Sunday, April 1

Children Can be Brilliant

Truly, sometimes they are really quite clever.  Some insight, after the jump.

     Someone I admire is Sir Ken Robinson.  Many people have now seen his TED talks.  He discusses how children are naturally very creative, imaginative, and eager to learn but that most educational systems are set up to discourage creative, imaginative, and fun education.  No, not that teachers intentionally try to make social studies mind numbingly dull, because most teachers try very hard to truly engage their students.  However, the point is that most educational structures have systematic problems, reaching far beyond individual teachers and schools, which discourage students.
     Every now and again I hear kids say the most earnest and heartfelt things that demonstrate their creativity and imagination.  Sir Ken Robinson recounts this story:  A child is drawing.  A teacher asks the child what they are drawing.  The child responds that they are drawing a picture of God.  The teacher tells the child that no one knows what God looks like.  The child tells the teacher that they are about to know what God looks like.  How genius is that.  And so true!  But this story also illustrates that the teacher tried to imply that the child couldn't be drawing God, because nobody knows what God looks like.  That's just not true.  Children should be trying to draw things they can only barely comprehend and have never seen before and adults should be encouraging this.
     Children are also discouraged by parents to have their naturally curiosity.  It's pretty obnoxious to parents when children go through their why? stage.  Parents dread the where do babies come from? question.  Adults deserve some privacy and children can seem as if they are trying to snatch up all pieces from everyone, it's why they can be so exhausting to care for.  But, just role with it.  That's what Sir Ken Robinson is trying to say.  In this case, it is so much easier to take what you have and work with it, than it is to remove these traits or punish them.  Children deserve to not be corrected for asking these questions or exploring the world, which is the automatic response from adults, you can't draw God or I can't tell you now, but you'll find out when you're older.
     What has lead me to tell you all of this today?  Because today a child was working on a feelings book in my office.  She wanted to make a pop up for her book on the sad page, she asked for a suggestion and I reflected the question back to her, what would be something 'sad' that she could add to the page.  She stared at me for a moment and then said, "Sad?  Like a rainbow with no pot of gold at the end?"  I stared back at her and pretty much held back the biggest sigh/laugh/burst of tears, etc. and said, ". . . Sad, like a rainbow with no pot of gold at the end."