I’ve given this a lot of thought lately as I’ve seen my two daughters get older. How do we raise successful children who become better than we are? How do we raise them to advance our society in ways we never thought possible?
I think I’ve finally discovered small part of the solution.
I was once a child. Shocking revelation, I know. I was also a teenager.
As a young child, I spent a lot of time discovering new things, learning how to walk, understanding cause and effect – the important fundamentals.
But then somewhere along the line, I became a teenager. My brain chemicals were thrown all out of whack and I questioned what the people who had raised me were telling me. I stopped heeding their advice and instead wondered if I could do it better.
The problem is that all of this time questioning and trying things on my own was wasted. Why would I question the wisdom of the people who had successfully raised me so far?
Why was it wasted?
The (Partial) Answer to Successful Children
A scientist who conducts an experiment without changing any of the variables, when the results have been tested and verified time and time again, will potentially be out of a job. Yet we have minors across the world doing the same things their parents did and the results are known, tested, and verified.
The problem – the next generation doesn’t always listen to the wisdom of the prior generation. They waste so much time setting up and recreating the experiment, only to see the same results that their parents were trying to instilled in them.
You may be asking yourself, “if they don’t experiment, then how will our civilization get better”. I’m not saying this rule applies in all situations, but I can give you some very basic examples that we can start with:
- You need to change the oil in your car when it’s recommended.
- Response: “I don’t have the time or the money to do it that often.”
- Outcome: Bigger repairs later on cost more money and take longer to repair.
- You should study for school and do your homework.
- Response: “I’ll do fine, it’ll be easy. I’d rather hang out with my friends.”
- Outcome: Poor grades, lost scholarships, and remedial classes.
- Stay out of debt and start saving early.
- Response: “How will I get the new iPhone though?”
- Outcome: Debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and added stress around money.
These are all simple examples, but all examples where we have reasonable certainty in what the right answer is. Instead we waste time arguing and fighting about who knows better. If we could find a way to impart wisdom on the next generation, they can claim the time back that they’ll otherwise be losing. Then they can refocus that time and start years ahead of where we did and potentially become more successful than we can even imagine!
What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments.