What's it like to be a baby? It's like being in love in Paris for the first time after you've had three double espressos.— Alison Gopnik
The most wonderful Alison Gopnik quotes that are life-changing and eye-opening
From an evolutionary perspective children are, literally, designed to learn.
Childhood is a special period of protected immaturity. It gives the young breathing time to master the things they will need to know in order to survive as adults.
Scientists learn about the world in three ways: They analyze statistical patterns in the data, they do experiments, and they learn from the data and ideas of other scientists. The recent studies show that children also learn in these ways.
The more obsessively we focus on what a particular food is going to do for us, the less healthy we've become. Simple pleasures become complicated.
The brain is highly structured, but it is also extremely flexible.
It's not a blank slate, but it isn't written in stone, either.
Caring for children has always been one of the deepest and most satisfying things that a human being does, and yet it is hard to keep a healthy attitude toward it in our competitive, outcome-oriented society.
Babies and young children are like the research and development division of the human species, and we grown-ups are production and marketing.
The brain knows the real secret of seduction, more effective than even music and martinis. Just keep whispering, 'Gee, you are really special' to that sack of water and protein that is a body, and you can get it to do practically anything.
Preschool kids learn best when exploring, but kids in school learn best when they do things, interacting with a master. Unfortunately, our schools don't do much of either. Also, kids do need to learn how to deal with technology, and online education and otherwise using electronic devices as learning tools facilitates that.
We don't measure the quality of our other relationships by how well the other person turns out, for instance whether my husband is a better person after 10 years than he was when I first met him.
If you just got enough expertise and enough special techniques and read up enough, then you could shape a child into the kind of adult you wanted. There's almost this kind of competitive enterprise. That picture is the picture I think people often imply when they use the word "parenting".
We don't wife our husbands and we don't child our parents.
You read a bunch of books and you get a bunch of how-tos, and you take a bunch of classes and you learn a bunch of techniques. You set yourself goals and benchmarks. I think people have imported that into their experience of taking care of children.
Being a grandmother is a wonderful thing, so my advice is skip the children.
Go straight to the grandchildren.
We know that kids who grow up in an environment of warmth and support will thrive and function in whatever environment they find themselves. What we need to do is to do more to help poor kids have such an environment.
If parents are the fixed stars in the childs universe, the vaguely understood, distant but constant celestial spheres, siblings are the dazzling, sometimes scorching comets whizzing nearby.
I think, at the end of the century we'll have a generation of parents and a generation of children who won't have had the deep satisfactions of being parents and being children in the way that they might have and are going to spend a lot of time fretting and worrying and being hovered over for nothing. The question isn't so much "What will happen in the long run?" but "What's happening to people's lives right now?"
Philosophers and psychologists have long puzzled over the question of how we know as much as we do despite our limited experiences. One way is to see how children learn. Another example is consciousness. The concept is usually explored by armchair academics. Looking at kids expands our conceptions of consciousness.
We provide a secure, stable space for children to grow up in, so children will be able to take risks and have adventures and do things that are unexpected. If there isn't a risk that your children can fail, then you haven't succeeded as a parent.
We fear death so profoundly, not because it means the end of our body, but because it means the end of our consciousness - better to be a spirit in Heaven than a zombie on Earth.
The largest and most powerful computers are still no match for the smallest and weakest humans.
We pass our values, ideas and moral character on to our children, but we do that knowing that our children are going to revise our knowledge and reshape their values. There's something very paradoxical and profound about being a parent as opposed to parenting. We put in all this effort and energy not so that we can shape a child of a particular sort, but so that all sorts of possibilities can happen in the future.
Owning our past allows us to own our future.
Adults tend to think they have much free will.
Kids younger than six are less sure. They may be more realistic!
There is a tension between our desire to get our kids to turn out a particular way versus letting them develop to be their own person. If there were a pill that would make my child turn out the way I wanted, I'm not sure I'd take it.
To support the people we care about is intrinsic, it is not instrumental.
It's not something we do because we're hoping to get some other outcome.
Caring, whether for children or the dying, shouldn't be instrumental.
It should be an intrinsic, moral good.
Children are the most amazing thing in the universe, as far as I'm concerned.
If you're worrying about how it's going to turn out, you aren't experiencing that day-to-day satisfaction of being with these incredible, extraordinary creatures. Every single one of them is the most incredible, extraordinary creature that you're ever going to want to see. I think the joy of having that deep relationship - that's the core of what being a parent is.
Young children seem to be learning who to share this toy with and figure out how it works, while adolescents seem to be exploring some very deep and profound questions: how should this society work? How should relationships among people work? The exploration is: who am I, what am I doing?
I'm culturally Jewish but, like most scientists, an atheist: I don't believe there's a God or supernatural world. Buddhism offers guidance on what to do in a world without God: It opines that truly being present in the world‚ experiencing and hanging out with your loved ones, provides all the significance you could want.
Ineffective or weak brain connections are pruned in much the same way a gardener would prune a tree or bush, giving the plant a desired shape.
It's turns out to be much easier to simulate a grandmaster chess player than it is to simulate a 2-year-old.
Some people say that parents don't matter, and that's not true at all.
The irony is that we pay attention to all these things that don't matter, and not to what does matter, such as parents having enough resources to provide an environment where their children have both security and freedom.
Instead of just saying, "I love my baby and I pick him up because he's adorable and it's so nice to cuddle with him," we practice attachment parenting. We let our children play outside and have age-appropriate freedoms and are labeled free-range parents.
We're in a culture where everything is either consumption or production, so child care is either a very, very bad-paying form of work or a very expensive luxury that you purchase. There isn't a good place in our picture of the world for what caregiving is about. Even teenage babysitters have sort of disappeared from the scene.
Because we imagine, we can have invention and technology.
It's actually play, not necessity, that is the mother of invention.