THe only good thing about insomnia is that there is often very interesting stuff on TV.
I'm watching a documentary about genius, and child genius and whether geniuses are born or made. Tony Buzan is trying to teach a bunch of under-achieving children in order to prove that with the right stimulation they can potentially flourish into geniuses.
I loved watching this segment of the program- it's wonderful to see how well the children responded in six months to the right sorts of help and encourageemnt. How much more curious and self-confident they were. How their interest in learning developed and thier self-esteem improved.
It's something I believe in deeply - in suiting the education to the person, not the other way around.
But the most enthralling and scary aspect for me is the little vignettes that the program features about various parents who try to turn their children into geniuses and I wonder if any of those people know how incredibly warped they are.
Seriously. The parents are scary fuckers. I'm sorry I'm not taping this because it's absolutely spectacularly horrifying.
e.g. this woman who has her two year old enrolled in a zillion classes, and when asked what her plans for her daughter are repeats:
"She's going to be a medical doctor. And I'd like her to specialise in infertility research."
I find so sad to watch these kids, who have to embody and mediate the enormous weight of thier mother's dream. And yet, to the casual observer, this might look like nurture and dedication rather than emotional abuse.
Or alternatively Take the example of the Sevcik family, where aside from clearly incapacitating their child from birth by naming him Hunter and then the mother even from before birth has gone on to stimulate his intellect delibeartely as much as possible. He wasn't allowed to watch TV, he practically learnt to walk in the Natural History Museum and for me most astounding of all are the things the bloody mother actually says on TV.
eg. *It's amazing how adult-like he is, and has been from the very beginning. Like, I'd sit him down on the couch while he [pointing to the dad] was working a zillion hours on Wall Street, and I'd tell him how much I missed the dad and how much I needed another adult there, and how he was my soulmate blah blah blah.*
For fucks sake!
Talk about making your son into your substitute husband/lover who is going to redeem you, and all the failures in your own fucking life by being a chess genius.
And then they're surprised when thier children cave in and become mental wrecks in adulthood.
It's unbelievable to watch the child disintegrate on screen - where this child is clearly caving in under the huge pressure, where if he doesn't win a chess game he goes to pieces - I mean his fucking mother talks about how he shakes if he loses and throws up, not once but many many times . Good grief. It's amazing that the parents are not seeing how fucking wrong it is, because what good is having a kid who is good at chess if he is an absolute wreck emotionally and can't relate to people. He's only 6 years old for goodness' sakes.
There's such a glamour around gifted children - the exalted heights of genius ; and yet - what is genius exactly, and why is it so much more important than being happy?
So much goes into the effort of hunting for genius, developing genius as though it was some kind of Holy Grail, although interestingly, much less effort goes into preventing geniuses from cracking, and making sure they are rounded, well-adjusted individuals.
I could rant on this subject much much longer, but I should probably attempt to go to sleep now so I can keep my eyes open at work and beyond. ;)