Children Are Little Geniuses
There’s a lot of talent in the heads of those little toddlers.
Exercising genes for birth: Why do unborn babies move around in the womb, flexing their limbs? They’re turning on genes, PhysOrg reports. They need that exercise, because “Zoologists and bioengineers from Trinity College Dublin have identified over 1,000 genes whose responses change markedly when embryos are not able to move freely in the womb.” Without that movement, they can be born with thin, fragile bones.
“Highly regulated signalling systems are needed for Mother Nature to follow the complex ‘recipes’ of genetic expression that enable the development of normal skeletons. What often surprises people is that mechanical signals also feed in to these signalling systems, and it is the movement of an embryo that sparks these.”
Creative geniuses: “Toddlers are creative at age two,” Medical Xpress reported. Psychologists at the University of Sheffield found kids looking for new ideas in as little as 24 months. “Toddlers as young as 24 months old were shown to be capable of thinking of creative and original ways of playing with the box and the objects – which included a feather, egg holder and spatula – all of which they had never seen before.” Now the researchers are seeing what 10-month-olds can do.
Gizmo guys: Surprising headline on Science Daily: “Preschoolers can outsmart college students at figuring out gizmos.” Believe it or not, “Preschoolers can be smarter than college students at figuring out how unusual toys and gadgets work because they’re more flexible and less biased than adults in their ideas about cause and effect, according to new research” from UC Berkeley. We’ll let college students decide if that idea is berserkeley, but it was supported by experiments using a game arranging pieces to make lights turn on. “This confirmed the researchers’ hypothesis that preschoolers and kindergartners instinctively follow Bayesian logic, a statistical model that draws inferences by calculating the probability of possible outcomes.” According to one researcher, “children have a lot to teach us about learning.”
Algebra aces: Another surprising headline on Science Daily: “Preschoolers can do algebra.” They might not write equations on blackboards, but children aged 4 to 6 (both boys and girls) grasp some basic algebraic concepts, psychologists at Johns Hopkins found. They showed “algebraic reasoning” in experiments with toys. Possessing an inborn sense of quantity and number, “These very young children, some of whom are just learning to count, and few of whom have even gone to school yet, are doing basic algebra and with little effort,” one of the researchers remarked. So the headline teases, “Are you smarter than a 5-year old?” (Note: The researchers reassure parents that poor math skills at a young age does not predict failure later; they might just have different ways of approaching a problem.)
These stories don’t tell the half of it. The wonder of human development shows the distance between man and the animals, the marvel of the human mind, and the sanctity of human life. Nurture children; they really are precious. They deserve a chance to become all that they can be, children of God by faith, worshiping the Creator (not “Mother Nature”) who gave them these amazing abilities. We adults should remember the admonition of Jesus that unless we come to the Father as little children, we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3). Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus prayed, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.” (Luke 10:21).