’t love them either if they don’t make good money. If they protest, hit them!
12) Buy your children a pet that won’t live very long, such as a goldfish. Call it Mozart. When it dies, bury it in the back garden and put up a great big cross that says Mozart on it. Remark how ironic it is that both Mozart the goldfish and Mozart the composer died young and penniless. Tell your children that you will think of the composer whenever you notice the cross in the garden. If the fish doesn’t die quickly enough, put the bowl in full view of the afternoon sun. That usually does the trick.
Above all, the number one rule for preventing creativity in children is this: never, ever, under any circumstances allow them to make a mess. Except when out hunting.