How to Produce a Gifted Child
Providing parents with programs and materials that will produce a gifted child is a multi-billion dollar industry. From flashcard systems that will teach your baby to read to computerized curricula that will teach your preschooler everything from Shakespeare to nuclear physics, mothers and fathers are being urged to spend a lot of money to ensure that their kid will be a scholastic all-star when he enters school. However, there is not a stitch of evidence to indicate that any of this stuff will routinely lead to the desired results. And there is a lot of evidence to indicate that most of it will probably lead to nothing more than frustration, disappointment, and the depletion of the family’s financial resources.
The problem is that many parents are easily lured by what is referred to as “inductive” reasoning. This involves looking at the items and information associated with an idea and then inducing (making an educated guess about) the kind of results it will lead to. While this is sometimes an effective strategy, parents would be better advised to use what is referred to as “deductive” reasoning. This involves looking at the results one wants and then deducing (figuring out) how those results actually came about.
For instance, when it comes to producing a gifted child, many mothers and fathers induce that teaching a child to read at an extraordinarily early age will give that child a huge advantage over his peers. But the fact is that the overwhelming majority of children who eventually are identified as gifted during the elementary school years did not start reading until they were six or seven years old.
So how do you produce a gifted child? Well, it is still not clear how much of this is simply “nature” and how much can really be done with “nurture.” But if you look at a lot of gifted kids and then look at what their mothers and fathers actually did with them during their early years, certain consistencies do emerge. First, they provided stimulation, direction, support, and reward for whatever abilities their child demonstrated. Second, the teaching they did was mostly informal and occurred in a variety of settings. And third, they ensured that their child’s early learning took place largely in the context of fun, fascinating, free-form play.
In other words, if your goal is to produce a gifted child, no one can give you any guarantees, but it definitely does appear that Romp n’ Roll is a wise investment.