Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Growth Mindset: The Man in the Plane

”So, do you boys remember how I told you aeroplanes fly?”
“No, wait, how?”
“You boys really do not listen to anything I say, do you? Do you remember Bernoulli’s Principle?”
“Oh yes, Bernoulli’s Principle!”

As I was making my routine ‘end of semester’ trip back home, I overheard this rather interesting conversation a father was having with his two sons. (The kids could not have been more than 12-year-olds). This conversation only continued to surprise me more  as the flight began to soar higher and higher, since it steered through Aerodynamics, Mechanisms of Turbulence, The Stratosphere, Water Cycle, What clouds are exactly and went on to the Chennai Floods, before going to a variety of other topics. The conversation continued on through a variety of topics as the boys continued to ask questions, give their opinion and gather knowledge.

This incident reminded me of the ‘Growth Mindset’ model run in a school of inner city kids, which Carol Dweck speaks of, in her book by the same name. It is one I would recommend all to read, as it shows quite clearly the horizons of the Human Mind, which really are none. The story goes on about how this terribly underperforming school transforms into one where 8-year-olds are actively reading and understanding Shakespeare. Children really do surprise us, if we give them a chance.

In a world where kids are treated more and more like kids with each passing day, I am really in awe of this man who treats his children to adult conversations that are filled with information and knowledge. Furthermore, the children have been raised to question things, be curious and are definitely not disqualified because of age. They are given equal importance in the conversation. Indeed, all parents need to take a cue from this man and have mature and normal conversations with kids. We need to teach them early on, the value of making healthy conversations.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not against the innocence of kids or about kids enjoying their lives. I am completely in favour of children being children. What I am against is the babying of children, which prevents them from growing up and becoming adept at handling themselves. As parents, an important part of rearing kids is to make them confident and self-reliant. By being overprotective or not giving them the room to grow, fall, make mistakes and explore, they are unknowingly failing as a parent.

Moving away, thinking about the current world predicament where we do not have enough thinking people, this could just be our solution. I think any person who wishes to live in a world where there are no Yahoo Questions about ‘If the computer gets heavier when we save more data into it’ is justified in asking for it.

The rules of Evolution suggest that man should be smarter, stronger and more independent, with every generation. I believe we stand at a point in History, where for the first time, we can begin to question this predicament. It's rather simple, Man’s tools and devices have become excessively updated from the axe and sword to the Smartphone and the Internet, but the Human Race as a whole is becoming, from the lack of a more eloquent word, stupider.

It is like Amish says, in his much acclaimed Shiva TrilogyEverything can be a good or a bad, depending on how much it is used or abused. Indeed, it's time, we as a society, move towards bringing up our future generations to be well informed, logical, analytical, creative and more of all confident and mature beings, who know how to hold themselves, instead of baby talking them to doomsday.

Written by Shreya Srinivasan
A person of varied interests, with a possible ADHD that went unnoticed as a child. A gypsy philosopher looking for her place and space in the world. Admittedly a little odd at first, but then, you have to be odd to be number one.

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