I guess nobody has *begun* discussing this Memo 3 (at least on this OLPC Wiki) but I have a few comments that could hopefully spark some dialog.
I'm totally with Minsky on so much of this stuff, like even accurate biographies of primarily fictional celebrity personas rarely glorify qualities which would seem best to idolize && emulate (whether that be for the self-image, goal-determination, && intellectual development of a child or adult). But then, there could be worse ones than doggedness for speed && strength. Strength is naturally necessary for all survival, to a distressingly persistently great extent (maybe still even primary ahead of coordinated intelligence under myriad circumstances). Yes, we && our culture tend to venerate warriors over philosophers, rarely depicting productive careers, but it does not follow as "trouble" for me considering childhood values could remain in-mind for a lifetime. I understand "intellect" to be tightly dependent on a mind's ability to consider differing values && keep working concepts in-mind for a lifetime (including consciously contextualized or personalized reformulations of them). So then, determination can be focused on glam && glitz but, if present, it doesn't take too much to refocus it onto "productive" topics && into careers.
I mean, there's a real need for time && resources to learn with && from respectively. It's hard to expand your vocabulary without having time, money, && sufficient bodies of text or conversational partners available for engagement. The drudgery of a monotonous day-job can facilitate tuition or eventually afford leisure to harness creative exploratory research outlets, aspirations, endeavors, achievements, breakthroughs, etc.. There's little time to meditate on meditation while shelter, food, medicine, community, && governance are uncertain.
Then I can't see a basis for "drop-outs" equivalence to "academic failures" in either place. Traditional impersonal education is itself a failure, irrelevant to eventual success in anything. The majority of large selections of the wealthiest United Statesians are high-school or college drop-outs; idolized performers command discretionary time && wealth (admittedly largely for frivolity, but such is our morass). Disinterest in cookie-cutter school may be a sign of general mental health. Just as dropping out is valid when a brilliant student commands a more vigorous understanding of a topic than the purported instructor, it is similarly valid when a student wants to learn but cannot do so through the enforced rote devices (e.g., "Show your formulaic, repeatable, interchangeable work!").
So "how hard" is it for "young children, by themselves, to invent good ideas about themselves"? Probably just as hard as it is for anyone else. The same for ambitions, goals, future-roles, self-images, && any other form of development or determination on what is sufficiently "good". A kid just has a young mind, which behaves similarly to the underutilized mind possessed by most adults. So then, I find myself needing to help make fearless thinking valuable, which will cause doggedness to consume && be irreversibly transformed by it. That's what my self-image directs! ;)
-PipStuart 84TELET (Tue Apr 29 14:21:14:29 2008 UTC)