After reading the recent article by Sarah Michelle Gellar I realized that there's a topic of conversation that I neglected. Children.
Within the article Sarah illustrates her interaction with her husband and her kids revolving around the kitchen. She enumerates the myriad benefits of having this family time which evolved from her and Freddie's passion for great healthy food. Although I think it's absolutely great advice for any family looking to bond with their children to focus on such an activity, I believe that it's one of many reasons that their children are going to end up as absolutely awesome adults. In simple terms, all you need is love.
There have been cases in the past where children have been severely neglected. The term used to describe them is feral children. One of the most surprising results of extreme neglect during a child's critical development stage is that their brains won't grow. Ever. As a result, they currently are unable to develop beyond a 12 year old's level. To me that's something that's incredibly tragic for the child but fascinating in regards to how we treat our children. With the recent inclusion of the field of epigenetics we're starting to unlock the very foundation of human beings via science. Early childhood seems to be the most critical time for all of us due to our brain's high plasticity during that time.
Not everyone has a passion for food. I myself am guilty of this. As much as I enjoy preparing a meal as a perfectionist, when doing this for myself, I tend to keep things extremely simple and economical. Sometimes that leads me to unhealthy choices. It would take a major course correction on my part and due to my lazy nature, and because I'm an adult, it's an every day challenge. Yeah, I know a lot of you are probably quoting Shia LaBeouf or want me to load up Rollin's Band - Do it. Hey, I'm working on it. One of the reasons for this though is I never acquired good eating habits as a child. There were far too many liberties regarding my dietary choices and not a lot of involvement in the importance of diet and exercise. If I'd had been around the kitchen, being involved in meal preparation by my loving parents, this aspect of life would have definitely been a lot easier for me. The point is however that any environment in which you provide love to your kid will make them turn out awesome. Scientists use terms like "stimulation and attention" but I call that love.
Not convinced? Check out Taylor Wilson. At the age of 14, he built a nuclear reactor. His father owns a bottling plant and his mom is a former yoga instructor. Now how in the hell do you get a nuclear physicist from a businessman and a teacher? Watching the NBC piece, you can see it. At a certain point when asked about how they felt regarding their child stating that he wants to build a nuclear reactor in the garage at the age of 11, his father simply stated "We were scarred to death to be honest but, if Taylor was going to learn, he had to experience it". This isn't an isolated incident either. His brother Joey also attended the same school for the gifted in the field of mathematics. Looking at various interviews the one clear constant is that those kids got was love. Sorry, "stimulation and attention". When Taylor had an interest in acquiring a piece of construction equipment that was outside his parent's means, his father got him some time with one instead, to figure out how it operates. How many of us would have simply just dropped it there by saying "we can't get a kid a damn backhoe!" or "She's too young" or "We can't afford it". Presented with an obstacle, his father simply looked for a positive alternative. As a result, the world is better off for it. Taylor's already made strides in providing safe nuclear energy to the future and I'd argue that this was primarily possible because his parents are fucking rock stars.
The most important thing to a developing child is an open door. As Neil deGrasse Tyson said if your toddler is fixated on hammering on a pot, get out of their way. I'd go further and suggest joining in, perhaps trying to set an accompanying rhythm or if you're a musician, pick up your guitar and join in. Regardless of how annoying the sound might be to you because your mother is in the hospital, you have a deadline on a project, you need to be able to say yes to your child at all times. Well, when it comes to personal discovery that is. For fuck's sake, keep their soda consumption to a minimum. Good habits, a lot of love and enabling them is the key to awesome adults. Because the world as it stands needs some of the greatest minds available in order to overcome the problems of tomorrow.