Michael On Everything Else

If I Only Knew

If I only knew then what I know now…

I recently took the Instructor Development Program or IDP for the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). Part of the program covered adult learning and one of things I learned was that the adult brain does not fully mature until around age 25. “[T]he changes that happen between 18 and 25 are a continuation of the process that starts around puberty, and 18 year olds are about halfway through that process. Their prefrontal cortex is not yet fully developed. That’s the part of the brain that helps you to inhibit impulses and to plan and organize your behavior to reach a goal.” says Sandra Aamodt, neuroscientist and co-author of the book Welcome to Your Child’s Brain.

I haven’t read the book yet. I got that quote from an NPR interview of Ms. Aamodt. But what that tells me, in context of my own experience as a parent, is that starting on Day 1 of parenting, I should have instilled in my daughter unquestionable morals and values that become dogma. Given that until age 25-or-so, she won’t be truly equiped to make effective, strategic decisions, I should have given her a set of values that 1) she doesn’t question and 2) set her up for success.

Just these three values, set in stone would be enough to empower a child for a successful life:

  1. Selflessness > selfishness
  2. Don’t live beyond your means and get out of debt as quickly as possible.
  3. As Ben Franklin says: “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”

There are many levels of success and there are many types of success. I don’t think my daughter needs to make a lot of money or have a high-profile job to be successful. If she’s a self-reliant, positive actor in society, I’ll feel she has become successful and that I have succeeded in my job as a parent.