All too often, adults think that children by their nature should be doing childish things and remaining in their childish world, rather than imitating adults and their activities; this is the motto “let kids be kids.” Thus they are left in ignorance of what one considers as “beyond their age,” and if they show too much interest in such “beyond” things and inquire too much about them, they will be answered “don’t touch,” “stay away,” “this is not of your age,” “you are too young for that” or “anyway you can’t understand.” This makes future adults who will be ignorant, backward, immature and dependent on authority.
Rather one should become aware that the purpose of childhood is its own negation, so kids must grow up instead of remaining kids. They naturally imitate adults, and can learn fast. If adults trust their abilities and help them grow their talents, children will become masters in things that seem beyond their age.
Recently Bella Devyatkina, a 4-year-old little girl from Moscow, astounded the public on a Russian TV show called “Amazing people.” Beside Russian, her mother tongue, she can fluently speak English, German, French, Spanish, Chinese and Arabic. As can be seen on two YouTube videos (here and here), her pronunciation is correct and she can answer questions in each language; she can also read aloud text in the first five languages, and write her name, mastering thus both Cyrillic and Latin alphabets.
Some people said that she must be a genius. But her mother, herself a teacher, explained that Bella had nannies of various nationalities, and that she encourages Bella to learn and speak foreign languages.
One can find many other examples of very young children who master technical skills usually taught to teenagers or adults, because their parents encouraged them since an early age. For instance videos on YouTube show 5-year-old mechanics, an amazing one who replaces the wheel bearing of a car (with some mistakes), and two other ones changing the oil of a motorcycle and of a truck. Then an 8-year-old gives a perfect practical lesson on car oil change. Lastly, the 9-year-old son of a farmer drives a tractor and a harvester, welds with a burner, and can repair the motor of a lawn mower; his father has always been behind him.
On Pigtails in Paint, I also told about Emily Rosa who at age 9 devised and implemented a scientific experiment to debunk the self-styled “Human Energy Field” of quack medicine. This led to a scientific publication in a peer-reviewed academic journal, which she co-authored with her mother, her stepfather and a medical doctor.
Human potentialities are too often left dormant because children’s abilities are not trusted, and they are not really encouraged to prove their worth. If they were instead supported and told that they can do great things, the world would be much brighter.
Thanks to ‘Dissident’ for pointing out the kid mechanics videos.