Your Children’s Talent
I have just read the most fantastic book;The Genius in All of Us: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About Genes, Talent and Intelligence is Wrong: The New Science of Genes, Talent and Human Potential by David Shenk
Basically, this book turns on its head everthing we think we know about genius and talent. It reminds me of another great book called The Outliers, but this to me is much more practical. The premise of the book is that it is not our genetics that make us smart, but our genetics multiplied by our environment. What I love most about this book is that you read it, thinking thay you could do anything if only you could put your mind to it. It is a book that makes you feel you can rather than you can’t.
The book introuduces the concept of what it call Dynamic Development, stating that we do not develop just as our genes predict we should, but we develop in relation to our environment, including how we are parented, what we eat and what is expected of us.
The book clearly states that talent is the outcome of persistence and uses many example to explain this using the fabled 10,000 hour rule. The author suggests that persitence is the difference between medioracy and enourmous success. He suggests that developing a talent is a dynamic system and a process which is affected by our state, the intensity to which we train our mindset, how we respond to failure, the strategies we adopt and more importantly, the time we put in. He explains in the book how our development has plasticity and is not set in stone, which I believe is a message we all need to hear.
So, what is his advice to parents in supporting their children’s talent development?
1. Speak to your children and speak often. Talking, as the Hart and Risley study shows, can improve academic performance.
2. Have a stimulating environment – children that grow in stimulating environments are most likely to become more intelligent.
3. Nurture and encourage. By the time a child in a professional family is five years old it has heard 560,000 encouraging words. In comparison, a child from a working class family has only heard 100,000, while a child from a welfare family has received 100,000 words of discouragement.
4. Set high expectations that stretch your child
5. Embrace failure
6. Encouarge a growth mindset.
There is also a whole piece in this book on how to help children with delayed gratifcation, but I will save that for another post.
Just get this book, it is great!
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