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Today’s infant, tomorrow’s toddler and the future’s teenager is faced with a highly challenging, dynamic world. A storm of stimulants, changing technologies, global events, rapidly diffusing cultures and traditions, all these will require the child of the future to emerge as an individual who can think ‘out-of-the-box’ and indulge in what is known as creative thinking.
The backbone of creative thinking is processing thoughts divergently, that is, generating ideas that are different and will work well in the given situation. First, the child understands, and then, imagination is used to come up with what could be done with that understanding.
Your job as a parent or a family member is to help the child open up his mind to the opportunities of creative thinking. Help him come up with a vast number of ideas in a non-reactive, non judgmental atmosphere. Once these ideas come up, they will have to be evaluated by the child himself, for it is important for the child to explore his ability to come up with appropriate solutions to the issue at hand.
Do not interrupt or throw your suggestions into the arena even if the ideas that he comes up with are not very practical. The more his mind is exercised, greater will his ability to think in new ways, and more enhanced will his logical and analytical skills become.
If you regularly engage him in these idea-creating exercises, you will be surprised by the number of unique responses that the child comes up with, each time!
At a very young age, it is important for we as parents to reinforce the idea in our children that it is alright to take risks, make new assumptions and create better frameworks for solutions, rather than forcing our ideas or traditionally handed down norms down their throats.
India particularly has an education system that lays great emphasis on learning through memory. Although this does help the child to learn well, undue emphasis on memory learning will only prove detrimental in the long run.
Instead, our teachers and parents should pro-actively encourage the children of today to open up their minds with a variety of creative and idea-nurturing thought processes.