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“Amma, I want to design ‘micro goggles’ for elderly people like Thata and Patti,” my son declared the other day, making me shoot an inquiring look in his direction. With great enthusiasm he launched into an explanation that the special glasses he will design for senior citizens like his grandparents will aid in improved vision for those with weak eyesight and enable them to read even the smallest of fonts. This was not the first time I had heard my son share his dream of becoming an inventor. Earlier he had also expressed his desire to design a robot that could be launched into space to discover new planets!
Oftentimes I catch my eight-year-old indulging in origami and craft activities that showcase his imaginative bent of mind and artistic flair. He likes flipping through science experiment books and designing logos for products he imagines he might create some day.
So what do you get when you combine a love for science with a passion for design? A penchant for design engineering, perhaps? By the look of things as they stand today, I guess my son is headed in that direction.
From when he was two years old, he has always displayed a knack for creating things—be it with atta, play dough or Lego blocks. These days he is obsessed with the Rubik’s Cube and recently tore it apart to find out how to put it back together again. He tries to interpret science in day-to-day situations like how electricity works, the wonder of solar energy or the mechanics of friction.
When my son first displayed curiosity for understanding robotics, aerospace design and other related aspects of engineering, I introduced him to television shows on Discovery Science like ‘How It’s Made’ and ‘The Gadget Show’, feeling that they might ignite a spark in him to comprehend science better. I wasn’t mistaken. These educational shows with high entertainment value have hugely influenced my son’s lateral thought process and kindled a love for understanding how simple, everyday things are manufactured and designed. His interest in the subject has now grown by leaps and bounds.
As a parent who has an intuitive understanding of her child’s precocious talents, it has been my constant endeavour to keep exploring avenues and forums—be they unique TV shows or toys like the Rubik’s Cube—that will propel my son on the path to inspired learning in the field of science and engineering. I try to be creative in my approach. While classroom learning is all very well, children should also be exposed to other teaching methodologies. Therefore, I also try to expose my son to some popular movies like Gravity and The Day After Tomorrow, acclaimed for presenting different aspects of science in a thoroughly entertaining fashion.
My son is extremely creative in his problem-solving approach and is always brimming with out-of-the-box ideas. But I often worry about how I would be able to sustain his interest in this subject with the longterm in view. What can I do to help him realize his dream of becoming a path-breaking inventor, CEO and creator of smart devices that will leave an indelible mark in this world? Do I have the necessary resources within my access to make this journey more enriching for my son?
As an involved parent, it’s my job to encourage my son to dream BIG. This is why I am so glad that an opportunity like Aviva’s Early Starter’s Initiative has come our way because this will open new doors of opportunity for my son and other children.
It would be wonderful if my son gets a chance to meet a stellar youth icon like Sachin Tendulkar or get mentored by other leading professionals who will advise him on how to plan his professional career from a young age. As a single parent, I am constantly seeking such avenues that will give an early headstart to my son’s professional aspirations and a fillip to his boundless creativity.
Let’s hope all schools in India also create innovative platforms like this to help our youngsters plan their future well.
Observing my son's keen enthusiasm to use science creatively and with the view to improve people’s quality of life makes me believe that he will make a great thought leader in engineering/related sciences. Of course, for this to happen, he also needs to be shown the right path and given the right opportunities.
I am hoping my son is the next Steve Jobs in the making, determined to make a dent in this world through his innovative ideas!
‘This article is an entry to the contest ‘Early Starter Contest’ by Aviva.