Unharnessed Thinking

This post was picked by Blogadda for its Spicy Saturday Picks. Thank you Blogadda and Sols!


In my working life, we used to have a lot of workshops and courses aimed at making us think beyond boundaries, to help us work out ‘out of the box solutions’, to unleash our creativity.

Most of us used to struggle to find these magical, outlandish ideas which would provideย  wonderful solutions to our clients while staying within the budget. I am not sure how much these workshops actually helped, but it certainly opened our minds to other possibilities, than the steady stuff that we were used to. It also helped a lot of us think and look beyond what was obvious, so I think they did make some difference.ย  In today’s competitive world, creativity and the ability to think beyond the norms is what is going to count. Companies that innovate, that try to better what they do, that strive to excel are what are the most successful.

It was after my daughter was born, that I really appreciated how staid and strait-jacketed my own thinking was. Something ordinary and regular for me , would be interpreted in a totally novel way by my daughter, when she saw something the first time. It just reminded me how creative we were as young children, and how slowly and steadily, our thinking gets restrained by the limits set by society in various forms. The creativity that we are born with gets stifled in so many ways.

Right from childhood, if a child is not encouraged to try out different things and fail, she might never learn how to succeed. For example a child who fails at something he tried and does not get the necessary support from his parents, might never try something out the next time, and a truly brilliant thinker might just have been killed. Similarly in workplaces, if a team member comes up with a weird idea, but is suppressed or ridiculed, might never voice his ideas again and a really creative idea that might have come from him, might just never happen.

I find that I subconsciously do it, without even realising it. The other day, we bought a paint-it-yourself piggy bank for daughter. Now they had provided a bunch of paints and ideas to paint it. Daughter decided that it would be more fun to paint random colours all over and for a minute, I was going to guide her to follow the patterns provided, when I realised that I might just be stifling her creativity. If I cannot let her original thinking guide her for painting a piggy bank, would I ever encourage her later, with any thing creative? What difference would it make if her piggy bank looked a little different, after all?

This is how her piggy bank looked in the end ๐Ÿ™‚


And could you guess what was in her mind when she painted this? Apparently this was not just general doodling – it is supposed to be something – according to daughter!


Answer in the next post, lets see how many of you get it right ๐Ÿ™‚ I certainly did not!

112 thoughts on “Unharnessed Thinking

  1. Good topic Smitha. And that piggy bank looks great.

    The piggy bank looks like a child went crazy on it ๐Ÿ™‚

    Poohi will have lot of us stumped on this one ๐Ÿ˜‰ Looks like fighter jets to me ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Answer in the next post ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Gosh I promise I didn’t see Lakshmi’s comment when I clicked ur post ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

      Yeah right ๐Ÿ™‚ We totally completely believe that ๐Ÿ™‚ btw Have you watched Charlie and Lola?

      • Lolz was she trying to make the chicken in the barn in that cartoon? or is it a rainbow??

        Hey the second pic is of all those butterflies that is shown when the cartoon begins right?

        Will let you know in the next post ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. The piece of art looks great Smi, kids teach us or maybe remind us so many things…

    now out of the blue if u ask us to guess what was in her mind, its gonna be really touch ๐Ÿ˜‰ you .. at least one or two clues to banta hai.. and wats the 2nd pic about?

    • Tara – I wish I could give you clues – but being as uncreative as I am – I would give it away ๐Ÿ™‚ It is very simple actually – but I never even thought of it – I thought it was just some stuff she doodled when she told me what it was that she was making ๐Ÿ™‚

        • ok, lemme put my lame guesses here.
          flying kite or balloons
          or pigs footsteps or maybe duck’s..

          and she has painted the piggy to make it look like a pig.. full of colors..

          dont! please dont laugh at me now ๐Ÿ˜›

          and come up with your next post soon.

  3. Wow Poohi has done a cute job and you are so right abt not letting her follow the pattern that came with it. Remember many of us end up using too much salt while making cookies when we try to follow the recipe to the T :mrgreen:

    Yes, I forgot about that ๐Ÿ™‚ I guess, it is safer to let her do her thing ๐Ÿ™‚

    I love that piggy as it’s so different and colourful than the ones you normally get ๐Ÿ™‚ Ummas to Poohi and bravo to her imagination. What’s the second pic??

    You love that piggy? As Manju says, it looks like the piggy rolled in paint ๐Ÿ™‚ What’s the second pic? – you guess ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. God bless parents like you smi !!!!! beautiful and most apt post that I gotta get all parents to read !!!! let me add it to the sign posts post !!! first I ll be back to quess the quiz !

    Hitchy, parenting teaches us so much, doesn’t it? There is so much for us parents to learn from our children.

    • Done and tweetted… !!!!!!!

      that painting is tough to guess really… I kept looking at it for minutes… ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜›

      ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, I would not have guessed either ๐Ÿ™‚

      kids god… !! lemme try but… one more time…

      are they butterflies flying ??

      or lots of mountains.. ??

      Its tough I tell ya… !!! I m betting no one will be able to guess… ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

      Answer in the next post ๐Ÿ™‚ Keep guessing you never know – you might just hit on the right answer by mistake ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Came via Hitchy’s tweet, beautiful post. Only I can’t guess what your daughter has in her mind. Guess my own creativity is dead. Um, Is that a face?

    Welcome here, Poonam.

  6. Is that a duck or it is something like leaving foot marks?? Hmm dunno!!!

    I guess childhood is the stage when we are fresh with ideas and we as kids are still discovering the meaning to every new thing, defining things our way and thats why everything looks fresh & different!!! As we grow old we are set about our ideas and not ready to think out of box ๐Ÿ˜€

    That is so true. ‘childhood is the stage when we are fresh with ideas’ – Yes, I can see it with my daughter – her ideas are actually fresh and different from what we grownups perceive in the same situation!

    Lovely post I say!!! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Thank you, Smita!

  7. nope..can’t even come up with a decenet guess as to what it can be :D…such a not-so-creative person that i am…
    ๐Ÿ™‚ Same here ๐Ÿ™‚

    anyway, the piggy bank looks great.. :D..
    The piggy bank looks wierd ๐Ÿ™‚ But she’s happy ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Awesome piggyback! Creativity as it unfolds… Well, I think it is an effort to make
    1. spectacles on nose , must be inspired by some Gandhiji’s pic.
    2. a series of mountains in a plateau
    3. hen/cat – possibly

    hmm i am going clueless now!

    Goodness! You seriously overestimate my 3 1/2 year old’s creativity ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. first kids are made to think in a stereotype way by parents & society and then as adults they are asked to think out of the box. Glad for parents like u!

    ‘first kids are made to think in a stereotype way by parents & society and then as adults they are asked to think out of the box.’ – That is so true actually. I am not all that great a parent – I wish I were though..

  10. Very insightful post, Smitha!

    And the piggy looks as if he’s been rolling around in the paint-box. ๐Ÿ™‚

    That’s exactly what it looks like ๐Ÿ™‚ Typical of pigs, no ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. “Right from childhood, if a child is not encouraged to try out different things and fail, she might never learn how to succeed. For example a child who fails at something he tried and does not get the necessary support from his parents, might never try something out the next time, and a truly brilliant thinker might just have been killed.”

    True and that’s why they say let the child explore.

    Yes, and I understand why they say that more and more as I watch her grow..

    That piggy bank is absolutely gorgeous. Is it Sun, plants, her house and family? Whatever it is…give her lots of ummas from me for this treasure.

    Will let you know in the next post, Sols ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. you’re so right.Smits.Its so important to let our children be and work on their own imagination.

    Though I am tempted, many a time to guide her – but that would just not be right..

    Poohikutty’s creations look beautiful.
    The first one,from her Deeps’ aunties angle looks like a fish and the second one seems like a butterfly. was that what kunjumani had in mind or is she leagues and bounds ahead?? ๐Ÿ™‚

    ๐Ÿ™‚ Next post ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. When I was not-so-young, I went to a painting competition and painted a chariot with some mythical king and fire coming out of his mouth. Someone came along and told me that the ‘mountain’ I had painted was beautiful – that was the last painting competition I participated – See, how I learnt from a failure ๐Ÿ˜›

    Destination Infinity

  14. Hmmm… were those the footprints of the little piggy?
    Proud of you Smiths, for being a super mom! Its really important, that we don’t repeat the mistakes our teachers and parents might have done by not encouraging/supporting our creativity!

    • Oh, or was it Diwali crackers lighting up the sky?
      Maybe we should get our kids to take the guess ๐Ÿ™‚ They would probably be more in sync with each other than we adults are!

  15. Are they supposed to be footprints :-D????

    lots of bells ringing????

    her version of a rangoli????

    or ducks webbed feet????

    or balloons flying in the air????

    My kids are always bringing pictures of wht they drew & trying to make me guess….soemhow I get it right with a wild guess & they are always so awed at my intelligence :-D.
    And I brain into their heads “Mama knows everything”

  16. Thats the best dressed pig ever !! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ for all you know, she might turn out to be a designer !! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

    Some designer ๐Ÿ™‚ Govinda style, I guess ๐Ÿ™‚

    and the second snap, I guess its your foot prints going zig zag, trying to run behind her ! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€
    Yes, I would most probably look like that if I were running after her ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Wow, Poohi is quite an artist…The piggy bank looks very vibrant…

    Yes, kids are creative and we should leave them alone…My daughter also comes up with creative ideas and interpretations – I guess all children do…

    Now about the question – hmmm….My brain is really hurting from all the thinking…What could it be? Let’s see – a farm? Autumn colours? Don’t know…I guess I’ll have to wait for your next post to find out…

  18. I absolutely agree Smitha. I had read an article when my kids were young and made sure I let them try their own ideas. My family was shocked when they saw the hair cuts my daughter had given to some of her dolls, or make up on the faces, and I was told that their children never ‘messed’ their dolls, and even after years of use the dolls remained clean and as good as new ๐Ÿ˜†

    In nursery schools here the kids are made to stand in a line, and each approaches a maid (a teacher’s assistant) who hold the child’s thumb, dips it neatly in paint and presses the thumb on a piece of paper, the paper is passed to the teacher who adds a tail and four legs to the thumb print, sincerely records the child’s name on the creation and the child is given the masterpiece to take home after it has been displayed (and dried).
    When I brought it to some of the parents’ notice they said they respected discipline. I used to add non toxic colours to flour, and safe paints and newspaper and paper and had a dressing up and make up basket for them…
    I also read in Benjamin Spock’s ‘Baby and child care’ – that squishing wet mud or running sand through one’s hands, or walking barefoot, or playing with flowers or in water, scrubbing lipstick on the mouth, sliding on talcum powder on the floor.. sort of stuff is great for a child’s spirit… as much as music, painting, dancing etc.

    I have a collection of their artwork that looks like modern art but they had claimed it was our dog or an eye or me ๐Ÿ˜‰ I discarded most of the stuff that came in a decorated folder from the pre-school they went to.

    Long, long comment Smitha… your posts on parenting always touch a chord …

  19. There is usually a lot more inside a kid’s head than we think.

    You are absolutely right. We are the most creative when we are children, not yet conditioned and limited. It is not an easy balance for a parent to find between creativity on the one hand and discipline and social ‘skills’ on the other. Often they clash. That is why the most creative people are sometimes ‘dysfunctional’ in more ways than one.

  20. I don’t want to read the comments for this riddle! I noticed a frog and a deer! The next one looks like birds flying in the sky in the evening…looks like shuttle cocks too!

    What you say about encouraging children to do anything and everything they want to do, is very right, Smitha! If we parents, keep on guiding them throughout their lives, not allow them to decide upon anything, they will be dependent on some other person throughout their lives, after us. They should be self reliant, should not get scared if they face some difficulties in the future and have the guts to come through it.

    Beautiful post, Smitha! Hugs to Poohi!

  21. Lovely post Smithu .. u r so rt abt the creativity part ๐Ÿ™‚ Lots of hugs to u!

    N Poohikutty hs done a gr8 job with the piggy bank ๐Ÿ™‚ I want to have a piggy bank like that now tee hee ๐Ÿ™‚

    Nw my guesses ๐Ÿ˜‰ I hv nt read any of the comments … wil b bk after ur next post .. so that my ideas get influenced ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1) She must hv seen ur farm in farmville and tried to reproduce that ๐Ÿ˜‰
    2) Balloons
    3) Kites

    Wil b bk if I cn think of more ๐Ÿ˜›

    Kids do teach us a lot in life! I have a post somewhat related to this lying in my drafts .. I want to link this when I decide to publish it plsss!

    Loved the way u have mapped it to the workplace too! U r so rt ๐Ÿ™‚
    We hd this lovely exercise @ work once ‘Eggs can fly’ where we hd been given eggs, papers etc.. what fun we hd doing it!

  22. hmmm, an eye opener for today’s spoon feeding parents.poohi is so lucky to have u as her mom ๐Ÿ™‚
    if a child is not encouraged to try out dif… I never thought much about this before smitha .Thanks for sharing with us here.
    A person’s brain suppose to grow between 4-10 years old.That time we should make them think a lot and make them think creatively.
    @ piggy bank — no idea ๐Ÿ™‚ …first i thought something related to marine species

  23. The piggy draped a rainbow around itself-it’s lovely!

    You are so right-kids come up with unique insights and innovative workarounds every time.

    As for the pattern-I think it’s butterflies and flowers-waiting to see what she thought!

  24. each word of urs seems so apt, so true…

    I m learning lot of things from u simi….freedom and creativity is the best thing we can give to our child in early days…I always luv reading poohi’s tales ๐Ÿ™‚

    Is it farmhouse ?

    Or any animal

    or park

    or her new doll dress

    u said there is no limit to no. of guess..right ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Smiths i think they are foot prints on sand in the beach.

    Piggy bank looks so cute,treasure it smith

    Only one wall in the house is left from pinkuda’s drawings,she tries to draw circles and says round round round….. and she ask me nice no my drawings,intially i used to stop her and she used to do when i am not around but now it is has become a habit for her to draw,when ever she gets any colour pencil she draws with great enthu and i don’t feel like stopping her.If at the house owner tells me to pay will pay him before leaving the house.:)

    Hugs to poohi kutty ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. As IHM said, your posts on parenting strike a chord SMitha..
    it’s often the simpler things that we forget to notice and thereby end up doing big harm..
    I mean it when i say Poohi is really lucky to have a mom like you..

    @1st pic of the piggy bank.. i felt it was like an aquarium..with more greenery and 2,3 orange fishes(int he middle) floating…

    @2nd pic..no idea ๐Ÿ˜ฆ they look like a no.of badminton corks arranged randomly…
    ya i know such a weird thought i guess..
    waiting for the answer..

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  28. Nice post Smitha :)…
    Kudos to you for giving wings to her imagination…

    Creative poohi !!! ๐Ÿ™‚ thats a customized piggy bank…

    hmm interesting 2nd pic…
    Let me try…
    Its like an amateur trying to describing an artists work.. and then when I get to hear what the artist actually meant to portray..I fall flat hehe ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Pigs are supposed to play in dirt.. so it has just had its play time and left its footprints after playing.
    or are those little bags of money to be put in the piggy bank…
    hmm.. waiting for the next post…

  29. Smitha,
    very different approach. When my son does nto look into booklet for lego and randomy does something, i feel that he is lacking a skill to “see, observe and follow”. And I end up giving him instructions. I guess you bring a good point, not to restrict their creativity. Really good idea!

    I think she painted mom’s beautiful sari

    bottom one, I have no idea! may be just trying to write ‘i love you mommy’

  30. Smitha,
    very different approach. When my son does nto look into booklet for lego and randomly does something, i feel that he is lacking a skill to “see, observe and follow”. And I end up giving him instructions. I guess you bring a good point, not to restrict their creativity. Really good idea!

    I think she painted mom’s beautiful sari

    bottom one, I have no idea! may be just trying to write ‘i love you mommy’

  31. you are so right …with Akshaj its like discovering the world all over again…with his eyes ..simple things which we take for granted these kids bring a whole new thinking in each one of them.

  32. Smitha: Thhis is such a relevant post. I take my kids to the Library where they have sessions for childrena and after some stories and songs they are expected to do some craft. Its the Indian mothers who seekig perfection will not allow the child to go wild with the material provided. She will guide him all the way and the end result is a perfect piece of art/craft with almost zero creative involvement of the child.
    I can see that piggy bank is totally Poohi’s baby ๐Ÿ™‚ and its great!!!
    And as for her drawing I am clueless …my creativity is half dead…my 5 year old son thinks its a rocket and my almost 3 says its a piesh of a taiangle !!! ๐Ÿ™‚
    More than me they are really looking forward to know what it really is ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. That is one cute piggy bank. This reminded me of an incident a long time ago when my daughter was three. There was a drawing contest in our housing society and only children above the age of 5 were allowed to participate. I protested and insisted that my daughter be allowed as she was fond of drawing. Everyone was amused and said what could she draw? Anyway, they were indulgent and allowed her. She drew most beautifully, although it was a kind of modern art. It was stunning in my eyes but it was disqualified because the judge said that it didn’t resemble anything in particular! But the truth was that the way she had arranged the colours and made sense of them was wonderful. I got that but few other adults did. Anyway, my daughter was too young to know what was winning or losing but she did understand my praise. And her talent for art did grow. Today she is a designer, who graduated from NID.
    I think adults try and stifle the creativity of the child, and more because they have no idea what creativity is. Our Indian school system is the worst in this regard.
    I agree with you Smitha, we learn through our children.

  34. i’m totally last here! ๐Ÿ˜

    Loved the colours on the piggy bank!

    Is it footsteps that she has painted?

    I think i will just wait for ur next post now for the answer! ๐Ÿ˜›

  35. can’t wait for the next post..

    and the creativity is awesome.. though it might look as if the pig just rolled in colour but you can clearly see there are limits to every colour like a flower (orange face) and plant (green back) maybe… .. she is really creative…

    {{{{{{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}}}}} to her… ๐Ÿ˜€

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  37. Congratulations !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

    I told ya this is a wonderful post !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    cheers !!!!!!!!!!

    smi… whats baking ?????????? ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜›

  38. Children teach us so much that it amazes us to no end. Its a lovely post Smitha and the piggy bank looks like a modern art painting …I guess there’s a secret hidden behind the abstract paint work :-)……

    You are so right when you say that we should let children experiment and learn to succeed through their failures. a recent study stated that an average Indian child hears NO during his childhood three times more than his counterpart from a developed country.That’s how we are so scared of failure and find it difficult to say no even if we want to.I am glad parents now a days are super conscious and allow their children to have the breathing space to grow to be what they want to be ๐Ÿ™‚

  39. Its a beautiful post Smitha.. and I am seconding whatever you said above on how the kids are high on creative side.. and how it dries due to the restrictions…

    and Poohi’s puzzle made me think./// but not able to come with the answer ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    and congrats for blogadda pickup ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

    you deserve it ๐Ÿ™‚

  40. Hi , Congrats for being selected by BlogAdda,
    your 4th paragraph was too nice and thats the truth tooo ..

    I am not gonna make any guesses bcoz I knw that I wil go wrong. we are no more kids to understand kids’ mind and way of thinking ๐Ÿ˜› and if we guess , it wil be the exact opposite ๐Ÿ™‚
    anyways wat did ur daughter think

    PS: My post also got selected as a “Spicy Saturday pick” and I am too happy and glad abt it as this was my first time..


  41. Oh my! This little piggy is going to give the other piggys a complex ๐Ÿ™‚ I am going to go with fish tank as my guess, mainly b’cos of the colors.
    “For example a child who fails at something he tried and does not get the necessary support from his parents, might never try something out the next time, and a truly brilliant thinker might just have been killed” —you are absolutely right about that. This truly deserves to be picked by blogadda.

  42. You know what Smitha, that piggy bank reminded me of my aunt’s painted pots which she used to sell for a bomb, if you ask me. She used to put drops of paint in water, swish it carefully with a pointed stick and then swirl the pots oh so carefully in the paint to get the desired effect!

    Wow! Maybe, I should make Poohi do some more and we could make money ๐Ÿ™‚

    You have a budding artist there Smitha, and are those diwali flower pots in the second picture?

    Answer in the next post ๐Ÿ™‚

  43. Congratulations, for blogaddaโ€™s Saturday spicy pick.
    I wish i had such attractive piggy bank, would have had loads of saving to be done to repaint it ๐Ÿ˜‰

    With such a bright color, its hard to miss and whole lot would be contributed.

  44. Congratulations Smitha.. a great post as usual…

    nd that piggy has turned out well..there is a symmetry and play of colors..

    I think we all need to become wide eyed and creative like a child to know what the little one painted..

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  46. Wow! The piggy bank looks gorgeous to me. I love the free riot of colours and imagination there Smi.
    The post is great, and something that every parent really needs to think about. i love the idea of having no set rules or plans when bringing up a child, let the child develop his/her own rules, ideas, thoughts, imagine the possibilities in a world like that… wow!

    PS – Congrats on the pic….very very very well deserved!

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