Childhood Skills

In Mike Omer’s book a 5-year-old girl calls her mother on the phone. It really stuns me. My kid is very smart but she wouldn’t be able to talk on the phone, let alone dial a number.

She can read a map, though. We were on a hiking trail yesterday. She saw one of those roadside maps and immediately figured out which road to take to go where we needed. She also loves drawing maps and can do it for hours.

8 thoughts on “Childhood Skills”

  1. That’s exactly as it should be. Whenever the time comes for her to have to dial a phone number, she’ll learn to do it in a flash. No reason for her to waste precious moments of her childhood doing needless things like that now.

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  2. My wife Mary, an English teacher, and a very verbal, well-read person, has never had the talent of finding places in our nearby city. She often still gets mixed up about where she is going. This is obviously a talent you are born with or not. On the other hand, I as a youth was able to navigate unknown lakes in Canada on long canoe voyages, or hiking through Canadian wilderness areas.. I always knew where I was and always was able to drive to almost any address in the city without maps, cell phone, etc. When daughter Laura was 5, she began giving my wife absolutely correct directions when driving in the car to almost anywhere in the city. This showed her natural talent and sense of direction to helping her mom find locations in a sizable city. Of course today she is a college professor of mathematics.

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    1. My brother was like this– he could tell you where to turn to get where you were going from a very early age (he’s not a mathematician now, but he’s a fine mechanic). I didn’t learn my way around town until I started driving! On the other hand, I took over packing the car for trips at about age 8. I was the best at fitting all the things into the smallest possible space– still am.

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  3. Eh, I taught mine to dial a phone at about that age, because I was so often alone in the house with just the kids and no other adults. I thought they needed to be able to call for help if I fell off a ladder or something. At the time, we did not have any close neighbors who were ever reliably home.

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    1. That’s a great point. I wish we had a stationary phone and not only smartphones. I definitely don’t want to teach her how to access my smartphone. That’s one good reason to have a landline.

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      1. flip phones are cheap. Technically, they can access the internet, but doing so with a numberpad and a tiny tiny screen is so convoluted that in practice… there’s no internet access. You’d have to be trying to send an SOS message from the secret camp where your cannibal-cult kidnappers have you imprisoned or something, to make it worthwhile.

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        1. Also, any phone with a charge can be used to call 911 in an emergency, even if there’s no service, or it’s locked. You could teach her how to do that (and of course, what are the appropriate reasons for doing it).

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