Re: "Rage to Master" from Dr. Winner

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From: Stephen D. Williams (
Date: Wed Feb 14 2001 - 12:45:21 PST

Aaron Swartz wrote:
> <> wrote:
> > Similarly, it's easier for an average adult to imagine that young
> > Kragen (or Aaron Swartz, or Albert Sittler, or any of a number of
> > other kids I could name) is really an adult mind that has somehow
> > transmigrated into a child's body than to really understand the person
> > before them.
> >
> > Gifted children no more have "adult minds" than adult dwarfs have
> > "children's bodies".
> I can't resist responding! Perhaps it's not that some children are "gifted",
> but that the trivial busywork and nonsense of school and society destroy
> most other children.

I've been raising several children and around many more and that, along
with my experience growing up, has convinced me that maturity is about
numerous awakenings of various kinds. These can indeed happen very
early or very late, or sometimes never. There is also a qualitative
aspect that is typically not respected until after you have fully
absorbed it.

My point is that while an imperfect environment might not provide
optimal development, thinking that children will develop perfectly if
just left alone is niave. On the other hand, most children/people have
great potential that is only partially realized because they are not
lead through, exposed to, or pressured into passing those milestones.
Often even carefully explaining and demonstrating concepts doesn't cause
them to be ingrained or understood.

As for "adult minds", gifted children can pass generally accepted adult
milestones except for certain areas such as physiological controlled
development. The neural development stages that determine pre-teen and
various teen levels can vary quite a bit.

The maddening thing about trying to help children develop is that:

o) They are all completely different,

o) It seems that many lessons cannot be taught in any straightforward

o) Each "generation's" context is so different that subtle
misunderstandings ruin rapport,

o) Teenagers are more wild in many ways than pre-teens or adults and
spend most of their time with other teens rather than adults who could
provide a role model (re: the 'abolish high-school' thread),

o) Difficult childhoods produce strong, driven people who have a hard
time not producing lazy, aimless, uncontrolled children. Those children
barely provide for their children who then become strong and driven.
Hence the generation-skipping phenomenon and endless frustration of
successful people with their children.

o) It seems that the most important job of a teenager is to build good
mental 'habits' and weed out bad ones. The specifics are less
important. Learning how to learn, work, achieve, befriend, be happy,
contribute, be healthy, and grow beyond entertainment, sex, consuming,
being annoying, and variously wasting life.

Frustration at getting my kids interested in technology is one reason
that I decided to start Tech Scouts and Tech Explorers.

> --
> [ Aaron Swartz | | ]


Stephen D. Williams         Insta, Inc./Jabber.Com, Inc./CCI
43392 Wayside Cir,Ashburn,VA 20147-4622 703-724-0118W 703-995-0407Fax 

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