What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

It is not necessary for learning willpower or the teaching of willpower to be unpleasant for the child. In fact, the learning of willpower in children is most effective when the child is having fun. When children play, they’re learning more, they’re relaxed, they’re happy. 

There’s an innovative program called Tools of the Mind in which
three-year-olds and four-year-olds are taught to restrain themselves, but they do
it in a way that’s fun. Children are taught to engage or asked to engage in elaborate play. So for instance, if you want to
play, “Honey, what are you going to do today?” And then the child
says, “Well, I would like to have a tea party.” And the preschool teacher or the
parent says, “Okay, have a tea party.” And then you come back later and if the
kid’s had a tea party, great. If the kid hasn’t had a tea party, you can say, “Well
you said you were going to have a tea party, so where’s the tea party?" And
so you set up the cups and the plates and all that stuff. And it’s this elaborate
game involving make-believe, pretend, in which the child has to engage in a long
sequence of steps to do something that’s fun. And those fun things can build up
self-restraint and willpower.

Another example is a simple trick where if you want kids to listen
when it’s their turn to listen, you can give them a little cardboard picture of an
ear and say, “Okay honey, when you are holding this ear, it’s your turn to listen
and you should listen. And when I give you this little mouth, then it’s your turn to
talk.” And you know, talk, listen, talk, listen. And the nice thing about that is that
it’s what is often referred to as a mediating object, where the child has a thing
that she can look at and say, “Hmm. It is time for me to listen,” or “it is time for
me to talk.” And this mediating object and those mediating activities can help
children focus on an external object that helps them build up their reserve, their
ability to restrain themselves.

These interventions, these very simple interventions that don’t
cost very much money, can lead to better outcomes in being ready to read, in exerting self-control, and in other
measures of what’s called executive function by the age of four. And so just a
year of that can lead to improvements in executive function that you can measure
in the laboratory and also possibly serve them well over a longer period of time in real life.

 

How to Teach Your Child Sel...

Newsletter: Share: