We take a departure from the sports banter for a bit to reflect on the passing of Steve Jobs. I did not know Mr. Jobs, I bought his products and loved his vision. His death is sad, but not a tragedy. The tragedy is that the world we live in today, in the U.S. especially, stifles imagination and creativity amongst young people. We are obsessed with, and somewhat rightly, with making sure young people constantly keep up and make the grade, and when budget cuts come, the programs that are cut are the arts and athletics because they are graded less by those who do the funding than traditional subjects.
The world will mourn Steve Jobs passing, talk of his Edison-like career and his innovation and then go back to where we were before. That is a world that Apple has helped create by the way, a world where the here and now is what we deal with, because the information is at our fingertips. Now what should happen is teachers, and more importantly administrators and parents, should pause and think about how they can help those people around us be inspired to be creative and use that creativity and innovation to be the next Steve Jobs…the Steve Jobs of politics, of health care reform, of baseball, of math, of music…be the best Steve Jobs at whatever your passion is. Not everyone, probably no one, will be of that high creative level at first, but over time, the little creative achievements will add up, and hopefully they will be rewarded.
No creativity and passion don’t always pay the bills. We need balance in all things. However what Steve Jobs was great at was conveying a vision and executing that vision, and we need to be able to inspire others to do the same, not stifle them. Yes it is sad, the passing of a man, just like the passing of Shel Silverstein or Jim Henson was sad when we lost them.
The tragedy would be if we continue to stifle creativity in exchange for obsession. We always need a little more creativity in what we do. That was his genius, more so than the products he created.
And on we go…