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Protecting the Genius in Every Child
November 2, 2023
All kids are born geniuses, but are crushed by society.
-Michio Kaku, American physicist, professor, writer

What if early care and education professionals could guard the genius in every child, keeping it from being crushed as Michio Kaku fears it is? In Heart-Centered Teaching Inspired by Nature, Nancy Rosenow speaks to this idea:

“What if genius is about more than IQ or accomplishments? What if [it is about] some unique quality - some inner spark - each of us brings to the world in a way no one else can?

What does it feel like when I think about the responsibility of treating each person (child and adult) as miraculous, as a genius? I remember an encounter I had one winter:

I get out of my car in the middle of a snowstorm. I am feeling frazzled and annoyed by the need to drive on icy streets. A man dressed in filthy clothes approaches me and asks for money. Something inside me hesitates, but then I blurt out: ‘What do you need the money for?’ ‘I need to get something to eat,’ he replies. ‘I’m cold and hungry.’ That something inside me blurts out again: ‘Come with me and we can pick out breakfast together.’ The minute I say it I regret it and am second guessing myself. But standing in line to buy the food I am flooded with memories of how people helped me get through tough times. I am aware of wanting to respect the man’s dignity. ‘You know,’ I say, ‘Many people have done things for me in the past. Now it’s just my turn to do something for someone.’

The man turns and looks at me. His eyes lock with mine and I feel a jolt of recognition. He is me. We see each other. Then he says, with perfect grace and absolute certainty, ‘That is how the world works. We are here to help each other. Someday it will be my turn again.’ I feel his words deep in my soul. The words are not new and yet they are genius...

It’s almost too much to ‘see’ each other in that way...But what if I opened myself up to that more? What if I looked beyond the surface - beyond children’s vexing behavior, beyond colleagues’ perceived foibles, beyond even my own self-described ‘faults?’ What would I find? I suspect the word genius would not be wrong.”


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Comments (4)

Displaying All 4 Comments
Sarker Javed Iqbal · November 03, 2023
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Preschool Teachers should be mentioned as 'Preschool Learning Help'. 

Shawna Daniels · November 03, 2023
Carrboro, NC, United States

I love this! In my ECE classes, I often emphasize to my students that they are learning moderators, coaches, and developmental specialists. They always look at me strange because they are still working through who they are in the classroom. It’s true though, if we are looking at development before planning experiences that meet developmental needs, we aren’t “teaching”, we are scaffolding in all the ways and that focus is on development.
It’s affirming to hear this from someone else!!


Nancy Rosenow · November 02, 2023
Lincoln, NE, United States

Such an insightful comment, Carol. Thank you! A friend of mine said that when his son comes home from school he’s started asking him, “Who did you help today?” I love that question. It might encourage our children to stop seeing each other as competition.

Carol Tatsumi · November 02, 2023
Manhattan Beach Nursery School
Manhattan Beach, CA, United States

"He is me. We see each other. Then he says, with perfect grace and absolute certainty, ‘That is how the world works. We are here to help each other. Someday it will be my turn again.’ "

Beautiful......thank you for sharing these thoughts....indeed we are all here to help each other. Why do we not see help as the reason we are each here, and instead why do I often feel competitive?

Thank you.

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