I consider myself a life-long learner. I love learning and trying new things. And so do most kids when given the freedom to expand independently, a privilege we adults often take for granted. But there is a difference between learning and being told, knowing and understanding.
While knowing implies understanding, the two words are not necessarily mutual.
I know I shouldn’t disassemble a battery. After all, I’ve been told. But I don’t reallyunderstand why.
And a lack of understanding in an interested person inevitably leads to investigation.
What My Disassembled Battery Tells Me About Parenting
We can inform our children of potential dangers until we’re blue in the face. We can tell them to quiet down when someone is sleeping. We can insist they not live in squalor.
But until they understand it for themselves, we’re likely just stoking their curiosity in the very thing we wish they’d avoid.
Without understanding they’ll be wanting to try swimming alone, wondering just how loud they have to be to wake the neighborhood or just how many insects can live under a pile of dirty socks.
Children have a desire to do well. But they can also only do as well as the tools they possess, and understanding is a mighty big tool. It’s often too big for many kids to grasp.
This is not an excuse to force them to understand something you feel is valuable.
After all, telling them repeatedly something they don’t understand, nor have a desire to understand, does not lead to real understanding. It leads to knowing. (And I may know E=MC2 but I’ll give you one guess as to whether or not I understand it.)
There once was a woman who woke up, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head.
‘Well,’ she said, ‘I think I’ll braid my hair today.’
So she did and she had a wonderful day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head.
‘Hmm,’ she said, ‘I think I’ll part my hair down the middle today.’
So she did and she had a grand day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head.
‘Well,’ she said, ‘today I’m going to wear my hair in a pony tail.’
So she did, and she had a fun, fun day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror, and found she didn’t have a single hair on her head.
‘YAY!’ she exclaimed, ‘I don’t have to fix my hair today!’
Inspiring look at life via Amazing Women Rock
I think now is like the perfect time we can enact on the ideals of a time when creative people were taking a stand against the way things were structured and we can also broadcast that stand through electronics and embody it and communicate it through creation and through artistic endeavors and hopefully it will achieve a much broader platform than it would have been able to if it were at any another time.
Maybe I’m overly optimistic, but I think most young, ambitious people want to have a positive impact on the world. Whether it’s through art or activism or advances in science, almost every student I spoke to had some kind of larger, altruistic goal in life.
The Mountain Disappears
I believe in people. I feel, love, need and respect people above all else, including the arts, natural scenery, organized piety, or nationalistic superstructures. One human figure on the slope of a mountain can make the whole mountain disappear for me. One person fighting for the truth can disqualify for me the platitudes of centuries. And one human being who meets with injustice can render invalid the entire system which has dispensed it.
I believe that man’s noblest endowment is his capacity to change. Armed with reason, he can see two sides and choose: he can be divinely wrong. I believe in man’s right to be wrong. Out of this right he has built, laboriously and lovingly, something we reverently call democracy. He has done it the hard way and continues to do it the hard way–by reason, by choosing, by error and rectification, by the difficult, slow method in which the dignity of A is acknowledged by B, without impairing the dignity of C. Man cannot have dignity without loving the dignity of his fellow.
I believe in the potential of people. I cannot rest passively with those who give up in the name of “human nature.” Human nature is only animal nature if it is obliged to remain static. Without growth, without metamorphosis, there is no godhead. If we believe that man can never achieve a society without wars, then we are condemned to wars forever. This is the easy way. But the laborious, loving way, the way of dignity and divinity, presupposes a belief in people and in their capacity to change, grow, communicate, and love.
I believe in man’s unconscious mind, the deep spring from which comes his power to communicate and to love. For me, all art is a combination of these powers; for if love is the way we have of communicating personally in the deepest way, they what art can do is to extend this communication, magnify it, and carry it to vastly greater numbers of people. Therefore art is valid for the warmth and love it carries within it, even if it be the lightest entertainment, or the bitterest satire, or the most shattering tragedy.
I believe that my country is the place where all these things I have been speaking of are happening in the most manifest way. American is at the beginning of her greatest period in history–a period of leadership in science, art, and human progress toward the democratic ideal. I believe that she is at a critical point in this moment, and that she needs us to believe more strongly than ever before, in her and in one another, in our ability to grow and change, in our mutual dignity, in our democratic method. We must encourage thought, free and creative. We must respect privacy. We must observe taste by not exploiting our sorrows, successes, or passions. We must learn to know ourselves better through art. We must rely more on the unconscious, inspirational side of man. We must not enslave ourselves to dogma. We must believe in the attainability of good. We must believe, without fear, in people.
Composer, conductor, pianist and educator Leonard Bernstein was longtime music director of the New York Philharmonic, where he led the highly successfuly Young People`s Concerts series. Bernstein forged a new relationship between classical and popular music with his compositions “West Side Story,” “On the Town.” “Candide” and others.
Source: The Mountain Disappears http://thisibelieve.org/essay/16368/
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