[Gllug] Forward of moderated message

Alistair Mann gllug at lgeezer.net
Tue Sep 9 11:50:53 UTC 2008

> What can you 
> suggest for us.

My son has just turned 10; a few years ago he learnt to use mspaint to 
change the flags in a TotalWar game, and had the Canadians battle the 
Americans at Culloden. That's developed to the point now where he spends 
time designing Doom 3 levels to look like school, or home, complete with 
DadZombie, so I know where you're coming from. Both these feed his idea 
that a computer is something which is malleable, unlike the idea from 
modern schools where a computer is like a big TV.

Looking back, I started around the same age and spent hours in local 
departments stores and libraries voraciously reading everything I could 
lay my hands on, playing with ZX81s, Spectrums, Commodores, Ataris ... I 
have alot to thank Robin Bradbeer for making everthing he could lay his 
hands on available to us mortals.

This is by way of saying that self-direction was the key to my interest, 
rather than being fed interesting stuff by my parents -- what was best 
for me was that I felt able to explore whatever I wanted. When that ran 
up against obvious obstacles (such as the limits of my parent's 
finances), I learnt more and deeper about what I did have access to. 
Boundaries, then, were as important as open fields.

I'm not ready as a dad to have my 10 year old go unaccompanied to the 
kind of social spaces where he can start sharing ideas with peers, but 
that point is rapidly approaching, and will do him good both 
competitively driving forward what he's aiming for, and allowing him to 
start specialising, and finding a niche. You might suggest taking him to 
a variety of different clubs over a few months, and see which he likes best.

Another thing which will likely happen in the very near term is his 
desire to make and upload videos to youtube, /teaching/ what he's 
learned. Having to explain what's happened to someone else is a 
fantastic way to discover holes in one's own thinking and avenues as yet 

Good luck,
Alistair Mann

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