Do you remember how you were as a kid? The random excitement over seemingly trivial things? Do you remember how you did things just for the fun of it? A game, a drawing, a song, just about anything. The outcome didn’t have to be perfect. There didn’t even have to be an outcome for all you cared!
What happened to that? When did we lose that love for life? What along our path to adulthood got us to a place where the outcomes ruled over the process itself?
There is a kid that I have known for a few years now. I have probably met her thrice in all the eight years of her life. There is something indescribably special about her – oh wait! That is true for any kid. Whether we care to notice or not.
She happened to show me a picture that she’d drawn at school. A common scenery, nothing fancy. But she was obviously very excited about it (Kids!). She said this in passing – “But I made a mistake in the drawing. The teacher told me that the clouds are wrong. They have to be dark at the bottom and light at the top.” – and this really got me thinking. I asked her if the teacher had explained why it had to be that way. Unfortunately, I already knew the answer to that.
Why should the clouds be dark at the bottom and light at the top? Is it scientific? Something to do with density maybe? Does so much science really need to go behind a carefree expression of random imagination? Even if it does, don’t children need to be told why they are wrong and not just when they are wrong?
I may be wrong but here’s what I think really happened. There are rules that we follow. In drawing. In playing. In living even. It is not wrong. But sometimes it is simply pointless. Especially when you do not know why you are following it. Especially when it begins to slowly take away bits and pieces of creativity.
I know this could all just be overthinking. This is just one drawing by one child. One teacher gave one random feedback. And none of this is a big deal. Only, it is.
We don’t really see what we are doing to our kids till it’s too late. As parents, teachers, siblings, uncles and aunts, we go about sucking out their exuberance. We take little insignificant pieces of creativity, talent, intelligence, energy, love and joy. And we do not even realize it. Only when they are shaped into the acceptable mould that we each fit into, we stop and admire our piece of work. After all, we only mean well for them.
The next time you meet kids, sit with them. Listen to their wild cooked up stories. Watch their eyes light up when they talk. Accept their expressions of creativity even if it is diametrically opposite to yours. Tell them what you think. Tell them why you think what you think. You would be surprised at how much you take along with all that you have to give. And quit trying to make them fit in. All of us were born to stand out. It is our fault if we chose to blend in. Let us not make them guilty of the same.