The Creativity Cure

A do-it-yourself prescription for happiness

College Hysteria and Your Own Two Hands: Part Two

Getting off the prestige bus may save your life.

Let’s talk about Your Own Two Hands. 

If using Your Own Two Hands becomes a BIG part of every child’s education, we will all prosper.  Oncde disparaged as "blue collar"  manual skills may now be our salvation.  Research shows that there are five benefits to meaningful hand use:

  • Psychological
  • Cognitive
  • Creative
  • Economic/Practical
  • Environmental

1) Psychological: Research ( shows that purposeful hand use – making, building, putting together, creating, and even just tending to everyday household tasks elevates mood. 

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2) Cognitive: According to Frank R. Wilson, M.D. in his book The Hand: How It’s Use Shapes the Brain, Language and Culture, hand use enhances cognitive ability because it stimulates the somatosensory cortex. 

3) Creative: Tinkering fosters creativity. Researchers Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein show that the common quality of our great scientists and innovators is a life long practice of hobbies! 

4) Economical/Practical: Learning how to build from the bottom up can boost the economy according to Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum in their book That Use To Be Us. If we teach kids how to make things from the ground up we can become manufacturers, makers and creators again. 

5) Environmental: Making things ourselves with our own two hands renders us resourceful. We can reuse, reduce, and save by repairing our broken items rather than throwing them away and buying new ones. This protects our environment and engenders a “Look Ma, I made it myself” feeling.

 Using our own two hands fills a primal need and provides internal satisfaction.

What about giving your kid a tool to make a box rather than living in one?  What if they make the meal on Sunday, however simple?

Our 10-year old twins pulled this off in a surprising way yesterday. They served left over angel hair pasta, lettuce and tomatoes and peppers and cut up peaches all in nice bowls with serving spoons. They set the table too. Really, we were just trying to get them out of our hair so we could talk to Michael, our contractor. But science is involved. Their somatosensory cortexes were stimulated. They donned aprons, a fake mustache and a French accent while serving.   

You CAN get off the prestige bus, say no to college hysteria, protect your child’s future and eat a peach. It just takes a little courage and trust in your instincts. 


Carrie Barron, M.D., is a psychiatrist and co-author of The Creativity Cure: A Do-It Yourself Prescription for Happiness, which she wrote with her husband, Alton Barron.


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