Christian Long

Gever Tulley: 5 Dangerous Things for Kids

In TED Talks on April 12, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Reflection by MICHAEL P.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Gever Tulley: 5 Dangerous Things for Kids

Everyone learns from experience. It is the best way to learn. It works better than any test or essay in the best school in the world.

You can read all the books you want about every subject in history. You can tell someone that touching the pot on the stove will burn all day, but until they finally try it themselves and get burned, they don’t really know.

If that is true, than why are we being cut off from these experiences, these potential life lessons?

Safeguarding children does nothing but hurt them. It prevents them from being properly prepared for the real world. In school, I hear all the time, “don’t let people copy work, it only hurts them.” How do you expect kids to learn anything if you prevent them from going anywhere near anything that could teach them a lesson?

Let kids play with fire, and I bet you that although they get burned once, they don’t do it again. If you had never seen fire before, and one day, you are all alone, and you encounter fire, you have no idea how to deal with it. You will most likely end up doing something far worse than a small burn when you were a child.

As Gever Tully said, “They’re young. They heal fast.”

You cannot be afraid of dangerous things. Danger doesn’t go away just because you shut your eyes to it. The Inuit children who are given knives don’t grow up to be insane homicidal axe murderers, contrary to what most overbearing parents would lead you to believe. Besides, that is what we are supposed to do. Humans are made to do things that are dangerous, and we should not suppress those instincts.

If you are afraid of breaking the rules, and there comes a time when you have to, guess what?

You’re screwed.

Although it sounds ironic and contradictory, the more you protect children, the more you are endangering them. The best lessons in life some from experience, danger, and mistakes, not textbooks.

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