The Rock & Roll tune that suggests we "...Teach the children well..." is 100% correct. In Nature, successful species do it all the time. The realization is that the teacher benefits in the exchange --- it's one of those "altruistic self-interest" management scenarios that Nature champions.

In jungles, monkey-babies learn about life from mama, papa and the rest of their clan. Sharing a strong emotional connection, mother helps baby learn the nuances of building relationships and papa explains how baby fits into the big plan. Baby has to understand family, clans, rivals, enemies and predators. It has to learn who will help them, under what circumstances and how alliances can fuel or fool their sense of "self". It’s in their best interest to explore those lessons real well.

Monkeys must understand strategy to claim "position" in society. If a dominant member of the tribe threatens you or another family member, who will you count on to help or who can you attack to retaliate and balance things out? Youngsters have to learn how to weigh odds and rules of engagement before they are free to roam about the forest. They'll be directed to try many approaches to social interaction - like aggression, posturing, diplomacy, fawning, grooming or sexual play - in order to bond with significant others. They'll be guided to figure out what works best with who, when and why.

Human kids mostly learn by observation. They are expected to "
do what you are told" when learning. Research shows that just hearing instructions is the worse way to learn anything. I shudder when I realize that it's the favored way of educating and training people most everywhere: "Me talk, you listen."

Many parents act as if their kids secretly know how to behave in every circumstance but are just being bad. Some parents are so sure the kid is misbehaving on a previously understood instruction they'll often yell: "
I thought I told you..." as they address the lack.

Maybe so. But maybe just telling them ain't enough.

My daughter and son-in-law presented me with two grandsons - Cameron and Ryan. On several occasions she's told me that she wants to raise them the same way I guided her. Growing up, I encouraged her to live her life as an adventure: "
Try it!", "Do it!" "See for yourself!" - these were her rules.

Follow the path of your heart!" - and - "What gives you he most joy?" were my sternest commands.

She's taken it to heart and has had many "
...most excellent adventures." Now she and her hubby are guiding those two boys... and doin' a good job too. If you ask young Ryan what's the secret to success, he'll answer in a flash: "Practice!"

He is right! Top trainers know that heuristic learning - i.e.
self-discovery - is what works best:
  • Reading is only 20% learning effective - but reading and looking at pictures and graphs that explain relationships is 30% effective;
  • Hearing and seeing together is 50% effective but hearing and seeing with an emotional commitment to the subject matter, followed by Q&A and practice are 60% effective;
  • Speaking and writing about a topic you care about, after doing the research, is 70% effective;
  • Doing - that is experiencing something directly is a 90% effective way to learn it;
  • Teaching something after experiencing it is 99% effective as it involves a complex process that gives the recalled information a life of its own.

I always look forward to showing my grandkids some of my best tricks as it lets me experience them again myself. That sharing is its own reward.