I love Albert Einstein. (1879 – 1955). Whilst he might be very famous for his brilliance with physics- it seems that Albert was a great philosopher and purveyor of some great sayings and wise words. He looks like he was a bit of fun too. I, of course, should read his full biography before I make such a sweeping statement. But I suppose some of the words I have included in this blog really encapsulate some of my favourite beliefs as well. Let’s take the one below.
My great friend Vonny, is an Occupational Therapist and she is always saying how important play is with young children. And yet more and more, simple play activities are replaced with organized activities- sport (which of course is very important but not maybe when you’re four) dance, gym, maths training, judo, etc etc. Grassy backyards are replaced with manicured courtyards where the size of the BBQ is more revered than the swing set and sandpit. IPads and smart phones get thrust into little ones’ hands to take the place of some make-believe play with blocks and boxes.
So our play skills commence when we are little and then continue to challenge our beliefs, about the way things happen for our whole life …well actually only until we fall into the trap of going along with the masses, rote learning things, the ‘preferred’ curriculum, losing our imagination and curiosity. I reckon we’d have a lot more people like Albert Einstein if kids were allowed to…no encouraged to, think outside the square. That’s why I loved all my kids doing Art at school- and that’s Art with a capital A. It definitely develops a critical part of the brain, is so much fun and in Grade 11 and 12, it’s one of the few lessons you can talk all the way through and not get a detention. The Arts is so undervalued in our society. Music, painting, comedy sketches (especially Monty Python), poetry, writing- all these things make the world so much more interesting- and should be nurtured, heavily funded and promoted. And now back to the statement “Play is the highest form of research”. I’m pretty sure most of the clever inventions in the world, many of the best ideas and great pieces of research have originated from playing with an observation and then going off on a tangent when developing it; bits of crumpled paper (The Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao by Frank Gehry); talking around ideas over a glass of wine and generally thinking outside the square (helicobacter pylori research).
I think this is so important. If we can’t translate complex medical conditions and terminology into simple, easy-to-understand concepts that our patients can implement and use to change their lives, then we aren’t doing our job very well. Being able to sprout big words and confound patients isn’t going to improve their continence state or assist them to manage their prolapse throughout their later years. Sometimes the simplest thing can allow the woman to suddenly ‘get’ intra-abdominal pressure even if it does involve a plastic chook laying an egg!
And this is a clincher- how many ‘missed’ geniuses are out there because no one recognized their talent – because we all have to sit the same exams, study exactly the same stuff, in exactly the same environment. Recognizing individual differences is vital and that’s why, if you have one of those unsung heroes- a fabulous teacher who recognizes something special about a child, nurtures that spark, inspires a child to love learning, then the genius in all children will bubble to the surface. Of course that spark may be in a child with a disability and that’s where we, as a society, can be really remiss. We were talking a lot about services for those with a disability not so long ago and yet things have gone very quiet lately. It takes all types to make up a vibrant, egalitarian, fair society and what I loved most about the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) was people with different disabilities were front and centre on our TV screens every night- which is important and healthy for us all to see- to recognize the opportunities that everyone deserves whether they have a disability or not and to maybe see that our own lives aren’t so bad after all.
Well this blog on Albert Einstein has thrown up many discussion points -but that’s what he did best throughout his life. He was a thinker, a pacifist as well as a physicist and I encourage everyone to practice his radical belief – be an individual, dream big ideas and have some fun doing it. In his lecture at Einstein’s memorial, nuclear physicist Robert Oppenheimer summarized his impression of him as a person: “He was almost wholly without sophistication and wholly without worldliness … There was always with him a wonderful purity at once childlike and profoundly stubborn.” (Wikipedia)
If you feel like being inspired-read some more Albert Einstein!
Thanks to the Albert Einstein official site for some of these quotes.