Educationally, we seem to have decided that children are almost entirely incompetent.

We need to tell them what, where and when they’ll be learning. We need continual proof that they’ve listened to everything we’ve said, and we need to tell them exactly how to present that to us.

We need to give them complete and total direction or they won’t grow up competent and ready to contribute to the world. We need to control almost every aspect of the journey they take through their formative years, because we know best.

Except...we don’t.

Because when we put children in an environment where there is almost no trust or autonomy - as we do in most educational settings, most days - we literally turn their brain’s physiology against them. We break every rule for the best conditions for learning and personal growth, and we break every rule for feeling comfortable, focused, confident and empowered.

Forced learning and genuine interest and competency rarely go together. So if we’re going to remove trust, and ignore that a child is telling us it’s not the right time to explore whatever it is we’re asking them to, then we’ll need to accept that curiosity will remove itself too.

Often, for a very long time.

A child finding something they're both passionate about and competent in doesn’t come through force, or coercion, or expectation. It comes from following their nose down different paths. It comes from truly exploring, with their eyes and mind wide open. It comes from being ready. And we’ll only know when and how to help if we listen.

Educationally, we have got it completely wrong.

Children are born curious.

Control will crush it. It is trust that will free it.

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