|How brilliant can a |
child really be?
There’s a Verizon commercial that shows a little girl trying to hang model planets from her ceiling and looking through a microscope when her parents stop her. Then at the end she looks wistfully at a school poster advertising a science fair and applies lip gloss which tells us her dreams are dead. The commercial says “66% of 4th grade girls say they like science and math but only 18% of college engineering majors are female. Isn’t it time we told her she’s pretty brilliant too?” The problem with that commercial is 66% isn’t really a lot. To me it’s surprising that only 66% of girls say they like science and math. First of all you have to assume a few of them are lying because it’s the right thing to say, so the real number is probably more like 40-50%. And it doesn’t factor in if they’re good at science or math, it just means they “like” it. These days anyone can “like” anything. You just click the thumbs up button on Facebook. There’s a big difference between liking something and having a true passion for it. The way I see it, yes, parents can discourage their children from doing things, but at the same time if a child has a natural instinct to pursue something they’ll do it. The parents can’t control how their child acts in school. If someone is truly gifted at science or math they will show it and any parent who discourages that should be punished. However, I doubt that’s actually happening. If somehow there are actually parents telling their daughters not to do math and science then that’s sickening, but I think this commercial was sending the message to overinflate a child’s ego and that’s not good either.
Also, I don’t think just telling someone they’re smart makes them smarter. The same way telling someone they’re pretty doesn’t make them better looking. If you want to help your kids in the long run, be honest with them. Don’t fill their heads up with lies about how great they are because that’s just going to turn them into psychopaths. That might help them in the business world, but I doubt it will help much in the fields of science and math. Those subjects are firmly planted in reality and the study and functions of it. If you want your kid to be a scientist or a mathematician, introduce them to the theories and concepts and either they’ll want to do the shit or they won’t. Sure you can pressure them into it, but that’s what they do in China and those kids don’t look too thrilled.