Can we change the potential of a child? Or we can facilitate the children to find their own peaks. Can we see a limitless child who can manifest his / her potential?
As a parent / teacher we all want children to explore their potential to the fullest. But then potential is not something we can put in or take out of the child. The child will naturally manifest his or her potential. We can free the child from any obstructions, conditioning and systems that inhibit the child from realizing his dreams, her potential. So what do we do?
Let’s question three primary societal system which may be more constraining than empowering the children to realize their potential. Let’s also explore the plausible alternative ways
1. System of Conventional education – In spite of lamenting about our education system we continue to cling to it, fueled by the very fear on which it works. Of course children need professional support in various forms. But when all children are put in the same box and are supposed to excel within it, then what we get is few who flourish, but most who are lost.
Alternative way – what the children probably need is us letting them drive their learning, while supporting them with resources, courses, apprenticeships, guidance, mentoring and coaching where they want it. The role of educators then becomes that of a facilitator and co-passenger in their journey.
2.System of Career (Employment and perceived success) – The whole childhood has become one effort to earn future through a ‘good job’. Obviously in the whole bargain we have forgotten that life is not to earn but to live. To live, to spend years on vocations that are deeply meaningful to me and that bring a touch of joy to others.
Alternative way – what the children probably need is, we stop giving so much importance to career, rather letting children explore vocations, experiment with skills, try internships, embracing self employment, entrepreneurship and co-employment (or co-working) as much more joyous options. The role of parents then becomes not just to support them financially, emotionally and mentally but more importantly their forays, their risk taking and their adventures into life. We have to replace the importance given to success with process
3.System of family. We all know the value of the saying that while a child is born to a family, it takes a village to raise a child. Our existence of interdependence is so beautiful and so enriching when we extend our hands and get connected with so many, all alike us. Open source world has shown how communities thrive with cooperative competition, with each member learning as well as teaching, each consuming as well as producing, each bringing rigor as well as quality to each other’s life. Many software giants are now run on these community models, with open learning, sharing and feedback environments.
Alternative way – what the child (and we) need are communities. Where ages and backgrounds and cultures diffuse into the background, where common interests, exchanges and collaboration dominate the weave of fabric of life. The role of parents is then to join, co-create, and feed communities, because it is when each parent starts thinking not just for “my child” but “all children” then suddenly joy and growth spreads like forest fire.
Once we understand what we are doing to cage the child, it is easy to free the child’s potential.
Considering alternatives to conventional education, offering options to career rat race and broadening our participation from family into communities can offer our children a totally different world where the child is then free to explore his or her potential
If this sounds worthwhile may we invite you to some of our webinars about open learning in a community. As a start here is the link for our previous webinars Aarohi open learning webinars.