My dad was a strong advocate of forced child labor.....MINE. Miraculously enough, I managed to survive my childhood intact, As a result of my traumatic youth, I find I am able to use a slide rule, operate a drill press,, balance and true a bicycle wheel , write a coherient sentence, maintain a career and a budget, and stay alive long enough to inflict my own version of torture upon my own four kids
Our youngest daughter, Jasmine, will be entering college this year, making her more or less an emancipated tenant under our roof. She will be beginning her studies as an English major, which, she tells me is an almost direct result of my coerecing her to reformat my second novel into a screenplay...a 6 month long project. Despite this cruelty, her love of words is at least equal to mine. (Yes, I paid her to do the editing....unlike many kids of her age, she has graduated high school with an actual marketable skill.) She also took small engine repair during her Senior year, and was proud to announce that her team's engine was the first one to start up after a complete rebuild. It's a good idea to be able to fix engines during one's off=season as an English teacher, I imagine.
Self esteem comes from the ability to actually DO something. And the MORE things one can do, the better one can feel about oneself. Making someone feel good about not being able to do something is a disservice....an artificial, short-lived substitute for true self-esteem.
To be honest, American ingenuity and technological dominance basically came about as a result of kids trying to get out of their forced labor. Our ancestors didn't really care HOW the job got done....just as long as it got done. Tom Sawyer had this figured out.
Without the incentive of tedious child labor hanging over their heads, however, there's really no need for kids to find creative ways of having machines (or friends) do their work.. So the best way to foment genius in the next generation is to give them a reminder of what life was like WITHOUT ingenuity. It's probably a good idea to periodically deprive one's kids of their i-phones and such, and make theim do their math homework with a chisel and a clay tablet.
It didn't hurt me one bit.
Causes Eric Nichols Supports
Free Burma Rangers, Partners Ministries (Thailand), Literacy council of Alaska, Access Alaska.