June 3, 2002
Look at the graph on the left. I drew this while sitting in a chair when I was away at the cottage. I was thinking about children and education. I was thinking about how short childhood is. I was thinking about how nice it would be to be a kid with little worries and little cares. I was imagining having nothing but time to sit and enjoy learning new things around me without any pressure to succeed or any fear of failure. I was thinking that learning for the sheer enjoyment of learning would be nice.
I started thinking about intelligence and when it starts to bud in kids. I would guess that the period from birth to puberty is the period in which most of the intellectual leaps and bounds take place. After that, the personality is firmly rooted, most of the hardwiring is done, and the human being simply refines this for the remainder of their life.
Consider the cyan (light blue) line on the graph. This is my representation of the average development of intelligence with age. There is a sharp increase from birth until 12 years or so, then there is a quick, albeit lesser increase from 12 until 25-30 when most education and job training takes place. After that intelligence does not rise all that rapidly for the remainder of the lifespan. Seems reasonable.
Now consider the dark blue line. It follows essentially the same pattern, but at a higher level. This is my representation of the gifted individual. That person who is born with their wiring set up a little more efficiently. Patterns are clearer, understanding comes easier, learning comes quicker. There are some people like that out there. The problem I find with a lot of parents is that they all think that their kids fit into the gifted category. More often than not, they are probably wrong.
And then there is the third category represented by the red line. I am calling this the "accelerated" kid. I am not talking about the kid who does his homework and gets acceptable grades while maintaining a social life and an enjoyment of the process of learning. I am talking about the kid that gets outside tutoring to improve their already acceptable grades. This is the kid that the parents want to turn into a gifted kid. This is the kid that is pushed hard to learn, fast tracked through school and bombarded with as much "educational" time as possible to ensure that they accelerate past their peers.
I often wonder about these kids. My wonder is represented by the red line. I wonder if pushing your kid early does indeed give them a slightly better intelligence when compared to their young friends, but this difference then becomes negligible or non-existent once they reach early adulthood. If my red line is accurate, it is quite possible that all of the pushing and prodding and driving of children to perform at a higher level actually does not do them any good later in life. If anything, it could do damage to their enjoyment of living.
As a kid I was not pushed to learn. My parents knew I had potential but told me that as long as I did my best, that was good enough for them. In highschool, I didn't try that hard, but got away with acceptable grades. When I did not hand in a report or failed an exam, I learned that it was my own fault. Somewhere along the way, I realized that my best was something that I had discovered for my self. I realized that with some hard work, I could accomplish many things. In the end, I feel happy with where my intelligence level has developed to. If my parents had pushed me harder, would I have ended up happier/richer/more successful than I am now? Or would I have developed a distaste for learning and yet still ended up as intelligent as I am now. It is a tough call.
::Also showcased at Raising Hell::
May 31, 2002
May 30, 2002
May 28, 2002
If there is something I hate, it is when a character leans over to hurl and all that comes out is a mouthful. It is obvious that the volume of vomit is exactly the amount that the actor could hold in their mouth when the director yells "Action!". And it bugs me every time. Whenever I have hurled (tequila induced purging in Algonquin park, Halloween party vomit in a grocery bag, every flu I can remember, etc) the volume that comes up is incredible. It is definitely more than a mouthful. So, with major motion pictures having astronomical budgets, why can't a little money be funnelled into making the vomit look realistic? I think that this is something that would be well worth the money. I can imagine myself leaving a movie saying "That movie kinda sucked, but boy did that guy HURL!".
There you go, Hollywood. Do your thing...