Creativity and innovation have been identified as cornerstones of capitalism. Entrepreneurship is in itself very critical in employment creation and growth of the economy. A country that desires to create employment for its youth must therefore purposively foster their creativity and innovation.
Stimulating a behaviour and mindset is best done at early ages. After all, we cannot teach old dog new tricks. As a country we were proud of the young boy from Bungoma who with the help of his father produced a homemade foot-operated hand washing machine.
The boy was among the 68 distinguished persons who received the Uzalendo Award from the President during this year’s Madaraka Day celebrations for their exemplary efforts in fighting the Covid- 19 pandemic. His achievement is no mean affair and he deserves all the congratulations.
A story is told of a child who dismantled his parent’s radio receiver thinking that he would be able to see and talk to the people speaking inside the weird gadget.
Of course, once he opened up the appliance he found no people but wires and transistors. He received a thorough spanking for the damage caused by his untamed curiosity.
Since the advent of Covid-19 into the country, children have been at home with their parents. The little ones have open and agile minds. They are yet to be exposed to fixed routine ways of thinking that we adults refer to as experience.
They don’t attach the high degree of fear of risk that we do to situations and in their mental world there is little impossibility if any.
Every time we go to church, supermarket or take a walk around our neighbourhoods we notice a familiar incident of a parent (mostly a mother) cautioning her young child to walk slowly or otherwise the child will fall down and be injured.
So what if the child falls down and gets a slight bruise or cut? Let the children make their share of mistakes. It is part of learning and discovery and without those errors they will not discover new things. Our society will certainly be a dull one without the discoveries.
This divergence of perspectives is what brings conflict between parents and children when it comes to trying out new things or solving problems. While parents have an overarching need to watch over and take care of their children, the young ones have an innate desire to adventure.
We certainly need to strike a balance between the two opposing camps, just like James Wamukota and his nine year old son Stephen Wamukota from the sleepy Mukwa Village in Bungoma County.
Parents should allow and encourage their children, albeit supervised from a distance, to try out new ways of doing things. Remember back in school some of the children are studying under competency based curriculum that emphasises on practical skills including those of creativity and innovation.
Let us adopt the same approach in our homes for a better Kenya.
Dr. Kevin Wachira, South Eastern Kenya University.