A Real Scientist.
I was walking along the Main Street in the small resort town of Svetlogorsk, formerly known as Rauschen on the Baltic Sea. A young man aged circa 5 rushed at me smiling happily. Yes, I know I hold an irresistible fascination for kids. ” I know what a hotel is!” he shouted happily. “It is rather like home only home is free and in hotel, one has to pay!” Putting aside the popular youthful misconception that home is free, it was quite nicely formulated. His mother, obviously feeling a bit apologetic, told me that he loves learning new things and then shares them with anybody he meets. It turned out he didn’t incessantly pester his parents with non-stop “WHY?”as many kids would do, but rather try to inquire about whatever it was that interested him, then try to understand and rationalize. I told her that probably she had a future scientist on her hands, which made her pause and stare at her boy with a perplexed eye. How do I know? Well, there are several distinguishing features or pointers if you will. One, any child may be inquisitive, but some children try to actually learn and understand. They file away the new knowledge. And they wish to share it.
Whenever I come across such a situation I willingly share my own experiences with the parents if they so wish. As we were walking in the same direction we walked side by side with the young woman. She asked lots of questions and I answered to the best of my abilities. For instance: if nobody in the family was ever inclined to go into science and research, can a child still evince interest? Sure. Einstein may be a remote reference, but I have a case in point right now, so I told her briefly about my godson. Can parents somehow support this interest and stimulate the development? Sure. In fact, I assured her that she was already doing a lot by not discouraging her son in his never ending quest for information. Are there any rules? Never. With children one should always be ready for the unexpected! Though I did tell her about my own household rule: no explosions at home, and clean up the mess.
This little chance meeting at an unfamiliar place was immensely uplifting and gratifying. Science is indeed everywhere. Even little children realize that.