By: Norton R. Nowlin
There is usually a carefully crafted methodology in a caring parent’s planning to spend quality time with his, or her, children, that if systematically applied will almost always result in a realizable benefit for the affected young people. Both normal preadolescents, those children in age approximately between birth and 12 years, and adolescents, usually referred to as teenagers, invariably crave stimulating environments at home or elsewhere, which prompt curious investigation and intuitive questions from them about the many things encountered during environmental exploration.
Parents, biological or adoptive, who casually enter into ad hoc periods of interactive time with their children, without any type of plan for stimulating their minds and bodies with invigorating intellectual, or physical, activities (or combinations of both), will usually find the time spent with them both quite ineffectual. Parents who try to pretend enjoying time with their children, while constantly watching a clock and wishing they were elsewhere in a more delightful adult climate, aren’t really fooling their little ones. Children five years and older usually see right through their parent’s superficial pretensions. In a previous widely read essay I wrote about parenting-at-a-distance, I mentioned that selfish hedonistic parents who don’t consciously show concern for the development of their children, but care much more about enjoying their own time away from their progeny, will tremendously suffer later on in life when their sons and daughters demonstrate little concern for spending meaningful time with them. It is good to remember that maturation (physical growth and aging) will inexorably occur in a child’s life regardless of the amount of parental attention offered by the official caregivers.
Much like when parents take their eight year olds to soccer practices, when the mothers, fathers can, either, choose to sit silently on a sideline and passively watch the engaging play between the young children on the field, or choose to stand and cheer their children on during the organized physical activity, showing their resolute support for them during that time. It’s all simply a matter of choice as to the type of interaction, and the resulting relationship, that can occur between parent and child. Similarly, as all normal young preadolescents thoroughly enjoy parents or caregivers reading to them, telling them stories, and explaining simplistically why things happen the way they do, a parent’s decision to regularly spend time with a child a quality toward establishing that much needed methodology. If a parent wants to allow a child ample opportunity to become intellectually and academically precocious, that adult will start when the child is under one year of age to methodically plan spending that meaningful quality time with the child during the weekday evenings, on the weekends, and whenever alone with the child. These frequent interactions will in no way cause the child to become, over time, egotistical or egoistical, if the parent shapes the young person’s behaviors properly, teaching the child patience, compassion, and empathy mainly by example. The old expression, the apple never falls far from the tree, is essentially true. If the parent exhibits selfish and anti-social behaviors when interacting with the child, or, merely, in view of the little person, that example speaks much more loudly than any words the adult caregiver can say to the opposite, for a developing child can clearly see and realize adult hypocrisy, even if she can’t define it the word.
As there is, occasionally, a rare significant method to a person’s apparent madness that goes unseen until it is contextually realized, sometimes much later after the fact, there is a certain malignant madness that drives a parent, or caregiver, not to have a proper method in mind when attempting to teach children the most important things in life. Intuition and deductive problem solving skills don’t naturally occur, bursting spontaneously into an ordinary normal child’s development, that is, unless the child is born a “Little Man Tate.” Intuition and sharp thinking skills must usually be carefully cultivated within a child’s mind through explorative environmental stimulation provided by adult caregivers. Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, and, even, Leonardo de Vinci were not born geniuses. They became geniuses, over time, as a result of their guided upbringings within a diverse laboratory of life.