11.21.2003

Overconcerned Yet Underequipped

Iz has started to announce that she is smart, because that is the response she gets from larger people who are shocked when such a tiny girl can read so well.

I say, who the fuck cares if you're smart, if you don't do anything with it, if you can't figure out what use your intelligence should be put to. The world is full of "smart" fuckwads like Iz's very own mom, who was mentally put out to pasture for most of her education, and so is incapable of debating her way out of the shallowest of boxes. I don't want this to happen to Iz. Or Leelo.

Oooh, and what do I want for them? To develop their brain power to its fullest potential. By which I mean being able to carefully and thoroughly consider and synthesize whatever information comes their way, come to their own sound conclusions, and then defend them if necessary. I do NOT want them to be the kind of students Richard Feynman ridiculed while teaching in Brazil, horrifyingly obedient bodies topped by mental in/out trays, incapable of formulating an independent thought.

I don't care what route this mental development takes, as long as my kids are happily, passionately involved with their own learning. My secret precious hope is that, on top of this, they will treat other students not as competitors but as comrades with saddle bags full of sweet, sticky ideas for sharing.

Intelligence is, again, inconsequential in and of itself, with few exceptions. Insert lame metaphor about careful tending, fertilizing, watering, blah blah for proper flowering. It's sloppy but true--many clever little brains will go to rot unless they are whetted, challenged, and challenged again, until they become nimble enough to parry with confidence.

Unfortunately for my kids, you need the right instructor/guide for this to happen properly, and that just isn't me. I don't have the requisite fire, and would rather drink tea and eat shortbread while they watch Rubbadubbers. If they're lucky, some of their teachers will be divine gifts from above, but there is no point in assuming this is going to happen.

So the guilt is flowing. I feel sorry for poor Iz, and know that, in a just world, her mom would be someone like Badger--a white-hot model for love of learning. Sigh sigh sigh.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Respectful disagreement encouraged.

Related Posts with Thumbnails