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Magazine Editorial

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Title Children are creative: it is the adults who need to be educated!
Details Who has not seen a child playing for hours with a cap of the bottle and enjoying herself? And the moment we take it from her and try to replace it with some costly toy, the child throws away the toy and insists that the cap be given back to her. Such is the world of the children in which value of a thing is not in itself, but in its relationship with oneself. The way sound is produced, the way the cap rolls on the ground, sometimes turning upward and sometimes downward. Randomness excites the child, give her a strategic choice game and she loses interest.   Why are we losing track of playfulness in education? Once I had looked into the games children play around the world. It seemed that there was a systematic pattern in these games. They all emphasized, around the world,  a phenomenon of randomness. Why would our great grandfathers and mothers have designed such games? Why the game of snakes and ladder would involve a snake at 99 and if the dice is so played, it is only a matter of chance whether one goes down or crosses the hump. Mentally, one has to be ready for both outcomes. Was it equanimity that our elders wanted us to learn as children? Or is it that we needed to learn to cope with the uncertainty inherent in nature with limited information? Children do not mind changing the rules of games like Alice in Wonderland or abol tabol and do not understand why the rules should remain constant when the game is on. The fun is more important, rather than the outcome and soon, this wisdom is lost. We start chasing goals and outcomes and lose track of the journey. Who travels with us become meaningless, where we reach becomes more important.   Once I had taken students to Laddakh for a course viz. Shodhyatra in which students had to try to learn from within, from each other, nature and from the common people. On the first day, instead of taking students who walked slowly due to lack of familiarity or other weaknesses along with them, majority of the students started racing with each other to cross over the peaks and valleys to reach the target place first, the fastest. It did not matter who were left behind, even if some of them were close friends of those who had reached the goal fastest. I was to bring the last lot with me and with no means of communication, and almost with nobody in sight; it would have been very difficult to handle any emergency.   In the evening we were reflecting on what happened, when a student who had run ahead commented, “Sir, I realized something important today. If you are on the top, and you have no one to share, you are not there”. Suddenly there was emptiness, there was meaninglessness and the euphoria had evaporated.  I did not want to trigger or sustain such a feeling. But then it was obvious that the group had interpreted the futility of excessive goal orientation. There was no point in losing track of togetherness, the journey, the need to observe clouds on the way, the shapes of the rocks, and their shadows in the context of the unexpected geometry of light.     Are we not working hard to unlearn the spontaneity that we are born with and start colouring our likes and dislikes with prejudices we have been taught by elders? Who needs re-education, children? No. The adults? Yes. We have learned to fail in the game of life, to win the small battles of work, profession and organizations in which we circumscribe our life. We have to return the childhood to children and prevent the child in us from growing up.   Creativity and innovation of children shown in this issue depicts how sensitive the children are. Then why should they become insensitive when they occupy positions of power, authority and influence?   We will have to answer this question sooner or later if the world has not to become a graveyard of dreams, crematorium of poetry, and wasteland of colourful clouds in our eyes …….
Volume No. Honey Bee, 21 (3), 3, 2010