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Socrates (In the Form of a Nine Year Old)
March 29, 2013 11:41 AM   Subscribe

When he rang the doorbell, Zia hadn't planned to step inside. He was there to pick up his fiancee who was babysitting, but she couldn't leave (the parents were running late) so Zia agreed to hang out for a bit. His fiancee said, "Let me introduce you to the kids" β€” the 2-year-old girl, the 7-year-old boy and, most important, squatting, with no shoes on, surrounded by ants on the back patio, the oldest β€” the 9-year-old β€” the one he would make world-famous on YouTube.

This is the boy he now calls "The Philosopher."
posted by These Birds of a Feather (31 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
I saw this yesterday and nearly brought it here. It's a fascinating clip.... I was surprised, with all the views on YouTube, that we hadn't seen it before.

I see the title of the series as "Are You Wiser Than a 4th Grader?"
posted by HuronBob at 11:43 AM on March 29, 2013


I think Zia's analysis, that "merely" allowing your kids the opportunity to think aloud, ponder, ask questions and most of all TO BE LISTENED TO!!! is the simple key here. children learn via observation and imitation until we shut them down and put them in little boxes.

I have friends who raise their own much like this and at 7 and 4 they are pretty astounding
posted by supermedusa at 11:54 AM on March 29, 2013


I'm not surprised at all by this young man's philosophizing. What I AM surprised at is the fact his parents didn't have a cow that someone recorded their son without their permission-at least before the fact-and that it was loaded up on Youtube.

(Ah, cursed with the practical mother gene, I am.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:58 AM on March 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


let's just hope he doesn't end up in banking
posted by philip-random at 12:01 PM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


... or maybe, that would be exactly the right thing. I'm sure he'd have some thoughts on it.
posted by philip-random at 12:02 PM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


misread that as "didn't have a cow that someHOW recorded their son..." and was...perplexed...
posted by supermedusa at 12:05 PM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I remember having thoughts like that when I first read Cosmos back in 5th grade. (Never was as articulate as these kids though.) Now I'm a code monkey for an insurance company. Of course, that might just be because of my extreme laziness.
posted by kmz at 12:08 PM on March 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


He's already figured out that he might be mistaken....not the same as thinking you are stupid, eh?

Food for thought.
posted by mule98J at 12:10 PM on March 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I want to hang out at their house.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 12:14 PM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I contend that Nine-Year-Old Socrates is a pernicious influence in the polis of Lil' Athens! His constant paradoxes and qualifications degrade Truth and slight the divine order. And he confines not his sins to his own person: consider how his famous credo, "nobody can decide what you will do," has impelled our young people to intemperance and rash decisions, as evinced by Four-Year-Old Alcibiades' ruinous proposal to invade Tiny Sicily.

Let us then consign this impious little pedagogue to the harshest penalty our laws allow: a thirty minute time out on the couch, and no juice or pop for a week.
posted by Your Disapproving Father at 12:45 PM on March 29, 2013 [20 favorites]


too much Discovery Channel...
posted by atomicmedia at 12:45 PM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


The NPR article is amazed that he says "I could be wrong". The author actually asks, "How does he manage to be so aware of what he doesn't know?" Probably because grownups have told him that he was wrong before. What nine-year-old has never been told that he was wrong? I don't think he "figured it out" any more than he "figured out" that touching a hot stove causes a blister.

I don't understand the gee-whizzing at what is pretty normal for an above-average nine-year-old. Reactions like this to children are pretty par for the course. Adults wow over kids for being "wise" and "creative" but the kids are just expressing their hyper-linear was of thinking. That's why the show was Kids Say the Darnedest Things and not Kids Say The Wisest Things. If an adult talked liked most "creative" kids, you'd think him to be an idiot.
posted by Tanizaki at 12:51 PM on March 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


If an adult talked liked most "creative" kids, you'd think him to be an idiot. "
ummmm...actually, probably not.
posted by HuronBob at 1:01 PM on March 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'll give my child to be adopted by this couple.
posted by huguini at 1:16 PM on March 29, 2013


Can I get that swelling music underneath everything I say? Who do I talk to about gettin' hooked up with that.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:22 PM on March 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


I watch a video of Greg Nog playing baseball while my son reads his posts in a wond'rous voice.
posted by michaelh at 1:24 PM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Kids are awesome like this til they hit puberty. Then it's a hard fall into oblivion and a 15+ year climb back to any kind of clarity. We forget this constantly.
posted by zoo at 2:12 PM on March 29, 2013 [18 favorites]


I just wish that my own thoughts about the nature of the universe and all that's in it were as calm and soothing as this kid's. Usually cosmology kind of triggers lots of anxiety and stress for me when I'm the one dwelling on it. His explanations were very pragmatic and almost rather comforting.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 2:15 PM on March 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I contend that Nine-Year-Old Socrates is a pernicious influence in the polis of Lil' Athens!
....
Let us then consign this impious little pedagogue to the harshest penalty our laws allow: a thirty minute time out on the couch, and no juice or pop for a week.
posted by Your Disapproving Father at 2:45 PM on March 29 [+] [!]


Eponysterical!

Achievement unlocked
posted by cosmic.osmo at 2:39 PM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Somewhat related: I recently brought a boozy dinner conversation in DC to an abrupt halt when friends of friends were soliciting names for their second child. (Their first is Pascal.) I suggested Precocious.

The couple wasn't very happy, but the rest of the table responded with nonverbal high fives.
posted by wensink at 3:03 PM on March 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


Let us then consign this impious little pedagogue to the harshest penalty our laws allow: a thirty minute time out on the couch, and no juice or pop for a week.

Harshest? When I was tiny, my parents condemned me to cough syrup that tasted worse than conium.
posted by ersatz at 3:09 PM on March 29, 2013


I was introducing new microbes.
posted by ersatz at 3:10 PM on March 29, 2013


I recently brought a boozy dinner conversation in DC to an abrupt halt when friends of friends were soliciting names for their second child. (Their first is Pascal.) I suggested Precocious.

You must come to AskMeFi sometime.
posted by Tanizaki at 3:13 PM on March 29, 2013


I'm not surprised at all by this young man's philosophizing. What I AM surprised at is the fact his parents didn't have a cow that someone recorded their son without their permission-at least before the fact-and that it was loaded up on Youtube.

Why would they? He got the kids permission and the parents don't seem like the stodgy type.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 3:22 PM on March 29, 2013


I recently brought a boozy dinner conversation in DC to an abrupt halt when friends of friends were soliciting names for their second child. (Their first is Pascal.) I suggested Precocious.

The couple wasn't very happy, but the rest of the table responded with nonverbal high fives.


If only your parents could have known how appropriate 'Clueless' would turn out to be.
posted by jamjam at 4:12 PM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nonverbal high fives, eh?
posted by ominous_paws at 5:08 AM on March 30, 2013


Somewhat related: I recently brought a boozy dinner conversation in DC to an abrupt halt when friends of friends were soliciting names for their second child. (Their first is Pascal.) I suggested Precocious.... The couple wasn't very happy, but the rest of the table responded with nonverbal high fives.

Yeah. Hard to believe. Not impossible, though.

Scene in a Mall in Fresno a few years back: crowded store, upscale woman a bit overdressed for the mall, so she may have been en route somewhere, with two boys in tow, about five years old, probably fraternal twins (their clothes gave them away). She was hurrying toward the cash register, but the boys wanted to dawdle, so she called to them--

"Brahms, Mozart, let's go."
posted by mule98J at 9:53 AM on March 30, 2013


Kids like this are one of the reasons I requested occasional assignments in elementary schools when I was a substitute teacher. Kids will say astounding things if you take the time to listen.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 10:06 AM on March 30, 2013


Nonverbal high fives, eh?

Those are high fives where you don't say "high five" when you do it.
posted by RobotHero at 10:39 AM on March 30, 2013


She was hurrying toward the cash register, but the boys wanted to dawdle, so she called to them--

"Brahms, Mozart, let's go.
"

Oddly out of step with her own program, since she could as easily have said:

'Brahms, Mozart, allegretto!'
posted by jamjam at 12:31 PM on March 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Take him to "The Island".....he's not brainwashed yet!
posted by eggtooth at 2:34 PM on March 30, 2013


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