My kids are still young, respectively 4 and 2 years-old. The more I observe them, the more I tend to think they already hold all the right keys to live a good life. A few things here: it's not about 'my' kids, but kids in general. Since mine are the ones I observe the most, on a daily basis, of course they're the ones I might refer to the most. Then, when I say 'holding the keys to a good life' I mean: they already possess, play and use all the right ingredients to live life at its fullest but of course, everything is still raw. Hence childhood by the way, as a time to mature, learn, develop and we - adults - have such an important role to play here.
The most obvious skill kids seem to possess in abundance: curiosity. I even heard a few times some references to the 'why-period' - referring to this cycle during which kids start asking 'why' all the time; and a few times in a row. I find this wonderful. I can see my kids having a deep, profound and insatiable desire to know why. Which leads to probably the most important motto - and impactful advice - of all time: always be learning. Paul Graham recently mentioned this in Superlinear Returns - 'always be learning' being the best tactic to experience exponential growth.
Which reminds me Nelson Mandela's quote: "I never loose. I either win or learn."
Another post I read lately made me think that kids might hold more keys than we initially thought. In thinking for yourself, the author - Joshua - provides a few points on how to avoid 'groupthink'. Going through all his points in the perspective of kids growing up I instantly thought 'my kids practice this naturally'.
So what's happening? Why every (most) time I'm with grown-ups talking about anything, I never heard 'why' anymore? Why am I not harassed by questions? Most often than not, not even one! Of course I suspect there is something in this kind of 'industrial/ mass-education' we've put in place recently.
a program in the 1960s commissioned by NASA, which hired George Land to help them think about how they could employ more geniuses. They started with 1600 five-year-olds with creativity tests and found out that 98% of them qualified as geniuses. They came back five years later and found out that it was down to 30%; five years later, at 15, it was down to 12%, and at adults, it was 2%. Why? They equated it to school. Land said, “Uncreative behavior and thinking is learned.”
Joanne asked "why are we dumbing down our education instead of pouring as much money as possible into various programs for different thinkers? [...] Why aren’t we paying our teachers a good wage so more people go into education?" and I agree with her: it makes zero sense.
I stumbled upon this quote recently - mis-attributed to Ursula K. Le Guin by the way: "The creative adult is the child who has survived." Which lead me to a whole post written by Ursula herself - The inner child and the nude politician [what a title!] I highly recommend.
I discovered in there Wordsworth’s poem “Ode on Intimations of Immortality.” As Ursula refers to it: "a very wonderful statement of the necessity, and the difficulty, of maintaining a connection to one’s own child-self".
Those shadowy recollections,
Which, be they what they may,
Are yet the fountain-light of all our day,
Are yet a master-light of all our seeing;
Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make
Our noisy years seem moments in the being
Of the eternal Silence: truths that wake
To perish never.
I cherish this testimony particularly because it need not be seen as rising from the belief system of any religion. Believer and freethinker can share this vision of human existence passing from light through darkness into light, from mystery to endless mystery.
In this sense, the innocence, the unjudging, unqualified openness to experience of the young child, can be seen as a spiritual quality attainable or reattainable by the adult. And I think this is what the idea of the Inner Child originally, or optimally, is all about.
Objet du jour
While writing this I was looking at thing surrounding me and saw my pencil case, covered with scribbles and doodles. Childish time. Relationship recorded with Objet.