Learn, Nurture and Grow: every child has potential

Published by the Editor at 7.35pm on Thursday, 30 October 2014.

By Inaara Gangji. Inaara is 15 years old. She is a student at the Aga Khan Mzizima Secondary School in Dar es Salaam. She lives in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Please read her article and leave your thoughts and comments below.  


"The potential possibilities of any child are the most intriguing and stimulating in all creation."-Ray L. Wilbur, Third President of Stanford University

Potential, is defined by the Oxford dictionary as "having or showing the capacity to develop into something in the future" and is from the Latin word potentialis, from potentiapower', from potent- ‘being able'. Potential is something that is not evident physically, but it is rather evident in the form of a feeling, a feeling that cultivates the hope of something great. A teacher might say, "This child has potential"; what the teacher means to say is that the child has competence, the ability to achieve something extraordinary, but this will happen only if this potential is nurtured and grows. But, the real question is, does every child have potential? Or is it that just the smart kids that sit at the front of class, play no sports and spend all their time studying have all the potential?

In the previous paragraph, I put four words in bold: develop, power, able and future. What I want to explore is our understanding of these words. According to me, develop is to foster- potential needs to mature, progress and that is the only way results will come to life, power is to have control- to have competence in a certain field, able is to have capability- to have aptitude, and future is prospective opportunity- where the fruit of nurtured potential can be seen. I believe your understanding is somewhat the same too. But, if this is our understanding, then why do we sometimes fail to appreciate the potential of every child? Not every child is competent in the same fields- A child may be more creative, while another might be better at problem solving, while others are natural leaders and others are silent thinkers. The problem is not recognising potential, it is letting potential nurture and grow in the right way into something extraordinary.

I have been living in this very dominant South Asian community and to be honest, the stereotype of South Asian parents is very true in some cases. They expect more than you can give and although my parents are not forcing me to choose a certain career path, but many of my class mates have been influenced by their parents to choose to pursue that in which their potential does not lie. For example, one of my class mates is a very creative person and loves drawing and her parents know of her amazing ability, but just because her parents think that there aren't many promising careers in the field of the arts (which is not true), she had to choose science subjects for her O' Levels. By the time her mother realised the mistake she had made when a relative made her think about it, it was too late to turn back and switch subjects. Therefore, her potential which everyone knew of, did not get the opportunity to develop. If it would've gotten that opportunity, it would've turned out to be something exceptional in the future.

Potential comes in every form imaginable. In sports, academics, public speaking, creativity, technology, writing, etc.

Bill Gates had a great potential in mathematics. Math is important because it shares with programming the same modes of thinking. From his potential in mathematics, he developed and nurtured into the world of computer programming and today, he is the wealthiest man on the planet. It all started off in his school's computer lab which had a microcomputer (which were rare in schools in his time). During lunch times Bill Gates learned to programme. He started with noughts and crosses but eventually they grew to include a Basic interpreter for the machine. No one taught him to programme, he learnt and developed his own potential by himself. Today, he owns the largest computer software company in the world and through the money he makes, he also helps other underprivileged people develop their potentials through his foundation- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Potential is also usually linked to passion. Most of the time, people love doing that in which their potential lies. Programming is Bill Gates' passion and he had a potential in maths and what this combination developed into in the future is particularly notable.

Malala Yousafzai, a seventeen year old Pakistani teenager just won the Nobel Peace Prize a few days ago. Doesn't this just prove the limitless potential every child has? She was being deprived the right to education by the Taliban rule in her hometown and being just a sixteen year old, she spoke out and challenged the Taliban. She could've been killed, but she had the passion for education and she stood up for what was right. Her story also proves that potential is not bounded by age either. This is an extraordinary antidote to those who treat children as lesser citizens of the world. Also, education helps nurture potential and is a basic human right. And as Hitler once said, "If freedom is short of weapons, we must compensate with willpower."

All in all, potential comes in all forms, is not bounded by age or place of residence and is driven by passion. So that proves that every human young or old has potential, every child has potential. All potential deserves to be cultivated, all that is needed is the willpower and determination to develop this potential.

In conclusion, and in connection to the topic quote, it is really all about "carving the angel" and it shall let itself free. The angel being a metaphor for potential and carving being a metaphor for nurturing and development, and then giving it the liberty to discover what extraordinary change it can bring in the world.

"I continue to believe that if children are given the necessary tools to succeed, they will succeed beyond their wildest dreams!"-David Vitter, U.S. senator


Featured by: VijanaFM


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Posted by Emmanuel Cardoso at 2.28pm on Friday, 31 October 2014.

Phenomenal article Inaara. This was a very inspirational article and I am very glad I read it! Thanks!

Posted by arsha at 2.37pm on Friday, 31 October 2014.

Amazing! :)

Posted by Zahra Tejani at 2.57pm on Friday, 31 October 2014.


Posted by Duke at 4.18pm on Friday, 31 October 2014.

A very insightful and pithy article. Food for thought.

Posted by Noorin Fazal at 5.03pm on Friday, 31 October 2014.

Well written, Inaara! You really got me thinking - with a growth mindset, we can nurture our potential at any age. I agree that the earlier we recognize our potential, the better; this way, we can build up our 10,000 hours of practice to become experts (read Malcolm Gladwell's Blink). However, I would also argue that we are never too old and it is never too late to harness our passion and potential to contribute to a better world. Thank you so much for inspiring this train of thought in me - I can't wait to read more of your posts.

Posted by Sayed at 6.07pm on Friday, 31 October 2014.

Amazing article!
Very well written 😇

Posted by Maahir Jusabani at 6.20pm on Friday, 31 October 2014.

This is an article I feel many people can relate to. Awesome writing Inaara!

Posted by Inaara Gangji at 6.34pm on Friday, 31 October 2014.

Thank you everyone for your kind words and praises! I'm glad you all were impressed.
Ms. Noorin, I agree and I guess I'm just very much inspired by your lessons. And if you remember, these mindsets are exactly what I talk about in my Editor's note! I'm glad I inspired your thoughts but how much you inspired my thoughts is unimaginable :)

Posted by Mohammed Ramzan at 7.40pm on Friday, 31 October 2014.

Well done! Good Work truly inspirational

Posted by Aziz Nayani at 9.22pm on Friday, 31 October 2014.

This is such great work. Thank you for sharing!

Posted by Zawadi Shihemi at 5.00am on Saturday, 1 November 2014.

well done Inaara. i love how you explored the different areas of potential. very inspirational :)

Posted by Kamish Valiani at 5.22am on Saturday, 1 November 2014.

Good stuff here. Quite inspirational.

Posted by Boniface muthini at 7.58am on Saturday, 1 November 2014.

i like your quote it has inspired me alot because i grew up in childrens home and from point of view my relatives chased me away because i wanted to learn and they wanted to be warking at home.This is a good article inaara

Posted by Inaara Gangji at 8.58am on Saturday, 1 November 2014.

Thank you all for your comments!

Mwalimu Aziz, it was my pleasure and my experience at GE has inspired this work a lot. Thank you and the entire GE team for working so hard to make this Summer so memorable.

Boniface, I'm glad you could relate to this and actually most of the ideas here have been inspired by my experience teaching and working at Children's Garden Home! I'm sorry to hear your story but I'm glad you found the home and kept following your dreams! :)

Posted by Anaya at 10.02am on Saturday, 1 November 2014.

Bravo Inaara ! C'est un très bon article.

Posted by Inaara Gangji at 10.16am on Saturday, 1 November 2014.

Merci Anaya!
J'aime vraiment aimé que commenté en français!
Tu me manques :)

Posted by Inaara Gangji at 10.17am on Saturday, 1 November 2014.

*J'ai vraiment aimé que tu as commenté en français!

Posted by Irfan at 10.42am on Saturday, 1 November 2014.

Yet another brilliant piece of work Inaara!

Posted by Aisha at 11.42am on Saturday, 1 November 2014.

I really enjoyed reading this article and it is very inspirational!
Keep it up :)

Posted by Inaara Gangji at 11.48am on Saturday, 1 November 2014.

Thank you Irfan and Aisha.
Irfan, I'm glad I have been consistently impressive :)

Posted by Inaara T. at 1.38pm on Saturday, 1 November 2014.

This is really amazing! :) Inaara, you inspire me! :)

Posted by Kainaat at 1.42pm on Saturday, 1 November 2014.

This was great! Very inspirational! :D

Posted by Stephen Olukor at 3.19pm on Saturday, 1 November 2014.

Dear Inaara,

This is a good article from a fifteen year old like you. I am impressed by the fact that you passionately believe that education can unlock the potential in every youngster.

Walt Disney once said, "If you can dream it, you can do it." Let all the young people in the developing world realize their potential. Good piece.

Posted by Mahdiya karmali at 5.23pm on Saturday, 1 November 2014.

Inaara This was amazing it was very impressive :)

Posted by Alyshah at 5.47pm on Saturday, 1 November 2014.

Very inspirational! Loved it! Keep up the hard work!

Posted by Veer Gandhi at 5.56pm on Saturday, 1 November 2014.


Posted by pariza at 6.31pm on Saturday, 1 November 2014.

My vote is yours :)

Posted by Ritu Shah at 7.54pm on Saturday, 1 November 2014.

Really good work ..amazing !i m so glad to take a look at it ..awsome

Posted by Saliha Dawood at 12.04pm on Sunday, 2 November 2014.

Inara, this was a truly inspirational article!!! I believe it is a pathway to motivate most of us :) Very well done :)

Posted by Inaara Gangji at 1.20pm on Sunday, 2 November 2014.

Thank you all! I'm glad this has had the affect I wished for :)
Mr. Stephen, Asante sana mwalimu

Posted by Isbah at 1.59pm on Sunday, 2 November 2014.

Beautiful! Really inspirational <3

Posted by Isbah at 1.59pm on Sunday, 2 November 2014.

Beautiful! Really inspirational <3

Posted by Nizar Gangji at 5.55pm on Sunday, 2 November 2014.

"The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential... these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence." -Confucius

Great food for thought!

I'm so proud of you

Keep going and make your Father even prouder!

Posted by Asad Nayani at 6.16pm on Sunday, 2 November 2014.

One of the best articles i ve read so far. Good job Inaara. Keep it up.

Posted by Anup sharma at 6.35am on Monday, 3 November 2014.

It is really a well thought and well framed article. Keep it up! Bless you!

Posted by Rafael Kamanga at 1.25am on Tuesday, 4 November 2014.

Great work Inaara! Motivating and Inspiring.

Posted by Vasilisa at 4.10pm on Friday, 7 November 2014.

Dear Inaara I like it. ;) ,,, it is remarcable and uplifting ,, keep inspiring.

Posted by Ness at 9.34am on Sunday, 9 November 2014.

I love this. :) Never been so proud of you. :)

Posted by Mumtaz Gangji at 9.45am on Sunday, 9 November 2014.

This is some great work and you never fail to make me proud.
Recognizing potential is crucial for the growth of any human being and appreciating it is even more important.
I agree with Ms. Noorin and how a growth mindset is the way forward!
Keep going :)

Posted by Inaara Gangji at 9.49am on Sunday, 9 November 2014.

Thank you for your kind words Isbah, Mr.Anup, Asad, Vasila, Rafael and Vanessa.
I'm so thankful that my international GE family is taking the time to read this! It's great to get feedback from all over the world :)
Most of all, thanks Mom and Dad; you two are my inspiration always and forever.

Posted by Mahram at 12.17pm on Thursday, 20 November 2014.

good job Inaara... thank you

Posted by Zohaib at 6.18am on Friday, 28 November 2014.


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