In one of my interactions with a pilot I asked a question, what runs in your mind while being in the cockpit of the plane? The pilot paused and said, “I am not aiming to give a spectacular feeling to the passengers but to ensure a safe reach. I just hope not to crash.” Today I could relate to this several aspects of parenting. I can always prevent my kids from learn coding because I think it isn’t safe or save them from a possible crash. The items in “Isn’t safe” are – exposure time to screen, impact to eyes, and wrong use of the internet. And the items in “Save” are – not sure if today they learn would become redundant, young to code, time, and money.

As a parent sometimes I see it like investing in the stock market. I often think investment to be “upside” preferably, not “downside”. This conservative move misses mistakes and in turn experiences. See its safe to avoid a bad experience! As a conservative parent I end up asking – what Coding isn’t, rather than what Coding is. In other words what coding could guarantee? I often don’t ask, by not doing what does it prevent? As a well-wisher of my child I often forget to ask myself the thinking I have through the knowledge is somewhat puny.

As a parent it’s my duty to “save” children from alcoholism, drugs, dysfunctional marriage, debt, loneliness, self-comparisons with others, rage, envy and so on. I don’t think anyone needs to educate me on this. As a parent I need to see how close “coding” is to this save list. Is it bad like war, destroys house, disease, divorce and bankruptcy?

This thinking has left me to revisit my “upside” and “downside” plus to understand the difference between thinking and doing. As one of my professor rightly said, “Engineering is an ideal degree if you want to become a engineering professor but not if you want to be an engineer”. This thought reminded me – one becomes an engineer by “doing” or practice. This is true in every field! Nobel prizes are for “doing” not for just “thinking”. Doing ( or Tinkering) can take anyone to anywhere. Here “anywhere” I refer to a position in a company or become a founder or a scientist.

These thoughts have made me move from “thinking shoe” to “doing shoe”. Be the proverbial king who dressed as a beggar to mingle with his subjects to help understand thinking and doing. What would you do – thinking or doing?

Originally published at on October 12, 2020.