We all want the absolute best for our little bundles. Sadly, as parents, we can’t offer our children the great variety of experience and input they need, alone. This might be a good thing, as parenting can be exhausting and isolating as is. To this end, it’s a good idea to surround your child with a diverse group of people to help bubs see the world from a varied perspective, but also to expose them to multiple fields of interest. Here is my list of 11 people your child needs in their life.
11 people your child needs in their life
Creativity is a very important part of play, learning and life, in general. It is an outlet for difficult emotions and a soothing retreat from everyday pressures. It also encourages the development of problem-solving skills and out-of-the-box thinking. The artist is also super fun to hang out with and generally has a different perspective on life.
You know the one. Spouts random facts at the drop of a hat. Think Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory. No doubt, this person can be a pain, but exposure to a broad range of topics and interesting facts will also whet the appetite to learn, to research, to verify. The added bonus, your child’s future career path may be sparked by one of these random facts.
Yep, Math… Most parents would rather sit through 24 hours of listening to nails on a chalkboard than have to help with Math homework. Stereotypically, Math is hard and/or boring. Your child needs the person who enjoys Math, who can make it exciting and fun and less daunting. No matter how often we’ve all asked our teachers when we will use these skills in the real world, Math is one of the most important skill sets one can obtain. Exposing your child to a positive perspective on a tough subject may well make life a touch easier.
There, I said it. I hate that it’s necessary, but there it is. The idea is not to indoctrinate your child into a secret society of power suits and anti-masculine sentiment. The idea is to empower both boys and girls to embrace equality. To teach that girls can be anything they want to be, and so can boys. It is to teach strength of character and conviction. It is about freedom.
Life is tough, sometimes it even sucks. It shouldn’t always be so darned serious. Children need a healthy sense of humour as much as adults do. It is vital to see the funny side of situations. It is also vital to learn the appropriate use of humour. Above all, it is vital to be allowed to be a kid.
Or woman. In modern society, we claim to value independence, but we also raise extremely dependent children, in that we do everything for them and try to protect them from all adversity. The handyman serves a dual purpose. Learning to do things with their hands, encourages the development of motor skills. Being able to change a plug/light bulb/tyre, teaches independence and engenders a sense of pride in their own accomplishments.
History involves storytelling. Academic history can be boring and dry, but when you hear it from a passionate source, it comes to life. This may encourage children to read more, it may help develop a passion for the subject or it may merely wile away hours, listening to stories. Most importantly, it should help learn from the lessons of the past.
The pedant can sometimes be the polar opposite of the artist. This is your grammar nazi, the corrector, the person whose eye develops a tic when you refer to your printer’s magenta cartridge as the red ink thingy. They are important, because there really is such a thing as the wrong way in certain situations.
Be it Chemistry, Physics, Biology or a combination, science helps the world go round and very few of us truly know our way around it. As with Math, science can be extremely interesting and a great deal of fun, given the right perspective and environment. Moreover, it teaches critical thinking and encourages the greatest trait of the young mind curiosity.
The Sporty One
We’re not all active people and despite knowing that our children need physical activity to grow into well-rounded people, it is difficult to encourage that activity if you are not active yourself. Cue the sports fan. That person who can’t think of anything more fun than chasing or hitting a ball, running around, climbing stuff and just generally burning energy. You’ll be grateful when your little bundle collapses into bed at 20:00, I promise.
The Wild Card
Possibly the most vital component. Someone who is completely different from you, whether it be heritage, interests, worldview, politics, religion or any of a myriad other options. This person exposes your child to a taste of the real world, where everyone is different, but most importantly they help your child respect differences and empathise with others. And see that if they happen to turn out “different”, that that is also OK.
Now, before you run out with a shopping list of new friends, I know you’re tempted, look at the people already in your life. Chances are your list is near complete. Each parent will fill at least one of these slots, grandparents, close family and friends will tick other boxes. A few will overlap, the Mathematician may well be a pedant, too. In our family, the artist is also the wild card.
So, this is my list of 11 people your child needs in their life. Have I missed anyone? Have you? Leave me a comment if there is, I’d love to know if I need to add to my “collection”!
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