This morning I heard a story about the Iraqi orchestra. Off-handedly, the reporter mentioned a 13-year old boy (Llewellyn Kingman Sanchez Werner) who has been invited to play piano with the orchestra. The boy, as they say, is a prodigy. The news story wasn’t about Werner, so there wasn’t much information on him, but I turned to my husband and said, “What if his parents said, ‘No, you can’t play piano all day – you have to go to school?'” Wouldn’t that be a tragedy? Wouldn’t we all agree that he is wasting his talent?  We don’t question for a minute when a “prodigy” is pulled out of school to travel the world performing.  In fact, we’d probably be upset if that child wasn’t given those opportunities.

But, here’s the thing: every child is amazing at something. Okay, maybe we can’t place every child on the prodigy pedestal because that’s really reserved for kids who are better at something than most adults will ever be. But, isn’t it possible that we are hindering every child in his pursuit of his gift by forcing him to go to school? We are trying to make all of our kids mediocre in everything, instead of excellent in one thing.  We are doing the same to them as we would be doing to Werner by forbidding him the ability to play the piano so that he could focus on American Literature or Physics. It’s ludicrous.

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6 Comments on "Prodigies"

  1. Sam
    06/06/2010 at 12:10 am Permalink

    I couldn’t agree more!

  2. Heather
    06/06/2010 at 6:30 am Permalink

    absolutely. And how many potential prodigies never find their muse till their older because they had to go to school and all the other things their parents insisted they do. (Not talking about the super geniuses, just the kids who have potential to be very good at one thing specifically.) AND how often do kids who attend school never find their passions because they are so busy doing what everyone thinks they should be doing.

  3. Marianne Burnham
    17/11/2011 at 5:52 am Permalink

    Could not have said it better! Love it!

  4. Nadine LeBean
    26/11/2011 at 10:16 am Permalink

    I often wonder what adults think we they see a child. based on their actions I don;t think they see beauty, potential or love. I think they see inconvenience or someone to be shaped and moulded to our wants. They really are all special. I see a child, and i wonder what they can do, what they like and how they think. Thanks for writing.

  5. Elizabeth
    21/03/2012 at 8:30 pm Permalink

    It’s certainly an interesting thought. I have considered home schooling and it didn’t seem exactly right for our family but a few weeks ago I came across the idea of “unschooling” and I like it very much. Thank you for all the information here!

  6. Cassi
    22/03/2012 at 9:13 pm Permalink

    I’m glad you’re open to the idea of unschooling and glad I could help along the way. –Cassi

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