Parents responsible for shaping young minds

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 14, 2008

Imagine a life without imagination.

Picture a world without creative thought, either fact or fictional.

Think about the possibility of confronting people whose senses have become so entrapped in the &uot;bells and whistles&uot; of today’s electronic contraptions that they appear lifeless.

I can’t imagine a world without imaginative thought. How much longer would have it taken to discover that electricity can be transmitted through a line if Benjamin Franklin had not been as bold and brave to fly a kite in a thunderstorm?

Would Kitty Hawk be the birthplace of aviation if Orville and Wilbur Wright had not imagined that a heavier than air craft could fly?

The Industrial Revolution would have been delayed if a British engineer by the name of Thomas Newcomen had not mastered the concept of steam traveling through a vacuum, thus inventing the first steam engine in 1712.

What if Alexander Graham Bell stopped after uttering those now-famous words – &uot;Watson, come here&uot; – over the world’s first telephone back in 1876? Bell went forward in his work, becoming the first to encode a voice message into a beam of light, a process still in use today in the world of high-speed fiber optics.

Imagining that a sound wave could be transmitted through the air without using wires was the challenge that physicist Guglielmo Marconi conquered in 1901. Without his imaginative thinking, I couldn’t enjoy the John Boy and Billy Big Show while driving to work.

The list goes on and on – far too many to print in this limited space – of men and women whose imaginative thinking is responsible for countless contraptions we rely on so heavily today. The question is, were they self-made individuals or ones that were educationally gifted at an early age due to parents who aimed their children in the right direction?

Parents are indeed the first educators. They are the inventors of intellect

– not in a sense of creating the brain, that was by God’s hand, but rather one who shapes and molds a young mind while at the same time allowing enough freedom for a child to become an imaginative thinker.

Parents need to take that first step in preparing their children to embark on an educational voyage. Cut the television/home video games off for a couple of nights each week and listen to what your child is saying, or not saying. There are more lessons to learn, or to teach, which are not found in a textbook. Once you master the art of knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your child, the rest is easy as parents will understand what will work and what will not along this educational journey.

A child that is mentally focused to face the challenges of the educational process will prove to be a delight for teachers. In turn, those instructors will be able to take those children to the next level of learning without facing the daily distractions that accompany undisciplined children.

High levels of instruction within a peaceful environment could one day produce the world’s next famous inventor, perhaps one right here in our own backyard.

Cal Bryant is Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index. He can be reached at 252-332-7207 or