When will grown-ups be obsolete?

Image: ‘grownups

Tonight as I drove home from university in the pitch black and cold, I was warmed by the presence and cheerful conversation of one of my most favourite people in the world – my seven year old son, Balin. We had the radio on but it quickly became background noise as Balin began one of his famous ‘shared stream of consciousness monologues’. I love these. Tonight’s treasure was centred on things he wishes he had. I was so delighted with his list that I just had to share it with you.

1. The ability to fly.

2. The ability to touch something and immediately have all the facts relating to it in your head.

3. The ability to time-travel. 

4. The ability to move things with your mind.

These really aren’t original, by any means. But what I did find fascinating was his reasons for wanting these special ‘gifts’. It would mean never having to go to school again. If you could fly, he said, you could visit anywhere you wanted and see how people live in different places and how animals live in different environments. You wouldn’t need to learn how to drive. The second ‘gift’ is easy to relate to a no-school goal … if school is about storing facts in your head, why not just store them in everything and have that easily transmittable into your brain via a simple touch? Time travel would make learning about history straight-up cool and fun. Plus you could find out what inventions were created in the future, come back and make them in the present. The moving things with your mind … I have no idea how that relates to school. He actually got distracted from his list in the end because he was convinced that he made a bottle shake just by looking at it. Hahah. I love my little Bananas.

Balin’s imaginative way of thinking about the world … and his creative way of solving a simple problem (school = boring) is inspiring. How many adults do you know that would sit down and come up with the above list as the four things they most want in life? None, I bet. If we let kids actually tackle real-world problems using their imaginations and their undeniable talent for creative solutions, I reckon we’d have a heaps better world.

I know you’ve probably all seen this video, but I don’t care. I want you to watch it again. Why? Because the man is right. Children are the most creative human beings we have. I reckon we need to spend more time listening to them and less time talking at them. We can learn a lot and maybe the term ‘grown-up’ will no longer be synonymous with ‘boring’.


9 thoughts on “When will grown-ups be obsolete?

  1. From the mouths of babes… isn’t #2 the core principle behind PBL? Sorry to go all pedagogy on you, but I think your boy has nailed it. #s 1 & 3 are the online tools one uses, and #4 is what one person can do after experiencing #2 by means of 1 and 3. The only place this metaphor weakens is that the idea of “head” is a collective one… and I know what he means by “move,” but how much might he be able to do for the world if “moving” meant “changing things”?

  2. I read this after last nights parent/teacher night shock.
    One of my student doesn’t like my student centered approach, in fact, he was out right mad at me. Saying that I don’t really teach because I don’t give worksheets to read and highlight and I don’t write things on the board.
    I like to start a conversation….
    I give a fact, then ask a question, and have the students find an answer to the hypothesis and post it to Edmodo for their notes later.
    He said trawling through Edmodo was too hard and frustrating.
    So, I have a class of 24, I would have seen approx 18 parents…. and ONE kid ruined the positives of the night.
    I know you can’t win them all…
    But it was sad that this kid had lost his sense of creativity and wanted to fit into the square hole as a square peg – I try to teach my students to think for themselves and love learning.

    I want to teach Bananas! He would be a fun student who would always put a smile on my face when he discovered something new! 🙂

    • Oh Jess – I feel your pain and have exactly the same thing happening right now. I wanna blog about it but it’s too raw right now and I’m afraid that I might get myself in trouble. Isn’t it horrible that one negative dominates all of the positives? Human brain is so annoying sometimes, huh?
      I do hope you can teach Bananas one day – when our virtual school gets up and running you’ll be one of the first teachers! 🙂

  3. Different people learn in different ways. There is no single magic method that will work for everyone. School *is* obsolete: If you work in an educational institution, consider reskilling to make organic goat cheese. Oops, have exceeded my daily aphorism quota so am being cut o

    • Haha Chris – they are great. I am hoping to be one of the leaders of the ‘ban school’ revolution. “But where will the kids go?” they will ask. “What will society become?” All I know is, it’ll be damn-well better than it is now. If I have my way, neither of my boys will ensure 6 years of high school.

  4. Hooray for Bananas… I’ve been watching his creative genius at work as a roleplayer in the mines of late and he is just too much fun for words. Rebellions, kidnaps, love stories and heroic deaths.. his stories have it all! Totally with him on the flying too! 😉

  5. Pingback: » On being a bad grownup. Mind the Gap

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