Sunday, June 26, 2011

Fascinating or non-fascinating?

In a discussion on why children should learn things, I suggested that it would make them more interesting at cocktail parties. Someone objected, saying children shouldn’t be pushed to learn things just to make them interesting. She had missed my point, but that only made the discussion more vibrant.

The cocktail party goal might be more worthy than pushing them to learn things so that they can get into college, but I was really enjoying the discussion because it was so different. For one thing, it’s quite a figure of speech now, so many years after the heyday of “cocktail parties." And wouldn't an admissions officer prefer fascinating over non-fascinating? But the stated objection was this: “To push kids in all kinds of directions in order for them to be fluent at cocktail parties is a waste of time, imho." It amused me and I responded. ...
photo by Holly Dodd, of herself in a Learn Nothing Day shirt

1 comment:

  1. A relative, apparently thinking I had pushed Annalise into her lifelong fascination with anatomy, asked, last year, "Why does a five year old need to know about DNA?!"

    My first thought was to wonder what age had to do with it. My second thought was, "Well, it IS what she's made of, so why shouldn't she know about it if it interests her (it clearly does!). The third thought was to wonder what internal limits set someone up to think certain things "belong" or "don't belong" in others' heads.

    It was a crystallization, for me, of how far from mainstream we are on this, because it seems so alien to consider limiting what kids can or should know....

    On another note, I love the word "fascinating". which I always hear intoned in Spock's voice, and the feeling of Being fascinated. I wonder if it's possible to have a joyful life without maybe that's a reason. Everything learned might bring fascination, and therefore joy and a richer life.

    That's worth the effort, IMO.


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