Why children are not Sink of Sermons?


For long, we have dealt with the children as sink of our sermons. No matter what, no matter where, adults have a habit of advising them, often cursing their behaviour and sometimes chiding them for their playfulness. Children understand that and learn to play games with us. They recall that when they were infants, they were rewarded for making similar faces as adults made. If they reciprocated a smile, they were often hugged, else, had to hear taunts even at that age. They were tickled to stick a smile on their face even if they did not feel like. They know how this world rewards conformity and copying, imitation and compliance.
It is not surprising that the same children sometimes carry these learnings into their adulthood. However, as is well known, Honey Bee Network has been trying to tap their creativity and innovative potential as a part of national inclusive innovation system. On Nov 19, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam will recognize such 28 children selected out of 27,000 children in Ignite Function organized by National Innovation Foundation at IIMA. We would witness that children are not only impatient, curious, empathetic but also much more creative than many adults. Many of us have known about the problems, or unmet social needs and we have tried to comment on them blame government or companies for not doing enough but seldom have we tried to solve them. Children don’t want to live with problems unsolved for too long. They want to see solutions here and now. That is a very redeeming feature of our times. While we learned to live with problems unsolved indefinitely, children don’t want to do it, we are entering a very interesting, optimistic and promising period of human history.
But then who are the biggest enemy of the creativity of children? Parents and Teachers. Look at any children science congress, more than 90, if not 99 per cent projects are designed, conceived and delivered are by parents and or teachers. Children, often like a parrot, regurgitate the script. Is that the best way to bring out the creativity of our children? Should we teach children at an early age that it is a moral and normal behaviour to claim somebody else’s ideas (even if they are one’s parents and teachers) as one’s own? Then ministers of education complain that we don’t have much original research or innovations in our country. The planners don’t realize that they have worked hard to bring up our children on the diet of imitation and unacknowledged copying.
What do we do then to remedy the situation? We should as parent, teachers, organizers of science congresses, district science exhibitions and other such melas decide not to encourage teacher and parent led experiments, demonstrations, models etc. India must put a stop to this institutionalized charade. We will see in one year enormous gain in unfolding creativity and innovativeness of children’s thinking and acting potential.
Parents must let children struggle, cry for help but must be forced to think on their own and do their projects their way. There are a large number of companies set up by young engineers and also others who sell projects to children. Everybody in the education system knows about them. SRISTI started techpedia.in mainly to promote originality among tech students and link them with the unsolved problems of the society, grassroots innovators and small entrepreneurs. Should we not upload children projects also on line? How will they do what has been done already? How will they claim something as their own when somebody else might have already put the same idea up on the web, say creativechildren.in
It is time that India decides to build upon a historic opportunity offered by impatient, empathetic and socially sensitive children. They need just a small part of the sky to fly, a small part of the earth to express their vision, a small space in our heart to permit them to be, just To Be.


Visiting Faculty, IIM Ahmedabad & IIT Bombay and an independent thinker, activist for the cause of creative communities and individuals at grassroots, tech institutions and any other walk of life committed to make this world a more creative, compassionate and collaborative place