There is always a child in all of us, even those of us who seem mature, hardened, or just plain serious about everything they do.
When you compare a child’s way of thinking with that of an adult, it’s amazing that the thinking process of the two are shockingly different if you consider the fact that children and adults are both human and both (for the most part) go through the same experiences.
If you were to show an adult a screwdriver, for example, they would probably just say, “It’s a screwdriver. So what?”
But if you were to show the same thing to a kid, they would be more like, “Oh, it’s a screwdriver! Neat! I can use this as a wand to protect my fort from the garden imps!”
Imagination should be allowed to run free and wild. So what happens between childhood and adulthood?
A couple of things, actually…
For one, many adults today think that they are doing the right thing for their children. Really, the true “right way” to raise up their children is to instill in them a strong sense of right and wrong or making the right decision at the right time, an emphasis of working towards goals, and, probably the most important that seems to be overlooked these days, an ever-growing imagination.
Throughout school, many children suffer stress. Bad and good stress. Competition to be the best in the class for some students blocks out their imaginations. Others simply give up, believing that their situation is hopeless.
Imagination is important. Without it, where would we have all of this art? These innovative ideas?
To those parents who only teach their children book knowledge or the banal things of a certain subject in order to educate their children: stop unless if you’re training your child to be the next World Genius. If your child asks, “What kinds of tracks are these?”, simply answer, “Oh, these are raccoon tracks! They’re pretty rare around here!” or something along those lines. You don’t have to tell your kid that it’s raccoon mating season, that those tracks were of a male genus of the raccoon species of the kingdom animalia, the word which originates from…
Boring. If I was the kid there, I would be pretty tired of it fast. Only answer what they need, yet have a sense of encouragement to explore behind the answer. Only then will they learn to like (or find out that they don’t like) the subject.
A good example of destroying curiosity by information overload is the teaching of music theory to students before they even play actual songs that they like on the piano. Who needs to know what kind of progression the scale is, which note is the tonic note, or what a Cm/maj9add6add11(b13)(+11)/E chord is anyway? (I didn’t even know that that chord was real until I searched it up right now…)
That the reason why so many kids quit piano before they even start to grasp what piano and imagination really is. Unless if they like theory, of course, many would like to jump in right away and start playing songs that sound like songs rather than a random combination of notes together.
When I had first started out with piano, it was because a friend of mine was learning, and my parents had thought that it would be a great idea for me to learn. At the beginning, it was rough learning the notes, but my piano teacher had done something interesting compared with many other teachers that I know- she immediately gave me a song to play in a competition.
Minimal scale practice. No theory. Just that song.
I got third place in that competition. But it was just the first one, and I was pretty scared. From then on, I had gotten first place in all of my age groups. Never lost. Never got second. Have the trophies still to prove it.
What made it even more interesting was that, when she had sensed that I liked piano, she began giving me harder, more challenging songs to play. Still minimal theory, just these songs for me to play. It made me like piano. Love it. I still play a bit today, although not in front of my parents (“Too loud, Jason!”)
When teaching children something, it’s best to just teach them what they want to know and get them a bit more curious. That’s how they truly learn to know what they like and what they don’t. You can’t force them to like things either; it just won’t work and may even harm the child in the end, limiting them from their true potential.
Imagination stems from the love of a subject or idea and a want to make it better somehow. And from that, stems-
You guessed it.
(P.S. To find out more about that cool Casio Piano-controlled hockey rink, click here.)
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