Collaborate with people you can learn from. — Pharrell

This is one of the best pieces of advice I can share with you. When you and your children listen to, respect and ask questions of “people who know,” you learn with and from them. They do not need to be experts with an M.D., Ph.D., or any other degree; they need to have a passion for exploring and patience and willingness to share. They might be parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, neighbors or just friends. They need to be interested in wholesome things, not experimenting with drugs, alcohol or immoral behavior.

Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one they sprung up. — Oliver Wendell Holmes

Keep a notebook to increase creativity. Collect and preserve creative ideas and places. Free up your and your children’s mental space and energy for other tasks. Jot down ideas as soon as they occur to you. This helps to retain the ideas and build on them for yourself.

Retaining ideas in this manner also gives you and your children the opportunity to review them as you need to remember them for developing your own new ideas. You do not need to think up things on your own, but maybe to just get a better idea or build one differently.

If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. — Isaac Newton

Have your children draw pictures or create digital imagery to represent what they are thinking. The physical act of doing art stimulates the brain. Creating art helps the brain become more active and opens up further opportunities in other areas. Enjoying your favorite music promotes mindful thinking, combats stress, and inspires greater productivity and creativity.

Help your children to communicate by having your own family “show and tell” at the end of the school week where you give each child the opportunity to show through drawing, sharing a video or just talking about what they learned in school that week. If they did an activity with a friend, invite the friend to visit and share. Maybe as the parents, you can share a book or story that will urge your family to think of other ways.

With the 4 Cs approach, children develop greater capacities for resilience, grit, empathy, unselfishness, and the ability to think and work with others. They use their brains to inspire more productive learning, curiosity, respect for others with opposing ideas, even doubt because they want to explore what is true and right. Sometimes society forgets that parents also need to be able to think critically and creatively to provide for their families.

Children need to be encouraged to be Critical thinkers and Creators to discover, uncover and explore their world so they can Communicate and Collaborate outcomes that fashion new ideas and new ways to save our planet. But remember, if your children do not have the basic tools to learn, if they have not retained how to attack new words and new ideas and remember basic math and money facts, they will have a hard time discovering creative ways to use these tools.

Southern Arizona resident Bette Mroz is a former teacher, reading specialist and principal. As a mother and grandmother, she continues to help her family learn. She can be contacted at

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