On parenting

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Faerie (May 30, 2011, 14:13:06 PM):
Whilst I consider myself a relatively good Mother (I have moments), and generally dont doubt my decisions relating to the welfare of my kids and, feel really blessed by having two really great sons, who do well and mean well in everything they do, but then, I really, REALLY feel rather let-down when I read something like this.


CT whizzkid in race for top award
May 30 2011 at 12:47pm

It was the perfect present for Tamboerskloof, Cape Town, wunderkid Luke Taylor when, on his 15th birthday, he found out he had been named a finalist in the Google Science Fair.

“It was great. I was sitting in my bedroom, refreshing the Google blog, when my name popped up. I flipped out, fell back on my chair and then ran around the house,” Luke told Weekend Argus about the news he received on Monday.

He will join a select group of 15 young scientists, wittled down from 7 500 original entries and then 60 semi-finalists, at Google’s California headquarters for the final round of judging on July 11.

His entry is a computer programme which enables a robot to understand instructions given in English.

The robot is able to follow instructions from commands like “drive forward” and “reverse” .

“I hope it can be used for bed-ridden patients and follow instructions like ‘Robot, go fetch a cup of juice,’” said the Grade 9 pupil from the German International School.

Luke will compete against four other young scientists in the age 13-14 category, all from America.

If he wins his category, he will scoop prizes including a $25 000 scholarship for further education and a personalised Lego colour mosaic set. He will also be the second or third choice for an internship at one of the competition’s participating organisations, including Scientific American magazine and Cern (the European Organisation for Nuclear Research).

If he wins the overall competition, he will win prizes including a $50 000 scholarship and be the first choice for an internship.

“I really want the internship at Google. It’s very difficult to get in there,” said Luke.

Meanwhile, he is working on improving his design.

“I am feeling the pressure, of course, but I’m doing my best and trying to keep it cool. I am allowed to modify the project and am working on voice recognition.

“I have been working on this since the beginning of the year, spending hours typing out lots of algorithms and testing it. But it’s worked, and made me happy.”

Luke is not only interested robotics, though. As a watersports enthusiast who likes to bodyboard, surf and swim competitively, he hopes to extend his stay in California, saying: “I want to see Mavericks Beach, its a great wave spot.” - Weekend Argus


Well done to this young man, and I wish him all the best in his endeavours. He will be watched I'm sure.
Brian (May 30, 2011, 14:20:59 PM):
You lost me there Faerie: Why do you feel let down?
Faerie (May 30, 2011, 14:44:30 PM):
You lost me there Faerie: Why do you feel let down?
:D Not really, its parental envy! My kids are great, and I certainly dont feel let down at all, its once one starts COMPARING that you (as a parent) wonder whether you really did everything you could to stimulate your children and encourage them to greater heights. My youngest is the same age but this kid obviously has found his focus and talent quite early and he's going to do well for himself in due course, and in all honesty, I wish him well.

We all suffer from parental envy at some point or another regardless of the love and pride you have for your kids, you see it daily around the sports grounds of schools and on honours evenings at year end. Its a social problem especially in the more status concious environments.
Wandapec (May 30, 2011, 15:00:35 PM):
Don't stress Faerie - that whizzkid probably doesn't clean up his room, or hang the towel on the towel rack, or do the dishes after supper, or take out the dustbin, or walk the dog, etc. like your or my kids do. Jokes aside, and no offense to programmers, if you can code like that at the age of 15 maybe you are not getting out the house much! :)
Brian (May 30, 2011, 15:07:22 PM):
Agree with Wandapec. Some wise guy (Noel Coward?) once said "comparisons are odious". Good Luck to Luke Taylor but don't doubt yourself or your kids...(we all do at some time I guess); look at some kids that don't have it so good (orphanages for example) and feel 'blessed' by the Flying Spaghetti Monster.


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