Everyone has talents, right? Everyone has predispositions. Sometimes we call them ‘gifts’ and sometimes we even say they are ‘god-given’ if we are that way inclined. My son plays the cello. People often ask ‘who does he get his musical talent from?’ (This particular line of questioning makes me want to punch the enquirer, but I don’t.) He has a predisposition towards music but the talent is nurtured by his own work. I personally have a predisposition towards punching people who ask dumb questions… jokes…

Some of us get lucky; lots of talents and lots of access to opportunities to develop them and some luck out (in the Australia use, this means that your luck has run out. The same phrase in the US means the literal opposite. Very confusing.) A lot of this comes down to money and culture but often parents just have a different agenda. I had a friend at school who was really clever but no one in her family had been to university so it wasn’t on the cards for her. She recently went back to uni at the age of 46 and is loving it. Not that uni is the be all and end all, but as parents we want to ensure that our kids are getting every opportunity. Don’t we?

I think one of the most irresponsible things we do as a society is…we don’t educate parents in the most basic elements of developmental psychology.

Professor Adam Grant on the Making Sense podcast

I was at highschool in the era of Parentcraft (formerly known as Mothercraft…even the notion!) I aced the subject because I watched the parents in my family; we fostered babies, I had a sister who was 10 years younger, and I was an aunty about 10 times over by the time I was 17. Then I went to teacher’s college. By the time my own son came along I had a good grab-bag of skills for parenting and some basic understanding of the developmental stages in childhood. (I just now spent a few minutes searching the web to see if Parentcraft is still offered in Australian schools and I don’t think it is, unless Early Childhood Studies is its new name perhaps?)

I’m going to reiterate here the old chestnut that you need 100 hours of driving, lessons and a licence to drive a car but anyone can have a baby… It’s sad but true. Anyone who wants to become a parent would, in a perfect world, be required to have the necessary skills, but then in a truly perfect world, that person would have learned to parent by their own perfect parents!


Feature Photo by vivek kumar on Unsplash

One Reply to “how did you learn that?”

  1. It is crazy to think that so many of us have no lessons in parenthood. I had none from my parents, but gleaned some skills from my older sisters and by looking after my nieces and nephews. I should’ve been a disaster parent, but fortunately I did ok! I know I would’ve appreciated some thing more formal.

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