Our children are our most important investment and their well-being is our primary responsibility. How we get them from helpless to confident and self-sufficient is our primary task. I am currently on that journey with my two beautiful daughters and hope I am doing the correct things to create wonderful members of society. These are my guide posts:
1. Create confidence
Give them confidence by allowing them to succeed and fail early. There is nothing like accomplishing physical tasks to give confidence. My girls have never been restricted by age guides. We have allowed them to challenge and master anything they would like to attempt. Many times they fail but it is only in failure that we learn how to succeed.
2. Make learning fun
We strive to make every experience a learning opportunity. I hate structured learning, that is not where most of our learning occurs. Most importantly, answer all their questions (much easier said then done).
3. No baby talk please
When my girls speak others are often amazed at the depth of their vocabulary and general language skills. Those skills are not coincidental. We talk to them in adult language and provide definitions as needed so that they have early exposure and reinforcement of appropriate language.
4. Early introduction to technology and science
My girls are 3 and 4 and both know their way around a computer. They both have been introduced to programming. The 4-year-old gets it and is an intuitive problem solver. The 3-year-old is not there yet but she is learning about computers and always want to program. They love seeing the effects of their work. They remind me daily that they need to program. We are on code.org most days and I am the one limiting their time.
5. Respect others and the planet
Letting them see us showing respect to others and nature gives them a sense of their place in the universe. We are here to take care of the planet which is not limited to our fellow primates.
Our child are willing and able to learn and accomplish so much more that we give them credit for. We need to unleash them. In the rapidly changing world we live in, the only skill that will guarantee success is adaptability. Exposing our children to as many learning opportunities as we can will prepare them well for the challenges ahead.
I will argue that the world is a better place for the arrival of free trade. The system we currently have is not exactly free or fair, but we are getting there. The problem with the drive to free trade is that it is not our default nature. If we examine our evolution and specifically we look closely at the development of language we will see a very different direction. Nature trends towards diversity and chaos. The current struggle to create a unified and equitable economic system is thus in contrast to natures default.
As we examine the development of language a counter intuitive balance can be seen. This can be seen where areas with the most population density have the greatest density of languages. Often these languages are so different as to make communication impossible. Why would that be so? I propose that evolution developed language as a defense mechanism for each language community. For language to be communicated effectively context and history need to be common knowledge. In that way the outsider may learn the words but is not likely or will not easily attain the necessary historical context to truly understand. This barrier is what protects each language group. The knowledge of the group is passed on by language in context that only those born into that language are likely to understand. In language we have evolution of the first system of protectionism. For thousands of years language isolationism as protected the economics of each group. This protectionism was also the primary barrier to truly large-scale growth in many language groups. Those groups with the most economic power have always been those with greatest command of language. This fact remains the same today. With the spread of the English language we can see the development of a truly global language that is giving every group the possibility of participation in the a maturing economic system. We are evolving a unitary language system, that will be beneficial to the economic system.
The current economic system is deep into the transition from local and regional to global. The system is growing by breaking down the barriers between countries, ethnicities and tribes. The continuing withdrawal from protectionist measures is the basis of our ever-expanding global economic system. We are participants but we haven’t noticed the evolution from a community of languages to a community language. The global is now a small community evolving a common language to ensure our protection from outsiders.
With the transition came a complex problem. What will be our common language? English in its many forms is that currency of communication. The form of English you speak will not be the Queen’s but we will understand each other without much difficulty. It is the nature of evolution to have competing systems, but I would suggest that as of now English is ahead. Once this acceptance as occurred and the language becomes rich with local context and history we as humans will have attained the necessary skills to become a galactic people. With a common language and economic system we will become more productive. How long will it take us to get there? If the twentieth century is our guide I’d suggest that the twenty-first will be that final stage of our transition. Will your offspring be ready to take advantage of the opportunities to come?
The day that you recognize that your life is getting in the way of you living is the first day of your life. For too many, that day occurs at a time when a meaningful life is no longer a viable option. Too many of us are unwilling to make the decisions needed and are too afraid to live with the consequences of our choices. Since my life so far has been short and unremarkable you should not listen to anything I have to say. What you and I should do is make a decision and live with the results. The path not taken is often lamented, but often the grass only seems green because it was painted.
Life is not a movie, but your first instinct is usually correct and ignoring it will be to your own peril. What was your childhood dream? Did you have a childhood dream? I often reference my grandparents as my biggest influences and I do so with no less respect for my remarkable parents. My grandmother’s goal was for all her kids to finish high school so that they could speak proper english. The goal may seem simple and unambitious, but success is about identifying the small essential building blocks of success. Language proficiency is at the root of success and mastery cannot be overstated.
I acknowledge Mama and Papa for their vision and determination. I reference them often because they are my champions. I will love them and remember them forever because their children have the same drive and have pasted it on. I will continue to stand tall because they have provided me and their many grandchildren with an example. We only need accept the challenge. Success is not about gold it is about goals. Focus, you too once had goals.