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Children have a lot to teach us if we just learn to listen better

Feb 3, 2017

What can we learn from the children around us? Do we really even listen to them?

Christopher Phillips, founder of Socrates Café, has been sharing what he’s heard and learned from our youngest citizens.

Christopher Phillips speaks with children.
Credit Courtesy of Christopher Phillips

Phillips is author of The Philosophers' Club, Socrates Cafe: A Fresh Taste of Philosophy, and most recently The Philosophy of Childing: Unlocking Creativity, Curiosity, and Reason through the Wisdom of Our Youngest.  

In his work, Phillips explores the notion of “childing”, a mid-13th century term that means "blossoming from a healthy core." He blends philosophy with cognitive research to understand how adults can learn from children's curiosity.

“We get caught up in the 'hurly-burly' of everyday life and we forget about this wonderful, inherent sense of curiosity and our exploratory nature,” Phillips said.

For the past 20 years, Phillips has led what he calls "Philosophers' Clubs" in children’s libraries around the world.

“Whether we are parents or childless, there are ways to engage with children, especially in philosophical inquiry,” Phillips said. “And we realize that not only can they say the darndest things, but they can think in the darndest ways. They can frame questions in ways that we adults have forgotten how to do.”

For more, listen to the full interview above.

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