phriendly phantom phonecalls

February 15, 2007

Heh. Kind of a restless night, and this morning around 6:30 I thought I heard my cellphone ring in the other room. I ignored it 'til like 10 minutes later, then went to check.

And it's kind of a good thing I did... even though it hadn't actually rung, it made me realize that my flight was leaving 2 hours earlier than I had been for whatever reason thinking.


Luckily I have time to spare, but still. Sometimes I think a year of business travel has made me a bit too blasé about the whole subject.

Quote and Insight of the Moment
Gladwell said. "More Upper West Side adults have pointed to Mozart, I'm quite sure, as a justification for sending their kids to excruciating early music programs, than almost any other historical figure."
--Malcolm Gladwell, in this piece on the surprising gap between child prodigies and achieving adults.

That was a link from this MeFi post, and I was actually much more haunted by this New York Magazine piece on the danger of being a smart kid. To quote the MetaFilter summary:
Praising a child for being smart only teaches the kid to avoid any effort that might fail.
That, in a nutshell, is My Biggest Problem, and I set up roadblock after roadblock for myself to protect a surprisingly delicate self-image; so over-inflated that any prick of "I tried hard but failed" might cause the whole thing to come crashing to earth, and so I've setup a huge anti-needle, patch-and-glue brigade.

I'm not sure if it's just a result of over-praise, though. Smart kids are better at seeing the possible negative consequences of a given path, and I think a fair number of them are afraid of confronting a situation that might end badly despite all best efforts. Or maybe I'm projecting based on my own experiences, with family tragedies I could do nothing about, which taught me that even the best intentions don't always help.