In the recent past, I have seen two completely conflicting kind of posts on Social media. One kind encourage and excite parents, like me, to enroll their children in coding classes. These posts equate coding to life skills and subtly make you believe that there is a Steve Jobs hiding inside each child just waiting to come out. If you enroll your child in coding classes, you would have made the career of your child. Needless to say, these kind of posts are typically created and shared by companies conducting coding classes. They want you to enroll your child so that they can make money and yes, of course also teach your child coding.
The other kind of posts, like most other kind of posts, make fun of the first kind. These posts are written by concerned citizens of this planet who are appalled at the audacity of these companies trying to teach coding to young kids. These citizens point of view is that young kids should be running around, free playing, in place of sitting behind a computer screen learning coding. Some other arguments include the fact that coding will be automated in the future, hence why should children invest their energies learning it. Learning coding should not be equated to learning problem solving. Problem solving is better taught in real life than behind computer screen. And so on.
Believe me, I have seen so many of both kinds of these posts that I just couldn’t stop myself from sharing my own point of view. I truly feel that both sides in this debate of coding vs no-coding seem to be missing the point. I quote Khalil Gibran here because no one else can pen this point better than him.
“Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow.”
If you understand these poignant lines you would have probably found your answer to whether your child should learn coding or not. Bottom line is that the child should do what the child wants to do and not what you believe is right for the child. If the child is interested in technology and everything related to it, please help him build his skills in that area by learning coding, electronics, gaming, etc. However, if the child is interested in dancing, swimming, arts, music or any other zillion things out there, please help him build skills in those areas. In the latter case, do not tie him behind a computer screen hoping he will become the next Steve Jobs. Because, simply speaking, no matter what you do, he won’t. If his heart lies somewhere else, he will be longing to get there sooner or later.
The answer to this debate is so simple, yet I see so many parents struggling. Some people question if children as young as 7 can even understand concepts of programming? Can a child in second grade understand molecules and electrons and build electronic circuits of their own? Can a three old cook? The answer to all the above questions is the same. A child is capable of learning anything and achieving everything that they want to. There is no age too young 0r, for that matter, too old to learn something. It is the parents, teachers and school systems which create boundaries for children restricting them to learn only those things which are part of the syllabus for that year. And forcing them to learn all of them, even if a child is interested in learning only one out of them. If we can learn to view the child as an independent entity without putting labels like 7 year old, First grader, Scientist, Dancer, etc, we will be able to provide the learning that they are meant to receive. Do not force your beliefs, your forecasting ability or your fears on to your child. As Gibran said, let your child choose for themselves and live the life that they were born to live. And yes, while they live their life, you go ahead and live yours fully!