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If raising children is one of the most important things we do in society, shouldn't the subject be directly taught in schools?

Notwithstanding that there are many different approaches which can be taken – and despite the risk of being accused of trying to run a “nanny state” - surely there are some key principles which our young would benefit from being taught at an early age, so that they have the knowledge and skills necessary for when they eventually become parents.

If I wanted to do some paid work in your house on your electrical system, to drive a car, to handle food in a restaurant or even be a nursery school teacher, I would be required to study and pass a test in order to demonstrate an acceptable level of competency in the work to be done. And yet, to breed and play the most important role in the critical formative years of societies next generation, I need no qualifications nor be required to receive any formal teaching on what is involved. Neither am I required to receive guidance in how to cope with the stress of parenthood and how children learn.

Looking at many of the problems, and successes, in society, they so often have factors in the child’s upbringing which play a major part in how children turn out. It is no small coincidence that children of lower income families have a higher propensity to lead a life of crime, or fail to fully engage in the education process which has the potential to help them escape some of the challenges of their youth.

Of course, family life is just one aspect of the many influences on our young. There are many debates about how best to ensure more children have a less disadvantaged start in life and increase their life chances, whether through increased investment in poor communities, or social security payments to the less well off groups in society.

What is missing, in my point of view, is a fully engaged discussion about what capabilities people need to do a great job of raising the next generation, and the legitimate role that state education systems can play.

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    Apr 28 2011: I would be more concerned with the education system. Parenting is care, love, and guidance for children, with the latter being the skill which needs wisdom. It is true that environment plays a major role, as does the mental programming, but that doesn't mean those can't be changed to a degree.

    The moment that teaching becomes a job other than a passion, the benefits begin to diminish. If there was enough emphasis on individual creativity and a focus on essential life principles and techniques, there would be less need to fix adults and the world in general. There may have been some paradigm shifts in education, as far as teaching kids investing money and health innovations, but it is far from what is crucial and impacting.

    When something like The Secret or the Law of Attraction comes out, the adult world gets phenomenally engrossed in the concepts. Life is no secret and most principles and techniques have been around since as far back as we can record. They are the most important to health and an abundant and respectful life, but they are not covered. We will probably still teach the food group importance from an old perspective, but there won't be any education about a proper diet from today's discoveries. Maybe children should be sent home with some material for homework that helps educate the entire family together and allows for the children to teach.

    The fact children spend a great deal of time in school at an influential age means a large responsibility falls on the educational system to parent. If you are a role model and respected figure, your actions, beliefs and messages become an essential foundation. Children should be inspired and encouraged to pay it forward, they should be taught to lead and to evaluate.

    With all due respect, I don't need a formal university education to teach grade school children. I don't need to have a standard curriculum given to me to be followed. I need to love, care and guide those children as if they were my own.
    • Apr 30 2011: I wish all educators had the same attitude as the one you describe. However, as with all professionals, there's a whole spectrum of capability and comitent.

      I say that we should have a very good structure which is then ade better by the approach of the teachers concerned.

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