It’s astounding how much children learn from imitating adults. Not being an anthropologist, or a biologist, I would guess the imitation is a survival skill. We like the pack. We like to look like others, be like others, to fit in. This can be a good thing: we will waste less water if we know how little our water our neighbor uses.
Having never been one to run with much of a pack, I was surprised to learn this lesson the other day by watching young Jackie Evancho. If you haven’t seen her yet, take a moment to watch her perform the beautiful O, Mio Babbino Caro, a song made famous to non-opera goers in the Merchant-Ivory film A Room with a View.
And yet here is even more evidence! Sung-bong Choi, a homeless, uneducated street orphan from South Korea, who taught himself opera by watching a man in a club.
These performances have taught me to never underestimate the inherent abilities of any child. We throw around these truisms all the time: monkey see, monkey do; we talk about how children are sponges. But they’re so much more; we have only scratched the surface about how the brain works.
By now, the entire Internet-accessed population of the world has seen the babbling twins on YouTube…
A couple months ago, when the twins story broke, Dashiell and I watched the video, a few times. And we sometimes joke about their banter at home, always ending our babble with an upward tone, as if asking a question, the way the twins do. Well, Dashiell was listening! Here he is impersonating them (click here if you can’t see the video embedded below).
How, then, to not limit them?