Children are very interesting. Throughout the decades researchers have been asking, “Are we the result of our environment or our biology?” Children often model their parents (environment) and also have interests that are specific to them (biological).
With all the rain lately I have found it to be a great time to bring my children to the public library. Both have their own recycling bags for the library and love coming home from with books, music, and DVD’s. Recently I noticed that my first grade daughter has been choosing mostly nonfiction books. (It is great to select nonfiction along with fiction books.) In the past two weeks nonfiction books have dominated her selection.
I came to the realization that night that over the course of the past year the large majority of what I have been reading has been nonfiction related to education, brain research, technology, and leadership. Children use parents as their models and it is incredibly important to not just make time for children to read everyday but to model for our children how to read. Talking about what we’re reading is also great modeling to do at the dinner table.
This weekend we visited my aunt’s barn. I never knew it but came to the realization my daughter loves farming. She is very interested in the growing of produce and the livestock. As a result, our family is participating in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm. This will involve our family helping with the harvest and our children seeing where produce comes from. We will also be scheduling times this summer when my daughter can have sleepovers with my aunt to help with the chickens, goats, lamas, etc. My wife and I love to go apple picking and visit animals at a local farm. However, that has been the extent of our experience with farming. This makes it particularly exciting to watch our oldest daughter grow and develop her own interests.
After this weekend and my experiences, I would argue children are both the product of their environment and their biology. Providing positive role models (parents, teachers, aunts, uncles), promoting and encouraging interests, and our love and care will not only help build our children’s confidence - it will result in happy kids.