Years ago, I panicked when I was invited to a remote meeting. Not being technically inclined, I worried that I would make some really dumb mistake. I tried to schedule our meeting after 4:15 PM, so that I could get some help from my technical assistant—my 10-year-old son, who by then would be home from elementary school.

Nowadays, that son spends his time studying in a yeshivah, but he still helps me from afar. My new in-house personal assistant is my 12-year-old daughter. To her, and to the younger generation, technology is intuitive.

Why are children so much better with apps, electronic toys, and computers than their adult counterparts?

Researchers at the University of California set out to find out.

They discovered that young children, even 4-year-olds who couldn’t tie their shoes yet, were better at gadgets than adults.

Psychologist Alison Gopnik, who led the study, thinks it’s because children approach solving problems differently. They try a variety of novel ideas and unusual strategies. “Exploratory learning comes naturally to young children. Adults, on the other hand, jump on the first, most obvious solution and doggedly stick to it, even if it’s not working,” she said.

When approaching a solution, adults rely on their ingrained way of doing things, whether or not it’s been successful. Children, on the other hand, have much more flexible, fluid ways of thinking and are far more willing to explore an unlikely hypothesis. In fact, the younger the child is, the more flexible is his or her thinking.

We often get stuck with the familiar, afraid to make necessary changes outside our comfort zone. We approach our relationships by dancing the same steps and reacting instinctively, even if that has intensified the conflict in the past. We solve problems using the same tried-and-true methods, even if these created the problems. We may be afraid to leave an unhappy job or circumstance because it is all we know.

When the spies return from scouting the Land of Israel, all but two shared a false, negative report. One of their statements was:

“It is a land that consumes its inhabitants” (Numbers 13:32).

The word for “its inhabitants,” yoshvehah, literally means “its settlers.”

The Chassidic master Rabbi Yitzchak of Vorka extrapolates from these words: “The Holy Land does not tolerate [but rather ‘consumes’] those who settle down, content with their achievements . . .”

Holiness means constantly climbing and reaching higher. We cannot allow our lives to “be settled” with stagnation; at every stage, we need to explore new opportunities for growth.

Through their technical expertise and by their constant open-minded curiosity, children remind us that our ingrained patterns shouldn’t keep us stuck in a rut. To truly thrive, we need to open our minds to new possibilities and keep reaching higher.