"With respect to the development of powers devoted to coping with specific scientific and economic problems," wrote philosopher John Dewey, "we we may say that the child should be growing in manhood. With respect to sympathetic curiosity, unbiased responsiveness, and openness of mind, we may say that the adult should be growing in childlikeness."
The seminal thinker on education in the 20th century, Dewey defined learning as the reorganization of experience into meaning. Human beings must do more than learn; we also learn to learn, he argued. But what? And how?
In her six series on self control in children, Sandra Aamodt, PhD and author of Welcome to Your Child's Brain, explores the development of conscience, empathy, and "theory of mind," or the ability to imagine what other people are thinking and feeling. Aamodt suggests that parents and teachers help children label their emotions at an early age. As kids grow to understand motivation and consequence, they become warmer and more sensitive.
We adults can strive to become more like children by exploring spontaneity and learning how to achieve wu wei--the ancient Chinese practice of "flow," effortless achievement. Success comes with letting go, and letting spontaneity in, which is the focus of Edward Slingerland's critically acclaimed new book Trying Not to Try. Big Think interviewed Slingerland about the power of spontaneity.