The Apprenticeship of Being Human: Why Early Parenting Matters To Everyone by Graham Scharf

book cover

The Apprenticeship of Being Human: Why Early Parenting Matters To Everyone by Graham Scharf

 

  1. Parents are the chief culture architects of their families
  2. Four key areas of early child development
    1. Character
    2. Competence
    3. Creativity
    4. Collaboration
  3. Three significant environmental factors of healthy development
    1. Love
    2. Language
    3. Literature
  4. Three keys to developing a nurturing home environment
    1. Reflection
    2. Resolve
    3. Repetition
  5. Current Facts
    1. Fewer than 7out of 10 students graduate from high school nationally
    2. Only 25% of students taking the ACT have the appropriate skills for college
    3. One third of workers checking you out lack the perseverance and skill to complete high school
    4. 27% of all children under 19 live apart from their fathers
  6. Brain building
    1. The human brain grows from 25% to 80% of its adult volume between birth and age three
    2. The brain grows 90% of its adult volume by age 5
    3. Brain development is activity dependent – sensory, motor, emotional, cognitive must be triggered
    4. See page 29 for graph
  7. Every area of life shapes a child’s experience of normal, those experiences also shape an understanding of normative – what is good and valuable, what is wrong and unacceptable.
    1. Mastering any skill requires practice in skills as well as virtues
    2. Repetition-we are what we repeatedly do
    3. Resolve-we are what we choose to do
    4. Reflection-is a particular approach to parenting achieving the desired results
    5. Initiation-early childhood is the initiation of a child into a way of being in the world, early experiences teach him how to navigate the social context in which he was born
    6. Indoctrination-in the earliest years, children learn the fundamentals of how to be human
    7. Learn how to have a conversation, make eye contact, listen carefully, ask clarifying questions, give genuine affirmation
  8. Teaching values: C.S. Lewis – “Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make a man a more clever devil.”
    1. Character: the most significant role of early nurture and later formal education is to form the character of children
    2. Competence: paramount to the flourishing of individuals
    3. Creativity: in a home where creativity and innovation are intentional, children solve problems in new ways and develop lifelong patterns of innovation
    4. Collaboration: a team is more than the sum of its parts
  9. Cultivating character
    1. Routines & rudiments
    2. Children are taught the rudiments of being human through their daily routines in the context of their most primary relationships – typical middle class child enters first grade with 1,000-1,700 hours of one on one picture book reading vs a child of low income family with 25
  10. Poverty of language
    1. Words are the tools of exploration and creativity, not having many words has a crippling social and economic effect
  11. Practice and perseverance: cannot master anything without persevering practice
  12. Three factors that influence brain development
    1. Love: affirmation builds confidence which leads to taking greater risk resulting in self confidence
      1. Unconditional love leads to child realizing acceptance does not depend on performance
    2. Language: by the age of 3, children should have heard 30 million words and have spoken 1,100
    3. Literature: Dr Seuss-the more you read, the more things you will know. The more you know the more places you will go.
  13. Discipline: involves reflectively choosing to do what is good, thereby forming good habits, which when so much of life is reflexive, we do well rather than poorly
    1. Parenting: we only become great parents over time, slowly, as we train ourselves, reflect, analyze where we go wrong and make corrections
    2. The virtue argument
    3. Dignity & responsibility: let children know they are important and giving them responsibility enhances their growth
    4. Courage & character formation:
      1. Courage is performing good and wise action despite difficulty, pain, opposition and risk
      2. It takes courageous parents to make character a priority and nurture their child with love, language and literature rather than focus on their own needs and desires
  14. Educated parents make a difference within and outside their immediate family
    1. It is within the power of educated parents to influence the virtue and values of their own children
    2. Educated persons have influence among their families, friends, neighbors, and community to nurture character, competence, creativity, and collaboration
    3. Educated persons have the abilities and cultural power to find ways to empower and help parents in poverty through friendships, vocation, volunteering, philanthropy, advocacy and policy (page 86)