Reinventing the World: Neverlanding

Children will design the future. Sadly, they’ll steal The Bubble’s crayons to do it.

It is a suicide mission to come up with “one size fits all” solutions. Many have tried and failed. However, it is an invaluable achievement to come across something that will stick for the rest of our lives. For example, one of my earliest memories is going to see the play Peter Pan with my parents. Although I knew nothing about J. M. Barrie, Jung’s Puer aeternus syndrome or a half-goat half-boy oboe player from Greek mythology, a cultural imprint for classic literature was then tattooed on my sub-conscious.

Harold Bloom’s book Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages, in spite of some criticism, is a great example to illustrate that good stuff is ageless. Inspired by Pythagoras’ wise words, “educate the children and it won’t be necessary to punish the men”, an innovative Japanese TV show called PythagoraSwitch encourages the augmenting of children’s “way of thinking”. Who would guess that Pokémon and Pikachu would be replaced by fine classical Greek philosophy in the twenty-first century? Maybe, it was just about time…

Because I have unconditional love for my precious daughter, I now realise how amazing it was to have read Montaigne’s essay “Of the education of children” about ten years ago, when I was still a law student partying like a criminal before getting caught. She is only two but already knows a lot. For example, she can easily recognize Bebop music after having watched The Jungle Book or Swing after repeatedly dancing to the sound of “Everybody Wants To Be a Cat“. When I tried to jazz up the repertoire through M’s contribution to the French animation The Triplets of Belleville the result was even better, since we both became fans of the movie and music! If the combination of jazz and animation is too trivial, how about some staged opera? Surprisingly (or not) I remember how excited and focused my little sister (not so little any more) was when I took her to see a spectacle at São Paulo’s Opera House of selected excerpts from operas, symphonies and ballets; now she is a genius! Hehehe…

Nepotism aside, the realization of children’s potential, responsibility and role in building a better future for humanity is getting serious; Germany is considering extending voting rights to babies, toddlers children and teenagers, as recently reported in the Telegraph. It may seem crazy to give children such a representative power, but would it be crazier than adults’ proven destructive power?! In 1992, during Eco-Rio, the first international environment summit, a twelve-year-old girl’s speech left the leaders of the world literally speechless through the lucidity of her words explaining the future challenges her generation would have to face.

I am not an educator and wouldn’t be able to give the formula of how to embed knowledge, wisdom and intelligence into a child’s mind. However, simply cultivating a mind seems like a fruitful exercise so… do our common future a favour and show these and other good hyperlinks to the closest child!

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