From the perspective of the creative, direction (channeling) and stifling look very similar. Ultimately, it’s the end goal that determines the difference. Channeling is about helping the creation be the most effective, most powerful it can be. Stifling is about eliminating a threat, whether that threat is direct (ie: being offended) or indirect (ie: fear of your child’s career because they’re “wasting time” on the arts).
One challenge for the creative: finding the right mentors. As youth, our mentors and leaders are chosen for us. Think teachers, pastors, camp counselors…you get the picture. Generally, finding the right mentor to trust is act of pure luck. As we get older, and (hopefully) wiser and more aware, we are able to be more direct about choosing who we let into those positions of trust. But even as youth, it’s often possible to determine the difference, and, thus, put the stifling actions off to the side.
On the other end, it’s important for us leaders to direct, to channel, to help the creatives around us maximize their voice. Part of that is getting the right challenges in front of the right minds. Part of it is to relax our egos and hear the voices of the different. And, the biggest part, is to focus on that caring, compassionate core and focus on bringing the best out in everyone around us.