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Ingenuity of children




I've been thinking about something. I don't know how interesting this will be for people but I have a rhetorical question that I want to share: I wonder if the ingenuity of children is to do with their willingness to try new things? Children learn much faster than adults, it's well-known... Unless it's biological, this is my conclusion.


I know I used to be fearless with technology. I would press all kinds of buttons and turn knobs. I didn't care. I don't take as many risks with that now... I bet you it's because I have mistakes logged in my brain that i remember, "Okay, you tried that once, so don't do it". Maybe that's our limitation as adults at times?


I know a child asked me recently what was wrong with my eye. Just straight up. I was taken aback, but it was also refreshing so I explained it was Strabismus. There was no meandering or "pussy-footing" around and finding out later... She just asked the question and got an answer... Of course, mistakes are USEFUL; they advise against being foolish. Taking too many precautions, however, can be equally damaging.


To put it plainly, apart from biology, I think children's ability to learn quickly has to do with their willingness to take risks; they don't have a pile of mistakes recorded to make them hesitate.

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Hmm, an ability to take risks, or an inability to properly assess for them?

Regardless, a funny thought to complement our understanding of the neuro-electrical concepts of learning. Since learning goes best and is quickest with implicit information uptake, the taking of risk will find its biggest gain in not knowing the shame that is often experienced upon the failure of an experiment. I do not think that the child who asks is conceptually better at learning that the child that does not ask, but the child that tries sure as hell becomes smarter than the one that does not. But that's just how I feel about it.

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An interesting idea. To your second point, very true. The way you explained it got my brain thinking - If one doesn't know the consequences of something one is about to test, one learns the most. It's new territory, and unexplored mental conceptualization and compartmentalization must occur to learn from it; at least that's what I would imagine for most people with common sense. I agree completely with the fact that children who make the attempt regardless of outcome are smarter because they learn from their mistakes. It's a faster and exponential learning-curvature gain in that sense, too. Taking new risks, often, (speaking from my own experience, as I made a lot of mistakes), increases those issues with which to take risk, they multiply and children must learn rapidly to adapt to their environment as a result. That's what I'm commenting on; that initial expedient learning acceleration for whatever duration it has in childhood. It's fascinating! But I digress. I agree, merely evaluating or posturing over risk-taking doesn't seem to teach as much as a failed experiment, as you put it, to say nothing of the usefulness of strategizing. Heh.

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