Audio: Listen to this story. To hear more feature stories, download the Audm app for your iPhone. So why not move eastward through Europe, until we get the book on parenting the Moldavian way? And you can wonder whether the German molding system leaves German kids molded quite so thoroughly as Zaske, an American long resident in Berlin, insists. In her depiction, the new German style of child rearing remains, well, extremely German: here are the most highly organized forms of not being highly organized that have ever existed. Nowhere else, it seems, will you find such tightly controlled varieties of freedom, such militarized ordering of open-ended play, such centralized rules for creative anarchy. Adolescents are not only indulged in their freewheeling impulses; whole parks are specifically set aside for their explorations. And here we arrive at the real ghost that haunts these books, the one that sends us to Paris or Berlin for help: the sense that American parents have gone radically wrong, making themselves and their kids miserable in the process, by hovering over them like helicopters instead of observing them from a watchtower, at a safe distance. The helicopter metaphor is an odd one, since helicopters can often only hover, helplessly, as in the Vietnam-era newsreels, as the action goes on below.
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Internet prodigy and Reddit founder Aaron Swartz committed suicide on Friday. The twit, Guy Clinch, is the unlucky father of Marmaduke, an month-old prodigy of domestic mayhem. Prodigy likewise is relatively common in mathematics and the sciences. The young man stood still where he was, bewildered by this prodigy of paternal love. The juvenile criminal was regarded as a prodigy with a capacity for crimes far beyond his years. The forbidden fruit was furnished, and the prodigy of sacred lore applied himself to it with voracity. But the boy was at least two miracles rolled into one—a more than Siamese prodigy —a boy, and yet an ass too.
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To save this word, you'll need to log in. Is a prodigy a genius or a monster - or both? Nowadays, it's the talent that shines through, but back in the 15th century the word's meaning was more strongly influenced by that of its Latin ancestor, prodigium, meaning "omen" or "monster. Even in modern English, the word sometimes refers to an extraordinary deed or accomplishment. Wodehouse used that sense when he described how a character named Pongo Twistleton was "performing prodigies with the [billiard] cue. Dance Crew and singer-songwriter Nolan Neal.