Regrets, no. I know there are no little Stevie’s out there wondering what their daddy is like. Outwardly, I told my boy how grateful I was that he’d filled the My Dad is cooler than yours shirt but in fact I love this car’s tank, proud that he’d known when to ask for help, pleased that he’d learned how to jump an engine…while quietly cringing that he may have destroyed my only vehicle at a time when I could ill-afford to replace it. To maintain curiosity is not so difficult, because curiosity is a natural part of the human character while its inhibition, which usually happens in the school years, is the result of socialization and a poor educational environment. (Unfortunately, many public school and many private schools are poor educational environments.) A curious person won’t be satisfied doing a dull job or living with an incurious person. So maintaining curiosity throughout life can come at the price of alienation from most conventional people. The risk of being considered an odd ball accepted, here are two things parents can do. Failure needs to be de-stigmatized. We learn the important things through making mistakes and when you are at a more sophisticated level you make more sophisticated mistakes. Not trying is what should be stigmatized. Failure is part of the game and failure can take you to unintended but sometimes wonderful places. People learn in various ways, it’s true, but those who have been made to feel second-class because they did not at first succeed will tend to turn themselves off from learning. In school that usually means learning only what you need to learn to get the grades, as opposed to learning to discover and grow – which is what we should all want. Fearing failure can lead to habitual opting-out of the learning process. For who wants to be a failure? Plus, if learning is associated with simply memorization, repetition, and regurgitation, who would want to do any more of that than is necessary? In the latter instance, if you do more learning than is necessary, you are also a kind of loser. This is the idea that you need to get the learning overwith to live a little bit and join life’s winners. Bottom line Happiness is divorced from learning, and that is deadly. Of course, there are some things that need to be learned that may not seem like fun, but that too is part of the game.
My Dad is cooler than yours shirt, hoodie, tank top, sweater and long sleeve t-shirt
Kids don’t seem to have much trouble learning the My Dad is cooler than yours shirt but in fact I love this rigor that is part of being on a high school football team. Rigor is not automatically something that children feel they need to avoid. Rigor is something to be avoided when it is felt as something that is likely to prove that you are a loser. If play is put in one category and learning in the opposite, then who should be surprised to discover that learning, and then work, is associated with something unpleasant you do, after which you reward yourself with fun? Very quickly, as learning becomes associated with unpleasantness that needs to be endured, curiosity becomes collateral damage. Your living strategy then becomes, minimize the learning or work and maximize the fun. The minute the teacher’s head is turned, or the supervisor’s head is turned, you switch to the computer game. This is something that isn’t boring. This is something that is fun. You are taking back the fun that life has stolen from you. Often ‘A’ students are the children who have conditioned themselves to be inured to tedium. Also, often ‘F’ students are only those students who can’t stand being bored. Obviously, both kinds of kids are at risk in terms of personal fulfillment. I don’t accept the idea that schooling and education are the same thing. What many people consider a good school might actually be a toxic educational environment, even if the average student in this school achieves comparatively good grades on those dreadful multiple choice, bubble in, high stakes exams. I would tend to make sure that my child isn’t placed in a toxic educational environment, whether the school advertises a rigorous curriculum or not. I have visited too many incurious and mediocre physicians who, no doubt, earned ‘A’s in medical school, to be convinced otherwise. For those who don’t know, government-schools in India represent the poverty-stricken sections, in the cities as well as in the rural areas, although obviously the condition is much worse in the latter. Not only are these schools in a state that varies from poor to horrifically dilapidated, the kids who study here mostly come from the slums. These schools, these children, their homes, their families, their backgrounds for a rough idea of the picture think: Slumdog Millionaire. The point is, it is the really poor people that I am going to talk about. Including those who lie below the poverty line. You are completely right about the relation between poverty and overpopulation.