Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Last week, I was reading an article in the Sarasota Herald Tribune on a topic I found particularly interesting.  It dealt with parents grooming their kids toward positions of leadership and invention. The article cited an example of Benjamin Franklin who, out of necessity, invented the bifocal.  He had poor eyesight which caused him to require two types of reading glasses for nearsighted and farsighted problems and didn’t want the inconvenience of switching glasses so “whammo”, yet another invention for Mr. Franklin!

The point made was that we all have the capacity for invention – some perhaps a little more than others.  How do you realistically encourage a child to be creative or inventive? In order to raise such children, the article states, “you’d have to allow them opportunities to become uncomfortable, unhappy, bored and unsuccessful.”  For most parents in this generation, it is not a small task.  Most parents, I suspect, would be adverse to seeing their child struggle on any level.

If you believe that your role as a parent is to protect your child, keep him happy and occupied as much as possible, you diminish their opportunity to use creativity and imagination to problem-solve.  It does sound counter-intuitive but it also sounds accurate.

In essence, the article suggests we should not try to rescue kids from failure, but rather teach them to confront their problems.  I see nothing wrong with that.


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