Where do we lose them?

I’ve never met a parent who didn’t think their baby was exceptional. Through toddlerhood and preschool, the word from parents is that they’re “so smart,” and “really advanced,” or “very sharp.” But as we all know, that isn’t the case by the time those same kids get to high school. So what’s going on? It has to be that…

a) parents are deluded

b) parents are lying

c) somewhere in those kids’ lives, they lose the potential that they showed when they were very young

I don’t think that parents are either deluded or liars. I think that all kids have a great deal of potential. (There’s a TED talk for that.) So where do we lose them? And more importantly, why?

As a parent, I believe it’s up to me to make sure that my kids’ potential isn’t lost. Parents are the first ones who should advocate for their children, which means talking about what happens at school, checking homework, communicating with the teacher and administration, providing enrichment at home, and pushing for a better educational system. And when that educational system isn’t up to par, then it’s our job to get involved. For my part, I plan on attending school board meetings and speaking up. I’m sure I have a lot to learn, but also a lot to offer.



11 thoughts on “Where do we lose them?

  1. Dr. Kwame M. Brown says:

    Where do we lose them? In my opinion, the “losing”, or more accurately, the stifling comes from the narrowing of their thinking – the “over pruning” of the brain, if you will.

    This, in turn stems from two related, but separate things:

    1) The lack of play

    2) The lack of playFULNESS in education – I emphasize the “fullness” part for a reason.

    The maintenance of the ability to engage in divergent thinking depends on play.

  2. Dr. Kwame M. Brown says:

    I have seen the editorial, and as someone trying to directly affect child development policy, I am as grateful for that article as I am for your blog.

    Dr. Brown is not necessary! Kwame is fine. I just use that to differentiate myself on the internet. I deserve no more respect than you. Maybe more money or higher professional position, but no more respect.

    It buss me brain out how people haffi be called “doctor” alla time!

  3. Tracey says:

    Nice, Kwame πŸ™‚
    A friend of mine is creating a program that is meant to integrate yoga into elementary school curriculum. It’s going to be great when it’s finished.

  4. Hanna Wilbur says:

    Remember to also inspire children to want to keep learn, even outside the ‘curriculum’. When I was in high school, my friends and I went down a tunnel road. The tunnel was rounded. I asked, “Why is this tunnel rounded? Not squared, or another shape?” (I was using my brain to ask a question that will hope to spark an answer)

    You know what my friends said?
    “I don’t know. There are other more important things to think about.”

    Okay, now that was just a turn off.
    I promised a writing about tips in university, but suddenly I felt so dry… Like everything that was in my head for my writing evaporated. Here are my tips, anyone care to give me ideas?
    -Start with knowing why you chose that faculty? What is your end goal?
    -Prepare for lot’s of money (there are no student loans in Indonesia–thank goodness!)
    -Be careful of what you wear (just because it’s a university, you can come in class wearing sandals and a bikini. Lecturers can tell you to get out of his/her class for un-polite clothing)

  5. Dr. Kwame M. Brown says:

    @ Tracey:

    What a coincidence (I am also a yoga and Pilates instructor, as well as Zumba). Fitness has been the other side of my dual life since early on in my Ph.D candidacy (started in 1996).

    Check out my friend Suzie Celentano with Centered Kids here in the DC area:

  6. Tracey says:

    it’s definitely not a waste of time to think about why a tunnel is round. That has to do with the properties of a cylinder and rectangular prism to handle both wear and pressure over time. Sorry your friends didn’t see it that way.

    As for the university tips, I’d expand on your first one. It’s not only important to research professors, but also the alumni who did the course of study you’re interested in. See where they ended up, as it will be a fair predictor of what you can look forward to after graduation. It’s also a good idea to talk to current students about their experience.

    @Kwame: Thanks for sharing that video!

  7. SAS Fiction Girl says:

    Good topic. I’ll tell you what three things sent me off the rails:
    First, since the time I was in first grade, I had heard that I was very intelligent (high IQ, got the highest score ever on some school-wide test, or some nonsense), I was put into the advanced reading groups, and man, did I believe my own press. I came to the conclusion that being smart meant that I automatically knew everything and shouldn’t have to study. So, refusing to develop study habits was my first downfall.
    Second, in 7th grade, I was put in advanced classes with a wider group of kids, and that was the first time I was exposed to serious brainpower. I was discouraged to find out that there were kids so much more intelligent than I. Seriously, that is how my 12-year-old brain worked. It felt useless to try my best when I already knew that someone else was going to be better.
    Third, high school was a social disaster for me. I was so consumed by hating my outcast status, that I couldn’t bring myself to care about studying or doing well in school. Since I didn’t plan on going to college and being miserable there, I had no motivation to do much more than the minimum just to graduate high school.
    Some of us just don’t have our head screwed on right, from the time we enter kindergarten. I doubt there was anything my parents or teachers could have said that would have made a significant difference, mainly because what I thought was what I believed.
    The adolescent brain is a mess to deal with.

  8. Tracey says:

    @SAS: It’s true that kids who don’t learn to put in the work can get derailed as well. Yet another reason why education should look at the whole child, and not have tunnel vision about individual subjects, and also why parents need to be more involved.
    So sorry you had bad experiences in school!

  9. Hanna Wilbur says:

    @SAS: I was also considered ‘smart’ (I’ve known how to read before kindergarten and did only 5 years of high school). What I’ve learned and what my parents see is that attitude is much more important than just IQ (so, their perception rubbed off on me.). Anyway, lucky for me I always was involved in extra curriculum and was so involved in school organizations. My peers and teachers point of view is that school does not represent the real world, so we compensate that with other activities out side of classes.

    Even after I’m in university, I see friends who are active also in other stuff and/or have a job outside are much more mature then those who are called ‘kupu-kupu’ (kuliah-pulang-kuliah-pulang: go to class-go home-go to class-go home).

    @Tracey: Another good point one of my friends said was that in school, you know when and where tests are gonna be held. In real life, you don’t know when tests (i.e. challenges) come :D. So, you gotta be ready for the storm of life. These are stuff that aren’t taught at school enough. These are only learned from how our own parents and people around us respond to their daily challenges. The more challenges we overcome (I did say the word OVERCOME) the stronger we become :).

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