Back in college, when we first had to use scientific calculators, most of my classmates bought the standard "prescribed model". Since I already had a scientific calculator at home, I did not buy a new one, though mine was a slightly different model. My friends' calculators had the Power On/Off button in the top right hand corner, and mine had the Power On button in the middle row, towards the right.
As it happens so many times, someone always needed a calculator urgently for some reason, and when their own was not within their reach, they would grab the nearest calculator lying around. Whenever anybody took mine, they would not find the Power On button. They would nearly panic and say, "Hey, your calcy doesn't have an On button! Where is it? Where is it?" All this, in spite of the fact that the Power ON button was the sole bright Red button among arrays and arrays of dull grey buttons, with "On" written prominently on it. Not one of them found it by themselves, because they were looking at the Top right hand corner.
Once, I had left this calculator lying somewhere at home. My cousin, barely 10 months old, crawled up to it, sat down, took it in his hands, drew out a small fat finger and pressed the On button, driving me into fits of delighted laughter. The next time anybody asked me where the Power On button was, all I would say was, "If my 10 month old cousin could find it at one go, so can you".
My uncle told me of an incident, where he took his one year old son to an art exhibition. My uncle paused before a painting of "modern art", and all that he could see was a hotchpotch of colours. As he was about to move on, his son suddenly shrugged his shoulders a couple of times, making the gesture he usually made when he wanted to denote a horse. My uncle, looked around, surprised, wondering where his son had spotted a horse, and then, with the image of the horse in mind, he looked at the very same painting he had been looking at all that while. He was startled. He could clearly discern a horse (misshapen, perhaps, but still, clearly a horse) amid that "mess of colours".
Learning: Kids are cleverer than us. (??) well, not exactly. Perhaps it is just that they have more open minds. Their brains are not conditioned. They still have the ability to see what is not always visible. Or they can see the obvious, while we miss it, because we don't expect to see it there.
Question: When, why, and how do we lose this ability that we had as children, and why do we grow up to be the boring one-dimensional people that we are now? I am sure there are many ways that we can again develop that kind of thinking and outlook. But, is there any way we can prevent our children from losing this natural gift?