Imagination: Not a child's play

Dr Sumedha Kushwaha
There is a famous old saying that "All that glitters is not gold". We often mistake and judge people around us with the fancy tags they carry with them, their bank balance and the luxuries in which they live. The criterion of judging someone should be beyond the size of the car someone owns and the number of degrees behind a person's name. The difference of having degrees and being educated is immense. The ability to handle and manage people and circumstances is the measure of how learned a person is. And innovative problem solving capabilities has a fancier name "Design Thinking".
We are pushing our children to read more, solve tougher math problems, read about the laws of physics and balance chemical equations. But in reality, we all know, that these are not the problems life is going to pose to them. Life pushes onto you problems of a different genre. The sad part is -most of the questions in life are out of syllabus and most answers which are correct for you are incorrect for the world around. Time never is enough to solve one problem, that another creeps in and takes your attention. The sadder part is, the worst grades on the karmic report card are highlighted and remembered even if we graduate to another cycle of birth and death.
Yet, we tell our children, to concentrate more on learning conventional math tables rather than empowering their imagination and innovation to solve major world problems. We inherently despise them because we are so bounded and chained by our ideals and morals and we cannot think free. So, we tell them-No you are a child, when I can't find a solution to climate change, how can you ?
I am not anti-education. But when you close your eyes and think about school, what do you remember ? Do you think its the algebraic expressions that matter ?  What matters is the values you learnt, the lessons of punctuality, the importance of discipline, the friends you made, the beatings you got, the stage fright you conquered or succumbed to, the ability to mend relations after a fight, the bully whom you were so afraid of and the teacher who made you feel like you are the best child in the world. Education was just flowing in the school. It wasn't necessarily bound to the classroom. But we have misunderstood the entire system and are pushing our children to become better than others.
It is time we enable and empower the younger generation to rise and shine. These bright minds have the capability to imagine. We adults generally can't create new things, but are excellent in finding different ways of copying better. Day dreaming is not different from ideation when done with a purpose. It's high time we stop telling them to become doctors and engineers. But encourage them to also look into options of  becoming politicians, humanitarians, climate change activists, social entrepreneurs, footballers, gymnasts and astronauts.A child's life is not limited by his own talent or capability but by the limited vision of the guardian. If you are a parent or a school teacher or an elder sibling or a grandparent - observe how different each child behaves so differently and innovative-ly to the same problem and then observe how we adults behave so similar to all our problems! Wish you a happy weekend.
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