Thursday, January 7, 2010

A gifted child...

Son: Dad, I want to quit school.

Me: What?! But why?

Son: School is so boring. They are teaching calculus, which I already knew since I was 6, and they are still learning Newtonian physics. When are they going to start on quantum mechanics?

Me: Yes, you are a gifted child. But do stay in school, dear. If you find the academic side of the school is boring, try joining student organisations, like the Chinese Language Society or debate team.

Son: Like what you did when you attended high school?

Me: Yes. You can learn about people relationship, people management, organisational skills but most of all it is fun! You could also do some charity work in the local community. By helping the poor and the weak, you get to see things from other people's point of view and it will change your life. You could also play some games, mix with people, go after girls, you know, those things that other high school boys do?! (laugh)

Son: But what's the point?

Me: What's the point of going after girls? (*Gasp*)

Son: No, dad. (=.= "') I know about going after girls. I meant, what's the point of learning people skills, etc ...

Me: Great to hear you are interested in girls already (*wink*). Well, there's a lot more to school than just knowledge, you know. And that's certainly true as well when you step into the society to work, which will happen soon enough. To make the right decision, you must learn how to appreciate the people around you, the culture and history. To realise a plan, you must make people to work with you. You don't expect to get everything done by yourself, do you?

Son: Didnt' Einstein developed theory of relativity all by himself?

Me: No. First of all, without Newton and all the subsequent scientist's groundbreaking work in gravity, there would be no theory of relativity. They were the necessary foundation to Einstein's work. Let's not forget that he had to rely on Eddington to verify his theory. And most important of all, Einstein was not just a physicist, he was also actively involved in politics and was influential in both the World War 1 and 2.

Son: Really? I see.

Me: Your knowledge must have a positive impact to yourself, to the people around you and ultimately to humanity, but you would not be able to do that if you do not first appreciate and respect the people around you. What good is knowledge if it doesn't help yourself and those around you?

Son: Does it always come in that order? Self, people around me, and then humanity? Sounds a bit far-fetched don't you think? Humanity, eh?

Me: Your sphere of influence grows in that order - you first influence yourself, the people around you and then, if you are lucky, humanity. But the importance is in the reverse order. Always place others before yourself. You will never know though, that some day you may be some one great and influential. But even if you are not the leader of the world, you are always important to me, to your family and those around you.

Son: Thanks dad.

Me: You are welcome. Remember, stay in school. Spend the extra time with friends and learn more about people, it's much more complex than quantum mechanics and string theory, trust me on it. There's no hurry in learning quantum physics and string theory. You can always accelerate your academic skills after high school when you start your university education. So what do you think? You feel better about school now?

Son: I guess so. I will check out the notice board tomorrow to see if any student project interests me.

Me: Good. Now, go out and play with your friends.

Son: OK. But I think I would go to my room and finish the book "The strange theory of light and matter" by Feynman. I am already at the last chapter. Love you, dad.

Me: Love you too.

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