I’m a horrible mum…

.. because I try to think for my daughter sometimes, forgetting that she has a perfectly funcitonal mind of her own.

She came home the other day with her ‘learning log’. They had a topic pasted on it, and the children were supposed to work on it, and return it after a couple of weeks. I went on the internet, to get an idea of what needs to be done(the school had recommended a couple of sites to refer to), to get an idea about what needs to be done.

So here I was, bursting with ideas, waiting to tell her what to do when, she grabs her learning log, and says, ‘This is what I want to do’, and goes on to write/draw so well, that I was astounded. The topic was the five senses, and she started off, drawing little pictures and writing all about the senses, without a backward glance.

She did make spelling mistakes with the more complex words, but what amazed me was that she knew what she wanted to do. She was clear on the way she wanted her project to look. Here I was, waiting to guide her, tell her what needed to do, only to realize that children know far more than we expect. And when given free reign, might come up with something not very polished, but far, far more creative.

I just hope she gets the same environment where she gets to express herself, without worrying about the nitty-gritty. And I hope to remember this, and encourage her to continue to express herself beautifully.

Unharnessed Thinking

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

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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 provide  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.  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 🙂

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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!

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