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Dumbing it Down

I tied my shoes correctly for the first time today. I didn’t even realize that one could do such a thing incorrectly, or the wrong way before watching this short video from TED.

The thing that perplexes is me is that I have to teach my children how to tie their laces sooner or later (assuming that laces aren’t an archaic memento of the vintage footwear of yester-decade, and that all shoes in the future won’t have five toe-lets and be held on by tiny but powerful magnets).

I struggle with dumbing things down too much. I mean why teach something the wrong way (notice in the video how Terry says that this way is easier to teach) when you’re going to have to teach the right way one day? Or worse still, your kids will one day find out that you only taught them the wrong way, and that by the power of immutable internet waffle, that you knew the right way and never deigned to mention it?

My two and five sixths year old daughter is already yelling at me in the car to stop biting my fingers – a habit she picked up from me, and is presumably having yelled out of her at school. How could I possibly teach her the wrong way to tie laces? What if they teach her the wrong way at school too, given that they have to teach 10 kids and have to presumably take the easy way out for efficiency and economy?

A friend of mine, let’s call him Harold, has an amazing ability to put things into very clear perspective. As a foreigner, whenever I ask him to explain a cultural reference, he gives me a 50,000 foot view, and ascends through strata of detail until he arrives at the microscopic ground level perspective. He often pops out the other side and gives a subterranean view too, giving more angles than a decomposed dodecahedron. It’s quite invigorating.

I want to get him into the room when my kids start the “Why?” game, trying to get to the root of existence. Harold would be a great fellow to pour the knowledge of seven encyclopedia in through their eyes and ears when they start of questioning a simple statement such as, “We’re going to Costco now?”

How would you teach people to tie their laces after seeing the video? Comment below if you have an inkling

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Janice Williams 2011/07/27, 08:16

    Wow! That is amazing. I wish I had shoelaces on right now to test out this theory. I distinctly remember my dad teaching me to tie my shoelaces. Oddly, he taught me to make a one-loop bow (you pull the lace on through so there is only one looped side) and then simply said, “And to make it two loops you just don’t pull it through.” So THIS way would certainly have been simpler than that! Perhaps you can teach your daughter the “easy” way and then, as she master’s that, give her the upgrade.

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