I run a community newsletter with a few of my friends. In the January 2014 issue, for the kids’ section we decided to give a theme in the spirit of the new year. If the child could wish for or change one thing, what would it be, was the topic for a 150-200 words submission.

And we had eight entries. Barring one, the responses were about climate change, clean roads, traffic, pollution and indifference to animals! The age band was 9 to 11 years. Impressive!

It was surely nice to read intelligent arguments and solutions proposed by the bright generation, but I couldn’t help wonder as to whatever has happened to the genie in the lamp. Where did Superman and all the fairies vanish?

It wouldn’t be too long ago when these kids would have been discovering new nooks in the house or spinning their imagination into incoherent stories. Where and how did that ‘imagination’ die out so soon? Right under our noses and we didn’t get a whiff of it.

For me, this was the age where one would wish for lollipop trees, flying to the moon for a birthday party, superman doing one’s homework or school vacations lasting 6 months in a year. Or for that matter, more realistically, winning a paid holiday to Australia, or a favourite aunt buying you the latest game. I don’t think I would have had a wind of global warming then! This was the golden age where I could weave my imagination without the fetters of practicality and reality. And feel thrilled in that make-believe world!

Our new age kids did just that in their own way but with all the conditioning that they are being subjected to both at home and school, they could only think like their mentors! Limited by rationality and propelled by appreciation, for sounding smart!

In our hurry to help them excel in their school curricula (and later in life), have we started exposing them to the real world too soon and too much?! A large majority of us grew up in a logic and science appreciating culture but all that kicked in much later in life. In today’s day and age, we have realised the value of creativity and more so about balancing the logic and creative brain faculties of an individual.

I guess we have to ensure that our children not only understand the real world but also are able to think fresh and out of the box. Else, there would be a serious lacuna in our creative professions and the arts in the society. I wonder who would design creative advertising campaigns, write gripping fiction or for that matter invent new products.

Maybe it is time to read an odd fairy tale in between all the encyclopaedias and science-based comic strips. And give wings to our children’s fertile imagination! Or maybe we could think of starting a “Save the Genie” campaign to reach the target audience effectively.

divyakrishnan@gmail.com

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