It was an incredible honor to co-chair the Children’s Museum of Houston Friends & Family luncheon this week with my beautiful, talented, and class-act of a friend, Divya Brown. The proceeds from the luncheon provide crucial support for the Children’s Museum to keep its exhibits and programming accessible to all of Houston’s families, regardless of their income. The Museum welcomes over 816,000 visitors annually, offering free admissions to 34% of its visitors and also provides community based programming including early childhood education and parenting workshops to more than 315,000 parents and children at locations throughout the community at shelters, schools, after school care centers, places of faith, and libraries. Wherever children and families gather, The Children’s Museum of Houston connects with them to deliver educational resources and hands-on learning, and to raise awareness about all that the Museum can offer.
Our featured speaker, Michelle Lee, is leader of the Digital Kids Team at IDEO. IDEO is a leading design and innovation firm ranked as one of the most innovative companies in the world. Michelle enlightened us with her perspectives regarding the relationship between play and innovation, along with the importance of playful exploration and risk-taking.
Lee delivered a dynamic message on fostering creativity and innovation through play, including having the audience pair up to walk through the design process themselves and create a secret handshake. There was so much energy in Michelle’s presentation and in the room! Her whole presentation was really centered around cultivating creative confidence, in children and in adults (because we can still learn, too!), but especially in today’s children who are typically over scheduled and yes, even over parented (guilty!).
Here are the key takeaways on cultivating creative confidence.
1) It’s OK to be messy. Especially for kids! It shows how hard they played. Michelle had great advice for us parents: create an area of your home, even a corner of a room, where the kids can do whatever they want. Cover the walls and floor with paper and let them have fun!
2) Failure and risk-taking go hand in hand. You have to try to see if it works! Kids are so much more resilient than we are. Just think if every time a tower of blocks toppled that a child would walk away and say “well, I guess blocks aren’t my thing!”. They don’t – they try try try again.
3) It’s not about being the fastest (or busiest). Probably the sentence that resounded the most with me was “creativity is sparked with the pressure is off to be right the first time”. Isn’t that true for all of us? Michelle showed us a graphic of brainstorm ideas, and it showed where the real genius ideas started to fly – – – towards the end of the brainstorm, when everyone was warmed up, feeling comfortable with the group, and letting the ideas fly.
4) Fresh eyes pique curiosity. For adults and for kids – get out there and explore!
5) Play doesn’t have to be confined to recess. According to Michelle the opposite of play is not work. It’s boredom. I don’t know about you, but this nearly made me cry.
I felt overwhelmed with gratitude when we spoke, looking out over the audience I saw so many friends, including my son’s teacher and principal, my blogger girls, and moms who have become like family. Here are a few of the highlights below:
We got innovative with the flowers! They were donated from Trader Joe’s (shout out to TJ’s! Than you!). And the new company started by two talented friends, Philanthropic Fetes, provided the vases and flower arranging. They looked so beautiful and as a bonus we were able to sell them for additional donations. Thank you, Anika and Staci. Be sure to check out Philanthropic Fetes!
After a delicious lunch, guests were gifted with a sweet treat as they walked out the door: one of the new cookies from Sprinkles – wait, what? Cookies?! It’s true. They’ve expanded into cookies, and I have to say the salted oatmeal cornflake cookie might just change your life.
Big huge thank yous to the entire team at the Children’s Museum for letting me be a part of this year’s luncheon. I loved working with you all and so impressed at the amount of talent and passion you all bring to the Museum every day.
Overall, it was an incredible day and my heart is full beyond measure. We learned from Michelle, we had a great meal, laughed with friends, and most importantly, raised nearly $114,000 for the Museum’s early childhood and parenting programs. I mean – how incredible is that?! Thank you! Big thanks to the Chron and Lights Camera Action for writing about our event!
And I can’t let you all go without telling you the details of what I’m wearing! I purchased this red lace Lover the Label dress specifically for the event from Baanou, my favorite boutique in Houston! I’m wearing it with simple nude shoes and my pyrite statement ring from Christina Greene Designs, also a Houston designer!
Photography by Wilson Parish.