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Q: Children - how much do they know? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Children - how much do they know?
Category: Family and Home > Families
Asked by: dtnl42-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 18 Sep 2004 04:54 PDT
Expires: 18 Oct 2004 04:54 PDT
Question ID: 402850
We have a society dedicated to children learning at school and to
"maturing" and "growing up" - but are we fooling ourselves? - do
children know a lot more than we adults think they do, and perhaps
more than we do!?

Looking for comments and sources please
Subject: Re: Children - how much do they know?
Answered By: pinkfreud-ga on 18 Sep 2004 11:39 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
I've gathered some good source material for you. For reasons of
copyright, I have posted just brief excerpts here; for more detail,
you may want to read each article in its entirety.


"There is something remarkable about these kids, and about kids the
world over: they experience life in a way that expresses deep and
profound wisdom. Their wisdom is born of their own connection to life
and to living things. Children, especially infants, still glow with a
pure and innocent light; and it is their shining light that causes us
to stop and stare and smile, because in that moment we step out of
time and into a timelessness where we are warmed by secrets we, too,
once knew and can remember again through the grace of children.

As I reflect on the many things I learned from speaking with these
kids, one of their teachings stands taller than the others: empathy.
They have empathy for all things in creation. Empathy is not
sentimental; it is not emotional imagination. Empathy is 'the action
of understanding, being aware of and sensitive to, and vicariously
experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another...'
Synonyms include words like communion, unity, harmony, kinship,

InnerSelf: The Empathy of Children


"As parents, we can get so caught up in all the things that we have to
teach our children that we forget to see that kids are also great
teachers. Robert Fulghum said 'All I ever really needed to know I
learned in kindergarten,' but you don't need to go back to school to
learn the all-important lessons of childhood - just pay attention to
your kids. What have they taught you about life and how to live it? We
asked the parents of Parent Soup what they've learned from their

'My child has taught me that patience is securely tied to the end of
my rope. She has reminded me of this weekly when I find myself there.'

'My child has taught me to pick my battles, not sweat the small stuff
that I used to think was worth worrying about.'

'My child has taught me about life and what it is really about. Who
knew that wet, soggy kisses could be so delicious! Of course, there
are plenty other things I have learned from my children. Such as, a
toddler can't be trusted alone with a felt tip marker. And toilet
paper rolls should be hung much higher than a toddler's reach and a
fish can only eat so much a day.'

'My children have taught me that although I am the grown-up, I am far
from perfect and that I make mistakes every day. That there is still a
child in me who is learning and growing.' "

Parent Soup: Learning From Your Children,,191736_183225,00.html


"If you could tell your parents how to raise you, what would you say?...

Here are the requests of three ten-year-olds: 

'Lissen to my feellings' - Laramie  
'Tell me what I did right' - Amanda  
'Keep your promises better' - Jeanette 

              [ * * * ] 

'Encourage me' - Billy, age 9 
'Have convdents in me' - Kelly, age 10 
'If you get mad at me, remember to forgive me' - Suzanne, 11 
'Love me like you?ve never loved anyone before' - Ayar, age 10" 

What Do Kids Value? What Do They Need?


"Kids, aged 5 to 10, were asked questions about what they thought of
love and marriage. Here's what they said...

'On the first date, they just tell each other lies, and that usually
gets them interested enough to go for a second date.'
-- Mike, 10 

'Spend most of your time loving instead of going to work.' 
-- Dick, age 7 

'Don't say you love somebody and then change your mind. Love isn't
like picking what movie you want to watch.'
-- Natalie, age 9" 

Things People Said: Kids' Ideas About Love


"And if we ask what it is that we are meant to learn from children, it
is easy to give a slightly sentimental answer. Let me just share with
you a rather different perspective, from a distinguished developmental
psychologist, Mary John, who has written an impassioned book about how
we should think of the rights and the power of children. ?The hallmark
of childhood experience, throughout the world,? she writes, ?is
surviving, tolerating and enduring circumstances and experiences that
are frequently intolerable? (Children?s Rights and Power, London,
Jedssica Kingsley, 2003, p.154). These are shocking words at first
hearing; then, perhaps, you start thinking about child soldiers, child
labourers and prostitutes, the millions of children living in poverty,
those growing up with HIV, the orphaned and the displaced - and you
see what she means. And in case we should think these experiences are
tragedies far off from us, we are today reminded that there are too
many children on the edge of where we ourselves live for whom the same
would have to be said.

What we learn is not just the spontaneous joy or trust that we might
first think of when told to become like little children, but a kind of
endurance and courage, even wisdom, that breaks the heart because we
find it so difficult to believe that such hard things can be learned
so early... To say we can learn from this is not for a moment to say
that these situations are anything but terrible, or that we ought to
imitate the techniques of tuning out and escaping. It is to recognise
the depth at which a child?s life can be lived, to learn the
complexities of a child?s humanity as they know it from the inside. We
have to learn to attend to this, to enter as best we can into this
world, to live at the same depth, taking the pain just as seriously -
and to know with all our feelings the longing for things to be
different. Is that what becoming as little children might mean, in a
world where so many children?s lives are intolerable?"

Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury: The Children?s Society
National Festival Service


"We can learn so much from children...

Children know a lot more about having a good time than most adults.
Children know how to laugh. They don't need much to laugh at.
Sometimes they don't need anything at all. They laugh because it feels

They are delightfully spontaneous. Children don't analyse and work
everything out. They are just busy 'being'... Children are eternally
fascinated. They are curious. Everything is a new exciting experience,
to be absorbed. Adults switched off. Many of us have forgotten what a
magic place this planet is.

Children are also very accepting. They are without prejudice. Rich or
poor or black or white, you are OK. A child is not your religion or
your politics.

Kids have enormous resilience and determination. If they want, they don't quit."

Families Worldwide: Learning From Children


"A famous poet once said, 'the child is father of the man' But I do
not hesitate to say that the child is teacher of the man. I believe
that we adults should try more to learn from children than to teach
them. Honesty is what we should learn from children, since the world
of adults is filled with hypocrisy and falsity. Goodness is what we
should learn from children, since the world of adults is filled with
insensitivity and injustice. Natural beauty is what we should learn
from children, since the world of adults is filled with artificial
beauty and pretense. In short, the child is a moral mentor who shows
us a world of honesty, goodness and beauty...

The hearts of children know no frontier. What is the heart of a child?
It is the very nature of man. It is the very conscience of man. The
hearts of children, therefore, can freely converse even with the
animals, trees and stones, and friendship is exchanged among them,
over and above the limits of time and space. Let us return to the
hearts of children. With such hearts of innocence, honesty, goodness
and beauty as children have in themselves, let us all build a heaven
on earth where the different human races could dwell as one family."

The 1978 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature and Creative
Communication Arts
RESPONSE of Yoon Suk-Joong


"Children eat as much as they are hungry for, they are as active as
their adults can tolerate, and they let their bodies be the size and
shape that is right for them. If they think about their size and
shape, it is to be curious and proud of getting big and strong and
increasingly able to do what they want. Many adults start by choosing
a body size and shape different from their own, then trying to achieve
that by manipulating their eating or forcing themselves to be active.
We could learn from children by letting ourselves eat and be active,
then learning to love and respect the bodies we have!"

Ellyn Satter Associates: What Children Can Teach Us About Eating


"I've noticed that there's a marked similarity between the tactics
employed by toddlers and preschoolers and those used by union
activists and protesters. Little children may be small and powerless,
but they're masters of the hunger strike, the sit-in, work-to-rule,
slow-downs and all manner of ingenious civil disobedience, although
some of it's not so civil. There are many lessons progressives can
learn from children...

If you ask a child whose lips are glistening with chocolate what he
has been eating so close to dinner time, he will reply, 'Nothing,'
with a sincerity reminiscent of Ronald Reagan's 'I cannot recall.'
What with denial, vague promises and an uncontrollable urge to spin
the most grievous behavior to their own advantage, the developmentally
appropriate egotism of preschoolers makes them perfect politicians."

Independent Weekly: Living with Kids 


Remember that wonderful toddler nephew of mine, running circles around
everyone at the picnic? His curiosity about the world fueled his
boundless energy as he bounced happily from one interest to another,
unafraid to take risks. Take a lesson from him and unlearn all the
dignified and adultlike behaviors that limit your actions and
thoughts. Let loose occasionally. Obviously, this approach may not be
very helpful in the emergency department or in surgery, but it may be
helpful when you need an innovative way to relax irate patients who
have been kept waiting too long...

Another childhood habit worth reviving is nap (or quiet) time. Don?t
laugh. Like children, adults could benefit from a refreshing mid-day
breather. Not necessarily a lights-out snooze on workdays, but just a
few minutes of quiet with your eyes closed. Instead, we force
ourselves to run on empty, totally exhausted, and waste enormous
amounts of energy trying to accomplish things that we honestly don?t
have the energy to do. Too often we stay in this vicious circle for
extended periods, and wind up blaming everything around us, rather
than our own poor judgement, for our ineffectiveness and low energy.

Learn from children (just as they learn from everything around them),
and you may be able to rejuvenate yourself and restore the passion for
life that those little ones feel."

Clinician News: Energy and Success/Time Management


This book is a treasure-trove of children's wisdom:

"Butterfly Kisses: Gifts of Wisdom and Laughter from Our Children," by
Mary Ann Casler, Tona Pearce Myers:

"Who hasn?t suppressed a giggle or wiped away a tear after hearing a
child?s perspective on life or loved ones? Mary Ann Casler and Tona
Pearce Myers went to schools, playgrounds, churches, and family
gatherings to collect the gems that make up Butterfly Kisses. The
stories, accompanied by kids? illustrations, reflect a wide variety of
backgrounds and beliefs, but they all convey the joys and difficulties
inherent in growing up. The book is divided into sections such as
'What I?ve Learned So Far,' where children offer such sage advice to
younger siblings as 'If you lie down with dogs, they might fall asleep
on your lap.' About God, one child quips, 'I know that God loves
everybody, but he never met my sister'." Butterfly Kisses

Here you can read brief excerpts from "Butterfly Kisses":

"Don't put your fingers in your nose, it will bleed. Don't put money
in your mouth, because I swallowed a quarter once. Don't hit people or
call them names because it hurts. Tell a big person if you see a gun
or a fire. The couch is for sitting not for jumping, but Mommy lets me
do it when Daddy's not home.
- Tyler, age 4" 

New World Library: What I have learned so far


Another excellent book:

"A Million Visions of Peace: Wisdom from the Friends of Old Turtle,"
by Jennifer Garrison, Andrew Tubesing:

"A Million Visions of Peace was published in response to Douglas
Wood's book 'Old Turtle' and the Old Turtle Peace Tour, which visited
over 150 communities in the United States. The messages of peace
printed in this colorful little volume were chosen from hundreds of
thousands gathered during the tour. There are dozens of wonderful
drawings by children and an even larger number of simple, eloquent
hopes for peace, brought together in a wonderful package. This is the
inspirational sort of book that you can keep by your bedside and read
a page or two a day. There is something touching about the simple
wisdom of children who want the adults of the world to remember
'Shells for Turtles, not for guns.' This book needs to be kept in

A Million Visions of Peace: Wisdom from the Friends of Old Turtle


I have not read this book, but it sounds delightful:

"Really Important Stuff My Kids Have Taught Me," by Cynthia Copeland Lewis:

"A humorous and nostalgic look at the things children say. Here are
children saying smart, funny, innocent, completely sensible things -
things that remind us of how simple the world really is, instead of
how complicated adults pretend it to be... A palm-size book with
graphically arresting pages, here are kids saying smart, funny,
innocent, completely sensible things-things that remind us of how
simple the world really is. Things like 'On the first day of school,
sit in the middle of the bus.' 'Lick your ice-cream cone slowly.'
'Play, don't watch.' Things like 'If you can't name it, scrape it off
your pizza.' Or 'Using a word you don't understand can be
embarrassing.' 'Stick up for your brother.' "

Really Important Stuff My Kids Have Taught Me


Google search strategy:

Google Web Search: "wisdom of children"

Google Web Search: "learn from children"


I hope this helps! If anything is unclear or incomplete, please
request clarification; I'll be glad to offer further assistance before
you rate my answer.

Best regards,
dtnl42-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
This is the best answer I have ever had from a researcher

Subject: Re: Children - how much do they know?
From: pinkfreud-ga on 19 Sep 2004 10:39 PDT
Thank you for the kind words, the five stars, and the generous tip!


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