Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Raising kids: another way of programming

Today while doing homework with Nicole I came across the realization that my number one task as a parent is not that different from my full time job.

Out of nowhere she tells me "I don't cheat at school, because I want to learn". I was like, oh my god, she does listen to me! At that point it was to me like seeing your application run, seeing the program working and then I thought, wow, it's all about programming. Every little talk, every little conversation become meaningful. I feel now as I talk to my kids I'm debugging, twitching, improving, as life enfolds and the programs get tested on the field. Coming back to a wonderful book by Marvin Minsky, "The emotion machine" (which I didn't ever finish BTW;) pride and shame would be two of the most basic ways goals get programmed into kids minds, but it gets so much better when you can consciously program them, it becomes another ride, an extra one :)

Obviously, when it comes to kids, you're not alone at the task. Teachers, peers, friends and family, media, will also do their own programming on them, and there's always genetics too which will indicate which programs flow better on their hardware as well.

I guess more importantly than providing the actual programs in this case, would be to give them the tools to program themselves. To assure them that they have programs in their minds and that they can change them, that they actually have to be monitoring, twitching and playing with those programs for life.


Unknown said...

Interesting analogy. Then again, one could see it the other way around too: programming is like raising a program kid. Food for another post?

Cecilia Abadie said...

Yes, that's another true statement. In that case the challenge is to let go of that child as it grows as in open source or letting others maintain it ;)