'I would like to give some support to an intelligent child

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by smallcoffee, Sep 12, 2015.

  1. smallcoffee macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    Alright. Hear me out.

    I know that there is no sure-fire method of doing this, it's purely speculative, etc..., but I want to cultivate a an intelligent child.

    But a relative of mine is a very smart child, he's 6 or so. I want to find things that could allow me to help create a creative, imaginative, analytical person. The kid is set up for success. He'll get all of the parental support he needs from his parents, including discipline, access to resources, sports, music, anything he wants within reason. The parents are intelligent from a vast amount of experience but not "intelligent" in terms of a creative artist, engineer, doctor, computer scientist, or mathematician.

    I have the opportunity to help shape this young child, and I'm looking for resources that I can use. Things that helped me would have been toys like Legos, for example. In your opinion, what can I use to cultivate this child in such a way that they can be the best they can be? I don't want to force anything, but I want to be able to provide things that the parents might not think of. Certain toys, games, electronics, etc....

    I hope this isn't controversial or anything, I'm just looking to help the guy be an awesome, successful person.
     
  2. impulse462 Suspended

    impulse462

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    #2
    you can't force someone to be the best they can be, they have to want it themselves, but i get your question. I used to play with legos when i was young and i felt it enormously added to whatever type of creativity i have today. learning advanced math and critical analysis in reading I think are the best things that can help a kid (i have 0 experience in this, im just basing this off of my experience growing up). science/art comes later I think. with a solid foundation in mathematical skills and critical reading analysis coupled with some creativity activity they like, I can see that person becoming highly intelligent and successful later
     
  3. smallcoffee thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Hey thanks for understanding my question. Obviously the child has to want it themselves, but I do want to help provide the tools and access if they so desire, and to find subtle or not so subtle ways to inspire them. I don't have experience either, and I'm not looking for an expert, just some vague ideas that people have about it to help me think of some good ideas.
     
  4. ejb190 macrumors 65816

    ejb190

    #4
    If there is something that drives me nuts, it's when a parent pushes a kid so hard in something that they lose the joy. You see this all the time in youth sports. A friend of mine was well known for being a very good amateur meteorologist. I asked him why he didn't study meteorology in college. He said, "Why ruin a perfectly good hobby?"

    In youth our interests come and go. In the real world success often depends more on our collection of experiences than on being an expert on any one thing. "Well rounded" used to be the term. As parents we need to recognize when a child is ready to give up one thing and try another. (I always thought my dad was disappointed I didn't like fishing, but he was wise enough not to push me into something I had no interest in - though he did insist I at least try it, for which I am thankful.) We also need to recognize passion and support it.
     
  5. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #5
    Get yourself one of these for the not-so-subtle lessons.

    image.jpg
     
  6. Scepticalscribe, Sep 12, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2015

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #6
    Reading the post of the OP, @smallcoffee, I have to say that the verbs used bother me a bit.

    'Cultivate', and 'shape' and 'create' are verbs that bother me, nay, even disturb me, somewhat, in a human context such as this. Good grief, with this sort of vocabulary, you could be talking about training a plant to climb a trellis!

    (Hint: Verbs such as 'support', 'help to guide', 'encourage', and 'mentor' are a lot less troubling).

    This is because - on the one hand - it presupposes a highly active relationship on the part of the OP, and, on the other, some sort of subconscious notion of the child as a passive vessel, waiting and willing to be filled in a manner deemed fit by the OP.

    The idea of a child as little else other than a malleable and protean 'potential vessel, or receptacle' ready to receive whatever has been designed as a suitable intellectual diet is an idea in educational theory with an ancient ancestry, some would argue that it is as old as the hills: indeed, I seem to recall hearing of the old Jesuit belief that 'if you give us the child we will show you the man'.

    My issue - apart from the intensely - excessively, to my mind - active role envisaged by the OP in this child's future, is the very idea that the child can be (or ought to be) thus moulded. Shades of social conditioning, here, and a belief that one can, or should, mould children into desirable shapes. Is this your agenda, or theirs?

    Personally, I don't much care for the idea that children can be completely shaped, or that every hour of their lives should be accounted for by way of some uplifting activity; they are apt to have their own personalities and preferences, - sometimes strongly - and they are not just a blank slate. Moreover, they need space to be themselves, and to be able to grow into who they are.

    There is nothing wrong with offering support (financial and intellectual, being a role model, or a shoulder to cry on), and nothing wrong with a mentoring role, and offering encouragement and the possibility of an alternative way of living life.

    But you are not the child's parent. Any activity which may give the impression of seeking to supplant (rather than reinforce) the role of the parents may lead to a sticky situation. Moreover, you may need to examine your own motivations here. Are you compensating for something in your life, or the child's life?

    And, bear in mind, with the best will in the world, children can turn into people, sometimes stubborn people with ideas and ideals of their own. Remember, this is not Pygmalion, and the methods of Dr Suzuki don't always work. You cannot necessarily 'create' in an image you desire - as you will not fully know the raw material you are working with, material, which, in its human form has every right to resist any such attempt at moulding, creating, shaping, cultivating.

    Offer encouragement and support, instead. That may be welcomed.
     
  7. b0fh666 macrumors 6502a

    b0fh666

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    #7
    ditch television
    offer books instead
    punish often
    done.
     
  8. smallcoffee thread starter macrumors 6502a

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  9. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #9
    What did you intend? And I always analyse language; it is so instructive. Besides, I have to assume that people really mean what they say - or write - they mean.

    If you want to be a sympathetic, supportive and interested adult, who can offer an independent, objective, yet supportive and positive ear/shoulder, possibly even be a mentor, and who is not a parent, such a role may be very valuable in the teenage years, and early undergrad days. By all means, go for it.

    But those verbs which speak of 'creating', 'shaping' and 'cultivating' bother me. Support, sympathise, encourage, mentor, listen and advise are all - to my mind - preferable.

     
  10. smallcoffee thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    I don't want to be a mentor or anything of that nature in the context that you're thinking. I'm looking for toys, gadgets, activities, things of that nature I can use to spark interests and understanding from a young age. Naturally the child would decide whether they found those things interesting enough to spend time with.

    I hope that clears things up. I admit my OP, which was hastily written, could use clarification. This now serves as that clarification. What I don't want is any idea that I'm going to be intrusive, or push the child toward something that I want them to do, versus something they want to do. I'd like to show them possibilities and leave them to discover their interest on their own.

    Also, I was trying to not be specific about my relationship with the child, but it's a younger brother. There is 0 concern about any of the afore mentioned intrusiveness or anything like that.
     
  11. D.T. macrumors 603

    D.T.

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    #11
    I think you just need to spend time around them, get a sense of what they seem to react positively to, introduce them to a wide range of topics, experiences, etc. I mean, it's easy enough to just pluck a top 10 MENSA games and toss it at them, but this should be way more organic. I think it's more the idea of cultivating, testing the waters, being adaptive to their likes and dislikes.

    Oh, and also ignoring post #7 :D
     
  12. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #12
    Well, different generations promote - and respond to - different things.

    My Mother read a lot of stuff in the 60s which hugely impressed her (Dr Spock was a big influence, I seem to recall) and was a big believer in artistic and creative development.

    Thus, - especially on wet days - we always had paints, crayons, markers, - along with plentiful art lessons - and were encouraged to use them. We were encouraged not to be afraid to be creative, and to express ourselves creatively in both writing and in other artistic ways. Above all, we were brought up not to be afraid to be different and to want, or like different things, to what other children fancied.

    The use of Lego was encouraged, as were books and reading of all sorts. I am by far the most bookish of my family, but, both of my brothers are avid readers of newspapers, magazines and online material. Two of us are published authors.

    Nowadays, other interests may take precedence, but I am a huge believer that making kids easy with - and passionate about - reading, gives them an outlet and an escape, but also a love of and ease with language which will be of huge benefit (and no small source of pleasure) for their entire life.
     
  13. Roller macrumors 68020

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    #13
    Hmm... Mr. Spock had a huge influence on me in the 60s and 70s.

    OP: Without knowing more, it's difficult to say what opportunities you'll have with your younger brother. It's obviously up to you whether you want to provide more details, such as age difference, living arrangements, and so on, though I don't think anyone here wants you to go beyond your comfort zone. However, to the extent that you will have the opportunity to be a positive influence, whether it's as a role model, participating in learning, reading, and other activities, that's a good thing.
     
  14. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #14
    Well, both Dr Spock and Mr Spock wielded a considerable influence on my life; Dr Spock as a result of my mother having been enormously impressed by his theories, and Mr Spock whom I admired greatly as a child and wished to emulate.
     
  15. Don't panic, Sep 13, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2015
  16. AngerDanger macrumors 68030

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    #16
    Don't be afraid to mix sets; sets from the 80s will have pieces compatible with those of modern sets. Try to see if you can find a head piece with printed on glasses, for the glasses that are separate from the heads tend to get lost easily. As for the body pieces, be sure to mind the fine line between intelligent and evil—no Darth Vadar torsos regardless of how technical they look! Also, wacky hair can sometimes fulfill the intelligence of a fully assembled child. With any luck, the final product will grow into something as smart as:
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #17
    Oh, yes, a profound amen to that: I couldn't agree more.

    Reading books (and other source materials) gives a kid ease, and facility with the written language, and fluency and a vastly increase vocabulary with the spoken language; it allows you to use words to express yourself clearly and to be able to make a case - invaluable skills for an adult.
     
  18. JamesMike macrumors demi-god

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  19. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #19
    And, @smallcoffee, you might consider amending the title of the thread.

    Seriously, something along the lines of 'I would like to give some support to an intelligent child' reads an awful lot better than "I need help in creating an intelligent child'.
     
  20. einmusiker macrumors 68030

    einmusiker

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    #20
    Classical music, foreign language and abstract math.
     
  21. Roller macrumors 68020

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    #21
    Hah! Good point that struck me, as well. The original title, if taken literally, could lead to a variety of recommendations that might involve procreation and augmented intelligence. :)
     
  22. ProjectManager101 Suspended

    ProjectManager101

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    #22
    Keep it away from the internet. Teach him about sex, about making money, being creative and have discipline in his projects. There is nothing more useless than a person intelligent with creativity but lack of discipline.
     
  23. senseless macrumors 68000

    senseless

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    #23
    I've gotten a few snap circuit kits at Microcenter that were great. They could inspire a would-be electronic engineer.
     
  24. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #24
    Not being the parent makes it difficult to nurture a child. You may have some ideas how to help the child, it does not fall on your shoulders.

    I recommend spending some time with the child, you said it yourself, the child is set up for success, so instead of worrying about what toys to buy, just spend time and nurture the relationship. That will be more beneficial and received then some sort of toy that will get thrown out in a few months
     
  25. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #25
    OP, it's not your job to "cultivate this child" in any way. Just spend time quality with him and be a good example, and let the chips fall where they may.
     

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