#30 Two kitchens and children's intelligence

2023 . 09 . 20

The other day, I was given an opportunity to give a talk on the theme “Fungi are Friends” to elementary school children in Kagoshima Prefecture.

To be honest, I had lots of issues.
I regretted that I wasn’t able to attract children’s attention in a fun and interesting way.
But on the other hand, I had a lot to learn from the children.

Just I expected, children are intelligent!!!

Here’s part of my story.
I would like to share the conversation between them with you.

Me: Please imagine two kitchens. One is clean, tidy, well-kept kitchen and the other one is messy, food-waste-smelling, rotten bananas and a wet sink. Suppose there are flies outside. If you open the windows of these two kitchens, which kitchen do you think the fly will be in?

My guess: children will answer that the dirty one will get the flies.
Kids: come both! But the flies that come to the clean kitchen will soon leave! The flies in the dirty kitchen stay longer and multiply!

Like that … my first surprise.

Me: So, the flies in the dirty kitchen might have been licking dog poop or something when they were outside.
So, what would you guys do to keep them out as much as possible and to keep them from multiplying?

My guess: Kill the flies! Pesticides, fly swatters, etc!
Kids (almost all of them): Clean up -! Just clean the dirty kitchen!

My second shock.

Me: That’s great guys! But usually, you know, there is the idea of using insecticides to kill the flies, closing the windows so they don’t get in, and not going in and out of the kitchen too much. What do you think of this idea?

Kids: That’s weird. It doesn’t solve anything. Even if the flies die, they still might hiding. There could be flies, there could be cockroaches, it’s just not right.

My third impression.

Me: You guys are amazing! Think of a fly as a microbe. Think of the kitchen as everyone’s body.
This world is full of microorganisms, and there are many of them that can get along with us, but there are also those that may be harmful to our health.
What do you think we should do to keep these microbes as healthy as possible when they enter or try to enter our bodies?

Kids: keep our body clean! Always clean our body like a clean kitchen!

Me: Right, so how do we clean our body?

Kids: Poo! Pee! Sweat! Farts! Let it out properly!

My fourth deep emotion.

Me: But what adults are doing now against microorganisms is the same way: insecticides, closing windows, banning people from coming in and out, can you imagine? We had that with the coronas, disinfecting, masks, quarantine, etc. Before all this, the very, very important thing is to get our own bodies in order. Get your poop out, get your fart out. Remember, if you do that, even if microorganisms enter your body, you will be able to get them out quickly, and you will get well quickly.


My explanation may have been difficult, but the children listened to me until the end. LOL

How do we first keep our bodies in good condition. When our bodies are in good, our minds are in good as well.
We will not panic, and we will be able to face the situation without being afraid or frightened more than necessary.

It was a time when the children’s intelligence gave me great courage and energy.

Please talk to your children if you would like to.
Children want to know and love their bodies more than adults can imagine.

I believe that knowing and loving one’s body builds self-esteem.

Author ; Mayumi Inoue