Our system of upbringing has to work in a vein of our own life. We shouldn’t tell children nonsense and lies or paint a false world for them. Every toy must guide a child toward real life and the correct analysis of it. Every detail should be a tiny example of the realities of the big world. We should unfold it for the child gradually, keeping in mind that it’s the real world and not fiction.
To safeguard the child, I draw borders for him, while at the same time, give him freedom within them. A child learns to be human from his actions in these restricted and safe conditions. Gradually the borders expand, and gradually a human is formed within them.
Moreover, I don’t offer him solutions set in advance but merely a limited example. I don’t assemble the interconnecting “cube blocks” for him but merely set a pattern to follow and leave him with the freedom to fantasize and create. Occasionally, I even prepare puzzles, tricks, and traps for him so that he will be able to learn from mistakes. Only by doing so will I prepare a child for life.
How can I offer him all the solutions in advance? On the contrary, we grow from our experiences with puzzles and exercises, trials and errors. The memory of them forms a correct approach in a child, and he then knows where to start and how to solve a problem. In the end, if he errs, it will be solely because he was caught by surprise and didn’t expect such a turn of events.
Each following step starts precisely like this: It is new and unpredictable, and so the child makes mistakes. But while he is at it, he learns from his failure and benefits from it.
From the Talk on Education 9/29/10