(Children are the greatest agents of cultural change....(blah blah))

The pool of children can be thought of as the engine room of cultural evolution. Once adults leave the pool, they adhere to the values they learned in childhood.

Q.1. Is the meaning of 'pool' above same as 'group'? I've looked at the Oxford Dictionaries definition of pool ("A group of people available for work when required or considered as a resource"), but I still don't understand.

Q.2. The "they" in the second sentence refers to adults who leave the pool?

Q.3. I don't quite understand what the two sentences are saying. Can anyone explain, please?

Thank you in advance.

  • 1
    Welcome to the English Language and Usage Stack Exchange! Please note that posters are expected to do some research before asking questions on this site (Help Center > Asking). What do you find in a dictionary entry for "pool"?
    – herisson
    Commented Jun 29, 2017 at 18:08
  • 1
    Children can be thought of as the driving force of cultural evolution. Once they become adults, they adhere to the values they learned in childhood. / The mixed metaphor in the original is quite amusing. Must be marine diesels. Commented Jun 29, 2017 at 18:22

1 Answer 1


It sounds like "pool" means the population of children, but since being a child is temporary they don't refer to it as a group of children, because members of a group of children will grow up and not be children anymore.

If you want to think of it as a literal pool, the children are the water, some of the water evaporates (i.e. child becomes an adult), and then some new water is added to the pool (i.e. new children) when water level gets low, such that the level of the pool remains full, but the water that is contained in it is constantly being removed and replaced.

"They" refers to the children who grew up and are no longer in the "pool of children."

It means, childhood drives the cultural changes in society. Think about how teenagers influence what is cool, what music is in, what computer programs are cool, what clothes is cool...etc.

But once you are no longer a child, and move on with your life, your tastes and values are sort of locked in place. Think about how parents sometimes seem to be stuck in an older generation with regard to the style of clothes, movies, values...etc.

  • Unbelievably clear!!! Thank you so much. I understand all now! ^^
    – poohew
    Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 3:06

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