Question and Answer Session
Short questions I’ve been asked of late (mostly by journalists) and proportionately short answers:
Q: Is there a single most important thing parents should be teaching during their children’s preschool years?
A: The most important thing parents should teach is proper manners. The second and third most important things are proper manners. “Please,” “Thank you,” “You’re welcome,” “Excuse me,” “I’m sorry,” proper mealtime behavior (including eating what everyone else at the table is eating), not interrupting adult conversations, establishing and maintaining eye contact with people who are talking to you, drinking without slurping…those sorts of fundamental courtesies that form the backbone of civilized social behavior.
Q: You didn’t mention anything about academic teaching, like ABCs. Was that a purposeful omission?
A: There is no established correlation between academic learning that takes place prior to first grade and achievement in the third grade. They are certainly well-intentioned, but parents are wasting their time teaching or having some third party – a preschool, for example – teach academic material prior to first grade. Most baby boomers, including yours truly, didn’t even learn their ABCs until first grade, yet when matched demographically, we outperformed today’s kids at every grade level while sitting, mind you, in what today would be considered criminally overcrowded classrooms.
Q: To what do you attribute that?
A: We baby boomers came to school having learned to give our undivided attention to female adults and do what female adults told us to do, which included an arcane thing called daily chores.
Q: Today’s kids aren’t learning to pay attention to women?
A: Relatively speaking, absolutely not, the reason being that since the late 1960s, women have been led to believe by mental health professionals and the media that good mommies pay as much attention to their children as they possibly can. It’s a fact, the more attention a parent pays a child the less attention the child will pay the parent; at the least, the child will only pay attention when he wants something.
Q: What are your thoughts concerning children and smart devices?