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3Episodes

A Daily Parenting Advice Podcast. Non-Pretentious. In less than 3min a day!

November 15, 2019

S5-Ep323 - Think of something interesting. (Can you?)

 Over the past few days we’ve started to learn Esther Wojcicki’s lesson’s on raising successful people. And today’s lesson starts with a story. When Esther was a teacher, she implemented a policy of free writing for every student a Palo Alto High school. So at the beginning of a class, or day, all students had to do was write. And here’s what she had to say about it.

 Do you want to know the single hardest assignment for my students? Coming up with their own topics. They find basic free-writing almost impossible. They complain that they don’t know what’s interesting. The main thing they want to know is if their “interesting idea” will earn an A. I tell them any idea is an A idea as long as they are interested in it, because if they’re not, why would anyone else want to read it?

  This exercise was the beginning of their independent thinking. And it turns out that the spark of curiosity has been extinguished in today’s kids.
This matches up with something else I’ve spoke about in the past – Seth Godin and his take on the modern education system. And Seth says that the main thing kids need to do is “solve interesting problems”.

That’s it. That flicker, then flame of curiosity can spread like wildfire eventually. Yes, it takes a long time to smolder sometimes. Sometimes life douses our hope and dreams, but when that flame spreads, it spreads.

In her article on wired. Link in the shown notes. “Students often don’t know why they’re learning something. Asking why is so important to kids and they deserve a better answer than “because it will be on the test.”

… When teachers answer these questions, it prompts kids to think more deeply about the implications of what they’re learning. “

And a lot of times teacher’s don’t even know this. It’s why Palo Alto has a good teaching system – they find good teachers and let them run with crazy, but effective ideas like requiring free writing every day.

You’re local school probably isn’t this good. So we as parents have to take up the slack.

“Parents can elicit curiosity in their children through similar methods. We don’t need to have the right answers all the time, but we need to encourage kids to ask the right questions. If we don’t know the answer, we can say, “Let’s find out.”

November 14, 2019

S5-Ep322 - Get rich, then do nothing

 Yesterday we started into Esther Wojcicki’s lessons on how she has raised 2 CEOs and a doctor. And while we didn’t give away her one secret that will totally transform your kids (spoiler alert: there isn’t one little life hack that flips the switch), we already cemented life lesson #1. At the end of yesterday’s episode we said that it’s based on trying. Some people say “hard work” but I say “slow work” – slow work is simply trying every day.

 And the article I was initially drawn to was broken down into 3 lessons by her. But really they can almost be combined into one area.

   Community.

Esther says she’s a doer. She says, “If everyone just sits around and talks, nothing gets done. I was always a doer.”

So that’s inline with what I say. You have to try, see, adjust.”

She says, “How many of us take up causes and show our kids, through our own behavior, how to fight for our communities?”

And I would say not many.

She writes, “It’s sad to say, but I’ve noticed more and more kids completely focused on themselves. Where they want to go to college, vacations they want to take, things they want to buy. Sometimes it feels like we’re training a nation and a world of narcissists, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that helicopter parenting has played a big role in this.”

And to that I think our podcast has some answers.
But one of the things I latch onto is this:

The American idea is all wrong

Kids are growing up feeling like they’re the center of the universe. As young adults, they’re not only lacking grit and independence …  they tend to focus on money, because they think it will make them happy and fulfilled. It’s the American idea: Get rich, then do nothing.

 

And that’s the culture I hope to change. I’m fine with everyone searching and working for happiness. But I think our culture has defined becoming Zuckerburg rich as it’s endgame. Well that endgame isn’t happiness.
So work with your kids to kill the old American Idea “Get rich, then do nothing” – and start a new one.

November 13, 2019

S5-Ep321 - I raised 2 successful CEOs and a doctor…

 Esther Wojcicki is a rockstar. But not like Dave Grohl or Eddie Vedder. She’s a parenting rockstar. She has 3 daughters who all have, decent, jobs: You know. A CEO of Youtube, a professor of pediatrics and CEO of 23andMe.

Now, in contrast, when my kids say they want to be a trash man when they grow up (and this is plausible at this point – my little man really really loves sweeping), my wife says, I’ll be happy he has a job. And actually I think this is a great place to start with our expectations. Expecting that your child will be a CEO of a major tech firm has high odds that you will be disappointed.

 So did Esther Wojcicki start her children with a laser focus on maximum success for themselves?

   She did not. In fact, in her news blitz recently (as she has a book coming out), she talks a lot about getting kids to care about things other than themselves.

So over the next few days I’d like to go over some of the lessons that she talk about.

We’ll learn about some new lessons, and we’ll see that some of the things she talks about are lessons that we’ve been teaching here. So if you’ve been following some of our daily advice, and learning from our daily stories, fantastic – you’re on the right path – please please help someone else out and share this with your friends.

 

Because when I hear about a parent like this, I’m ready to listen. I’m ready to do. I’m telling myself, whatever lessons this parent wants to teach me, I’m ready to implement them!

Until she asks you to go out and volunteer for something in your community.
I don’t have time for that!!

And I think that’s how a lot of us will feel. Unwilling to do the work.

And you’re not alone. You’re not a bad parent because you don’t raise CEOs (like that’s the only measure of success in the world), and you’re not a failure if you don’t run for city councilwoman.

But you should try. Try something. Try small.

We’ll be back tomorrow with our dive into her thought

November 12, 2019

S5-Ep320 - Green Spaces

https://www.fastcompany.com/90313598/kids-surrounded-by-greenery-may-grow-up-to-be-happier-adults?partner=rss

 Amazing Read – I’ll post it in the show notes. And actually, now that I think about it – this article isn’t an amazing read. Don’t read it. But listen to this summary of the article. Follow the advice. Live a better life.

That’s it. We’re here to help and I think we can today.

Ok, so what’s this juicy piece of information that you have for us today?

Green space.

We all know intuitively that nature is good for us–but its precise impact on our well-being can be tough to articulate. An important new study has found that when children grow up surrounded by green space, they have 55% less risk of developing a wide range of mental health problems later in life.

  But I live in a city. But I work all the time. But I’m an older parent.

   Doesn’t matter. Controlling for all of those variables, The researchers were then able to show a correlation between one kid’s proximity to green space during childhood and that same person’s mental health problems like mood disorders, depression, and stress-related disorders as an adult.

This study was Danish. They ended up having good historical data and combined that with satellite images to determine green spaces.

 

It has important lessons in urban planning and building design. But the lesson to me is simple:
We intuitively know that nature helps us . be. So put your kids in a place for success. Take them to the park and bring a soccer ball. Heck, after reading this, I feel like going out and buying a few plants to put in the house to reduce the stress levels a fraction.

But figure out what works for you. Do the hard work – get out side when you don’t want to and enjoy that nature.

November 11, 2019

S5-Ep319 - Count to Ten

 Todays story is about my little man. My little man is 3 and a half and yes this podcast is mainly for the 5-7 crowd; I mean it is called season 5 right now because it’s for 5 year olds; but the lesson in the end applies to all ages. Pretty much all. Ages 2 to 20.

So my little man. He’s dropped his afternoon nap. So for all you parents with 5 year olds, you get to remember ‘back in the day’ when you had to go through this. And the little man has been getting picked up after work and promptly falling asleep on the 15 minute car ride home. Cutting to the chase, he’s slow to wake. So when you have to wake him from a good sleep at 630 pm, life can be rough for what feels like no reason.

Can we get you something to eat? No.

Can we start getting ready for bed? No.

So after we battled a little and got to brushing teeth, I was on duty. I sat in the bathroom and somehow talked my way into brushing. And I wasn’t upset, but I was aware that I may have been a bit short.

 So when he stopped mid brushing and asked to go over into his bedroom and get a drink of water (where his water cup is), I knew this was a fork in the road. I could push through and force him to finish – we’ll get some water in a minute. Or I could let it go.
Only because of the things I read and have to work on, did I let it go.

And it was like a switch flipped. He literally skipped out of the room singing some happy song and came back to finish brushing happy as a clam. 

   I was shocked. A night of battles was going to end like this.
Why? And I don’t know the real reason, but it was enabled because I knew enough to know that he wasn’t hurting anything and the only downside was a little time lost.

These little actions turn out to be terribly important. I’m guessing that if you take the lower class, uneducated household, that this goes a different direction. And these miniscule decisions, these forks in the road, when added up throughout their lives, turn out to be the difference between raising well balanced children and raising some of those people you see on Live PD.
It’s these little reasons that I work so hard to educate you all out there. And I need everyone out there to keep trying because you never know when it’s going to work.

November 10, 2019

S5-Ep318 - To Big – Or Just Right?

 How would kids learn if not for toys? I mean my 5 year old. Almost 6. Is constantly complaining that his brother is taking his toys. Even if that’s not the case – the small one finds a toy, starts playing with it, and then the big one realizes that is the toy of his dreams and he MUST have!

If there were no toys there would be no conflict and life would be boring.
Lucky for every parent I know – life is not boring. In fact it can be a bit too dramatic at times.

 Which is why there are tools that we’ve learned from our teachers which attempt to work on emotions. Here are two examples and tools we’ve heard of.

   1. Those toy incidents I mentioned have led to some big emotions. One of his previous teachers would ask their kids, “Is this reaction too big, too little, or just right?” And then they’d wait for the answer. Some kids know their reactions are too big. Others don’t and need some education. This is our job as parents, teachers, and leaders. To ‘teach a man to fish’ per say – to teach a child his emotions. Not for us to simply yell that this emotion is too big.  Though I find myself failing a lot here.
The next time your child goes big on the meltdown, ask him or her that question. And if they happen to get one right, like resisting the urge to hit, and coming to ask for help, be sure to acknowledge that too – and don’t be irked that they need your help in solving something. This may be what you’ve asked for.

 

  1. If your kid is a big complainer, griping that you don’t have the right cereal, or his backpack got moved in the mudroom. Try acknowledging your kids feelings in a calm and upbeat voice. This is the love part of love and logic. It shouldn’t be faked, but you should put on a bit of an act. Having some empathy – teaches empathy – so say, “I’m sorry, that must be frustrating to not be able to find your backpack”. And then encourage them to find a solution. “Could we put it on the hook next time so it’s not in the way of your sisters recital shoes?”

Resist the urge to say “That’s nothing to complain about” which can discourage kids from sharing their feelings. With practice, they’ll get out of the habit of complaining and make life more pleasant for everyone. 

November 9, 2019

S5-Ep317 - Teaching Responsibility

 Our morning routine isn’t always successful, but I genuinely believe that a) it’s doing a lot of good and b)it’s doing no good.

It’s doing good because this is the way all those so called experts say to do it. Give kids tasks, let them do it.

It’s doing no good because we as parents are at fault when it doesn’t work. And we don’t always follow through.

  But there are more areas besides the morning routine which can help our children create responsibility. Here are 3 that I’ve researched.

   1. Show your child that everyone’s responsibility matters. Have him or her cut out bookmark sized strips of paper and write a family activity on one. I’ll use the morning routine as my example. On the other strips write down the things needed to get done before the main activity is completed. Here there will be a. get dressed. B. Put on shoes. C. Put lunchbox in backpack. D. get keys for the car. E. Feed the dog. Now let them link the strips to make a chain. They’ll see that getting out the door relies on everyone doing their job.

 

  1. Help your youngster get in the habit of handline her responsibilities on time . Let her draw a clock on apaper and add sticky notes labeled with daily tasks. “Homewor” at 4pm. Walk the dog at 6pm. Post the clock in a visible spot.
  2. “Catch” your child being responsible. Sometimes good old fashion acknowledgment is all us humans need. Things like “that was very responsible of you to throw away your trash”.

 

And for feedback / consequences. These are the things you thought would work before you had kids. They sometimes will and sometimes won’t, but if you’ve asked for toys to be picked up, then don’t remind them. Just start outside on your walk without them and tell them that you’ll wait outside for them while they do that cleanup task you asked of them an hour ago. Play the long game as a parent – it’s your winning move.

November 8, 2019

S5-Ep316 - 3 Things to do with your Child today (May)

 

 The month of May can be great. For me, spring is my favorite season. Hope of a warm summer, the rejuvenation of nature, all lead me to be more positive than I am on December 1st. But there are still a few days where it’s rainy and inside activities are required.

 So here are some mainly indoor activities that you can do with your kid that will help them become better people. 

  One. Make an imaginary Ipad. Really, have them make an imaginary ipad. Provide them with a piece of cardboard and staple or tape a few sheets of paper over it. This way it’s not just a flimsy piece of paper. Have them draw their version of an ipad and apps on each page. Have them make one app that’s a game. And one app that’s useful like an app that opens the garage door. The imagination is the point here. And when they’re done, say things like, “What was the hardest part about making this”, and “I’m really proud of all the effort that you put into it”. These are the kind of people building statements that the experts say are important.

Two. Practice fine motor skills. Stacking pennies, but sorting anything by color, or using tweezers is also ok. Google some fine motor activities, but I like the penny stacking game. Maybe it’s only 5-10 minutes. It doesn’t have to be an all day thing. Just something to do.

Three. Don’t read a book to your kid. Have them read to you. If they know how to read great. If they don’t have them read the pictures. Go slow on each page and after the book is done, have them tell you what happened. They didn’t quite get it – have them look again, and express each page. This is a thing, this reading of the pictures. It’s recommended by our own kindergarten teacher. 

November 7, 2019

S5-Ep315 - Set yourself up for success

 The setup of your environment is incredibly important. It literally defines you.

You thought you, defined you.  You think that you are the one who decides what to eat and what to do after dinner. Not true. What you surround yourself with is what you do.

In fact James Clear talks about environment all the time, and it’s so big he’s made a career out of it, just like Marie Kondo has. Some quick and extreme examples to get my point across are things like putting your TV away in your closet after you use it. You’ll be darn sure that you really want to watch TV if you have to pull it out each time. But I don’t advocate extremism. In fact if you had a single spot that the remote was supposed to go after you used it – that would be amazing because it would never be lost. So things like these examples I’m about to list can be life improving – even though you’ll be resistant to change.

 Here are some of the items which I have been doing. Some things that craft our household life for the better in my opinion. This may come off like a humble-brag. I don’t care. I have lots of holes in my life. I’m just trying to share the ones that work for me, and may help you – all by changing your environment.

   1. Food is big with me. So the simple fact that I don’t buy cookies feels like a deprivation to a lot of people. But I think there are thousands of foods that taste good. And keeping the chips ahoys on constant re-buy list ---- because let’s be honest, you buy the same shit at the grocery store week in and week out. Not having them means I don’t eat them.  And having fruit out on the table – in a big open bowl means I do eat that. It’s as simple as putting it out there works. And a second benefit is that if your kids are the type that say “I’m hungry” you can just send them to the fruit bowl. Dig in kids.

  1. A shelf of games. A shelf of coloring book. A shelf of puzzles.

Because if you give a kid an ipad – he’ll chose that. If you surround your kid with puzzles they’ll do those. But if you prefer outdoor activities. Surround your kids with sports equipment. What’s your goal and what fits your kid?

  1. Bins. I am always the no guy. So when my wife wanted to spend money on bins I was like, don’t we have enough already? And the answer was no. If organization is your goal then you need to factor in a bin (or at least a spot) for every toy you buy. If that’s your goal – that needs to be your environment.
    We’ll catch you tomorrow.
November 6, 2019

S5-Ep314 - Doing what Needs to be Done

 Last night I came down with a case of the Mondays. Not too bad of a case, so don’t worry too much about me. But after being out of town on business last week, and back at the work this day, and making dinner, I felt like relaxing a bit. My 5 year old wanted to work on his kiwi crate – a science box that comes in the mail monthly, and I just watched him do it. Occasionally distracted by my phone, but my mind constantly drifted into – should I be doing something else – cleaning the bath, starting laundry, a house project?

 But I kept coming back to one concept I’ve been reading about. That concept was “Do what needs to be done vs doing what I want to do”.

   And in this case doing what I wanted to do – a house project, or something to further my goals, was in direct contrast to what needed to be done – spending time sitting with my child, helping him learn.

Luckily my case of the Mondays made that laundry less appealing.
But the lesson is the same whether we’re motivated to do it or not.
Doing what you want to do will render useless all the goals that you have.

If you constantly cave into playing fortnite, your kids will grow up to play fortnite.

If you constantly have the TV on to the Real housewives of somewhere, your daughters, even though they may not sit and stare at it – I mean it’s on the TV for you, not them, well, they still grow up thinking that drama is the way to deal with other women.
If success is a culmination of all the decisions you make, then doing what needs to be done will put you on that path.

I’ve got a phrase with my kids. “Do what you need to do, and then we can do what you want to do”.

My wife and I use it a lot with picking up toys – and getting out new ones. And it’s been magical. Remember the episode “Default to Yes”? It’s that – saying yes more than no – but doing so in a way that requires them to do the things they need to first.

So take a lesson from the parenting of your own child and apply it to your life too. Do something great first today – then relax some.

November 5, 2019

S5-Ep313 - Our Special Kids

   I primarily read for myself. For my own knowledge, for my own benefit, for my own kids. But what are humans if not helpful? Really? The words Humans and Helpful are very much related. In fact it’s the reason that the slower, weaker, inferior humans beat out Neanderthals and saber tooth tigers. It’s in our genes to be social and work together. So while I may read for my own benefit, I think it’s in my genes to try and share the knowledge I’ve curated.  And that’s what this podcast is: My way to help humanity change its direction to a better course.

So if you feel the need to share, please reach out and share with a friend or colleague, it’s what keeps this thing going.

 What I’ve been reading lately? Well it was not parenting related. But I am bringing it to the parenting scene. It’s the idea that successful leaders who make successful decisions do it a certain way.

 

Breaking down it gets into 4 areas, and I want to simplify it further to make my point and you can research more from there should you really care. But these leaders ask themselves the question, is this a special case scenario or is this a generic problem?

And in the case of deciding who to hire to fill a truck driver positon; that’s a generic problem. You need someone willing to be away from home and sit in a truck. Good eyesight, comfy seat.

For the case of a Chief Creativity officer … you get the idea. Special case. There’s only one.

And for a lot of the decisions we make as parents; especially for the first time parents, we believe that our special child deserves special decisions.

And when your 2 year old used to come into your room at 1230 in the morning, you tried to find the special thing that was making them wake. Was it the shadows? Was it the lack of a sound machine? Did you start bedtime 5 mintues to early? Are they going through a special development stage right now?

And then some of you started into the books or seminars. And down the rabit hole you went. But this wasn’t a special scenario. All kids go through some sleep regression. So if all kids do it, why do we think they’re so unique?

They aren’t. And we’d be a lot better off if we just followed the advice of so many experts: When your kid wakes up; walk them back to their bed without a word. Then leave. Maybe say, “I’m always right in the other room”. And leave. Yes, you may have to do it 739 times before they learn. But that’s on you. You’re a parent now. Eventually your kid will decide to stay in bed for herself.

 So what is a common problem in your life? With your kid? And is it really a ‘special case’? What are you doing that’s so unique as an answer that you may not be helping?

I can think of a few common areas: Food (they eat what you eat). Screentime (limit it). Socialization (let them figure it out).

We’ll see you tomorrow.

November 4, 2019

S5-Ep312 - Selective Focus

 Yesterday we talked about time management and one of the reasons that I started this podcast was to change the culture. But changing the culture in our children is hard when, as parents, you see yourself constantly playing referee, constantly tired, constantly behind schedule.

So fixing those expectations is important to being a better parent. Educating yourself actually helps your children.

And yesterday’s focus was … focus. Where do we want to focus our time and if we focus everywhere – cut yourself a break.

Today’s episode aims to selectively focus on a specific problem that we see. Whether that’s: refereeing fights, being hit/yelled at, not sharing, too much screen time

 We use Warren Buffet's 5/25 rule to do this.

  

He says, “Write down 25 things you want to accomplish. Then prioritize them. Then cross out the last 20. Focus on the 5.”.

I’d recommend you actually do this with pen and paper. If not 25, at least hit 10.  But make this 10 list things that are problems that your children exhibit. Whining, hitting, etc.

We, as parents, are correcting or complimenting a million different actions our kids do - thinking that we are instinctually right in each of these cases, and letting intuition be our guide.

                Buffet says, "Selectively focus" and for the next week (that's it 1 week – make it a business week of 5 days - if it works, great, if it doesn't work, if it's not the way you operate – stop, change and find out what does) … for the next week, right down the 5 actions you want out of your kids and focus on that. So if the #1 thing on your list is to "not have to play referee so much", then read up on the topic. Scour those interwebs.

Then whenb the kids come running to you to settle an argument - fall back on your knowledge or say, "Figure it out yourself kids".

November 3, 2019

S5-Ep311 - 4 Burners

The 4 burner theory is something that has stuck in my head for a few years now. It reminds me of scientific proof; primarily the fact that 100% scientific proof of anything is impossible. We are never 100% sure that the theory of gravity is proved, but no one has disproven it yet. And that’s how it goes with the 4 burners. It’s as close to a scientific law for modern time management as anything else. I haven’t been able to disprove it yet.

 Ok, so what is it?

  Here’s how James Clear explains it’s to me.

Imagine that your life is represented by a stove with four burners on it. Each burner symbolizes one major quadrant of your life.

The first burner represents your family.

The second burner is your friends.

The third burner is your health.

The fourth burner is your work.

The Four Burners Theory says that “in order to be successful you have to cut off one of your burners. And in order to be really successful you have to cut off two.” 

 

Cut off two!!

So if someone wants to be uber successful with their family, then they need to abandon all workouts and friends, providing they want to keep their job to keep the paycheck coming in, and excel at that job.

That seems harsh. So most people just keep all 4 burners going and they suck at all of them.

And I’m here to tell you that’s ok.
I’m here to tell you, this is why you feel like you’re struggling. This is why other people are struggling.
And that’s ok.

In fact, remember a few days where we set out the idea that happiness = reality – expectations. If your expectations are that you’ll crush all 4 activities today (and this isn’t helped by the “reality” of people faking their success on Instagram), if you’re expectations are high. You won’t be happy.

 

It is what it is. You have a typical day where you get the kids off to a nice school, go to work, come home, squeeze in a workout, and try to make a healthy dinner. There, you’ve fired all 4 burners ups. So accept it. Accept that a few workouts will be missed, a few dinners will suck. Cut yourself some slack, because the 4-burner law of this universe means that’s the best that can be done.

November 2, 2019

S5-Ep310 - The 5th Lesson for 21st Century Parents

https://medium.com/steveglaveski/book-summary-21-lessons-for-the-21st-century-by-yuval-noah-harari-73722006805a

https://www.amphi.com/Page/16817

 Today is part five of the series in which we analyze Yuval Noah Harari’s lessons from his book ’21 lessons for the 21st century’. We aim to change the culture we live in, for the better, through our children. And you, being a parent, have a direct role, a direct way to leave a legacy of positive change. Of course it turns out that being a parent, and effecting this change, isn’t easy. But listening to a 3 minute podcast is. So keep hanging in there with us and we’ll work on making it easierfor you.

 What is Harari’s Fifth Lesson that we can take into parenting?

   It’s on his use of meditation.

Now I’m not advocating that we start to get our kids to meditate. So don’t just angrily hit the stop button.
But I find it interesting that “He sees meditation as yet another valuable tool in the scientific talking, especially when trying to understand the human mind.”

And our kids need to learn this skill. If they grow up and want to meditate, great. But the point is that when we start children young with the practice of identifying their emotions, it builds into a lifetime of listening when your mind starts to wander. And it starts a practicing of getting your mind back on track. Maybe that’s away from self-destructive thoughts, and away from the big meltdowns. I don’t know, but I only see it as a positive.

In fact, my wife sent me a webpage on “The Zones of Regulation”. This was a tool that one of our preschool teachers used last year. Maybe some of you have seen it. I’ll link it in the show notes.
But kids are one of 4 colors. Blue is for things like sadness or Lonely. Green is happy, focused. Yellow is upset or excited. Red is Mad, mean.

And the teachers don’t assign the colors, they have students identify which color they are.
And like any good teacher, there are a list of tools that you can use to get in the green zone. Things like drawing, deep breaths, taking a walk, Lifting something heavy.

Wouldn’t it be great if by the time they were middle schoolers they could take control of their emotions. I know some middle school teachers and they would love it too.
So work with your kids on emotions. It’s more important than you think.

November 1, 2019

S5-Ep309 - The 4th Lesson for 21st Century Parents

https://medium.com/steveglaveski/book-summary-21-lessons-for-the-21st-century-by-yuval-noah-harari-73722006805a

 Today is part four of the series in which we analyze Yuval Noah Harari’s lessons from his book ’21 lessons for the 21st century’. We aim to change the culture we live in, for the better, through our children. And you, being a parent, have a direct role, a direct way to leave a legacy of positive change. Of course it turns out that being a parent, and effecting this change, isn’t easy. But listening to a 3 minute podcast is. So keep hanging in there with us and we’ll work on making it easier for you.

 Harari’s Chapter 15 is on Ignorance.

  This should be an easy one right? Ignorance is bad? Education is the great equalizer?

He writes: “scientists have demonstrated that most human decisions are based on emotional reactions and heuristics shortcuts rather than on rational analysis and that while our emotions and heuristics were perhaps suitable for dealing with life in the Stone Age they are woefully inadequate in the Silicon Age.”

No individual knows everything it takes to build a cathedral and atom bomb or an aircraft. What gave homo sapiens an edge over other animals was not rationality but our unparalleled ability to think together in large groups.”

So in the age of cavemen, we didn’t have a lot of people or science to expand our knowledge base. And you could make a case that today’s human also needs very little (or at least a very narrow) set of knowledge to survive well.

But when we’re raising small children, I’m going to have to work on cutting my kid a break for not knowing all of the answers to the questions. What we need to do is acknowledge that everything that is a fact, can be looked up. And what needs to be done by modern man is to lead. To lead others, to group all of the knowledge together; what we call a modern manager. That’s the key work of tomorrow.

In fact, chapter 19 states his opinion that “what kids really need to learn is adaptability, learning how to learn, resilience, curiosity, critical thinking, problem solving, and effective collaboration.

And there are some good teachers who have tried to solve this problem as woefully ineffective as any one person is: They tried to get people to organize information, vs learn it. And to think critically of information sources. That’ll be key moving forward.