We all have to learn. We aren’t born with the knowledge of anything. Babies can’t walk, talk, feed themselves, find shelter or make clothes and they have no innate knowledge of how to do these things. They have no ideas about what a number system is or that using symbols to communicate in writing would be a good idea. They have absolutely no knowledge of who god or their creator might be or look like and they wouldn’t know what to call him or her if they saw them. Babies don’t even know their ass-terisks from their elbows.
So the question is; what do humans rely on the most when it comes to growing and learning; Is it nature or nurture? Nurture is the effect the people in your life had on you as you were growing up. An example would be the values your parents taught you. Nature is the genetics you received from your ancestors, like hair and eye color. And of course the answer is both! And so your life begins with your very own various and sundry combination of nurture vs. nature and you get ready to rumble. But remember! You can’t get yourself ready. You’re just a baby! Ah, there’s the rub! It’s those first few formative years that are so important. You can’t do anything to take care of yourself until you learn from someone HOW to take care of yourself. You see, it’s all about being taught! It’s all about teaching!
Now, assuming you came out of the womb with positive nature stats and all systems are go then it’s entirely up to Nurture during those early years, and hopefully mom and dad popped the champagne at birth not conception! Nurture provides for so many variables that by the time you are ready for school at around age 4 or 5 the combinations for your potential success or failure are astronomical! And you, the baby, won’t have any idea how well you are being nurtured. What’s your earliest memory? Are you age 2? 3? What the heck was going on before then?
Every child has to be taught how to do whatever it is they will be doing as an adult. Doctor, lawyer, Indian chief, baker, candlestick maker, thief; somebody gave them instructions on how to do what they do or at least led by example so the child could pay attention and learn by observation (which is teaching too!) The reality is that all of us have to be taught something at sometime by somebody.
Yes, it all begins with good Nature and that’s up to your parents (and ancestors), but once you’re born it’s all Nurture, baby, Nurture, because let’s face it once you’re born your parents are responsible for whatever Nature you’ll be exposed to and that’s all part of Nurturing too, right? So you see, it’s all about Nurture. And Nurture means parenting! And parenting means teaching! And so teaching is what everyone does! “People of the world! Yes, you are a teacher too!”
What you are about to read is not conjecture. It is what careful research and human observation has discovered to be true when it comes to the developmental success of young human beings, namely, our children. In the 1980’s United States president, Ronald Reagan, (and who doesn’t love President Reagan?) directed a special presidential commission to once and for all determine what it is that makes students successful learners in the home and in the classroom. This is what they discovered. It wasn’t a secret. In fact it was common, time tested, human knowledge: Now condensed for your reading pleasure and self edification.
SO TAKE CAREFUL NOTE!
Repeat after me: This is WHAT WORKS WITH CHILDREN.
- Talk to your children. Have discussions with your children and listen to what they have to say. It’s called conversation.
- Read to your children and encourage your children to read on their own. In order for children to become literate, they must have literate parents. One’s ability to read at or above age and grade level and one’s success in school are so directly linked that they are in fact the same thing!
- Count things with your children. Use numbers and counting to have fun. Add! Multiply! Life is math. (Get it?)
- Let children draw and scribble and create stories. Encourage them. Use all the crayon colors! (don’t forget to count them and read their names)
- Nurture their talent. Get involved in and observe your child’s activities. What excites them? What draws their attention and makes them want to learn? Help them pursue their natural abilities.
- Emphasize the importance of hard work and responsibility. Work hard and take responsibility for your actions in front of your children.
- Get involved with your children’s school and teachers. Go to “Back to school night”. Meet the teachers. Show you care.
- Phonics! Don’t just teach your children the sounds that animals make… Teach your children the sounds that letters make too!.. And how we blend those sounds together to make other sounds and words and sentences and language.
- Storytelling. Encourage your children to use their imagination. Fairytales and cultural or family legends are a great place to start. Imagine that!
- Encourage your children to get involved in extra curricular activities that complement, not replace, academic studies.
Parents of the Earth, This is WHAT WORKS. Now do! Just follow this simple outline, treat your children with the utmost care and for God’s sake protect their heads and put their helmets on!