Are children born with fixed passions and interests so that all they need to do is to find them — or do they need to build and develop their passions with the application of effort? How a child approaches this question will make all the difference in his future.
Fixed Interest Mindset vs. Growth/Evolved Interest Mindset
Across North America, children and youth are being taught to “find their passion.” It is presumed “the passions” are fixed and built in, and that after one’s passion is found that everything meaningful will come effortlessly in an endless stream of motivation and fulfillment.
In a paper that is forthcoming in Psychological Science, the authors delineate the difference between the two mind-sets. One is a “fixed theory of interests”—the idea that core interests are there from birth, just waiting to be discovered—and the other is a “growth theory,” the idea that interests are something anyone can cultivate over time.
… “If passions are things found fully formed, and your job is to look around the world for your passion—it’s a crazy thought,” Walton told me. “It doesn’t reflect the way I or my students experience school, where you go to a class and have a lecture or a conversation, and you think, That’s interesting. It’s through a process of investment and development that you develop an abiding passion in a field.”
Another reason not to buy into the fixed theory is that it can cause people to give up too easily. If something becomes difficult, it’s easy to assume that it simply must not have been your passion, after all. In one portion of this study, the students who thought interests were fixed were also less likely to think that pursuing a passion would be difficult at times. Instead, they thought it would provide “endless motivation.” __ The Atlantic
Modern educators like to believe that once a child’s passions are found and engaged, that he will subsequently benefit from an endless stream of insight and energy that will allow him to follow the passions to their proper rewards.
This belief in “the fixed passions” is compatible with modern theories of “self esteem” and the abolition of grades, competence hierarchies, and meaningful competition. In this brave new world there is no need to stratify ideas and theories by how well they work in the real world. Every culture is perfect just as it is, everybody gets a trophy, and if science finds differences in aptitudes and achievements between different groups, then by popular proclamation science must be wrong about that.
The “follow your fixed passion” is also compatible with $1.5 trillion in student loan debt in US colleges — much of which will never be repaid. It is also compatible with a rapidly expanding skills shortage in North America and Europe which — like it or not — will result in having to choose between importing skilled workers from abroad, or a gradual scaling back of local skilled services and industries, leading to increased imports of products from abroad.
How to cultivate a “growth” mind-set in the young, future-psychology-experiment subjects of America? If you’re a parent, you can avoid dropping new hobbies as soon as they become difficult. (Your kids might take note if you do, O’Keefe said.) __ Atlantic
The author of the Atlantic piece excerpted above makes a great point: Your example teaches your child far more about how to approach life than anything you may say to him.
And stop telling your child “you’re so smart!” Children who are told how smart they are will tend to begin avoiding difficult challenges so as not to threaten their “so smart!” self-concept. Instead, praise the child’s effort and work ethic.
The underlying idea here is to teach the child — by example, through story/myth, and by reinforced advice — how to embrace and overcome difficult challenges. This is necessary in order for the child to reach levels of accomplishment that will allow him to both build and discover meaningful and purposeful “passions.”
Without this built-in love of overcoming challenge and solving difficult problems, life becomes one series of dumbed down “educational experiences” after another.
And that is exactly the opposite of what you want for your Dangerous Child.
The Dangerous Child Method is best known for its emphasis on early financial independence and the development of self-discipline along with martial skills. But the mental training of the Dangerous Child should not be overlooked.
In fact, the most Dangerous thing about the Dangerous Child is his mind. Very early in his training the Dangerous Child becomes self-taught and soon thereafter becomes self-guided. This leads to an independence of thought and attitude that is rare in today’s pampered/sheltered children and youth. Just as importantly, Dangerous Children are given mind-tools that make them nearly impervious to the atmosphere of mass-brainwashing that predominates at many schools and across the popular media.
Among the mind-tools provided to Dangerous Children are constructive values, fact-based logical skills, practical skills of intuitive creativity, powerful tools of self-calming and self-centering, and an uncanny ability to focus on the tasks and matters at hand.
Any parents who select Dangerous Child Training for their children, will necessarily embody the constructive values which young children’s minds require as a foundation. Likewise, a parent would never have discovered the Dangerous Child Method unless their logic of thinking was powerful enough to see through the mainstream smokescreens.
Skills training for the building of intuition and creativity, of self-centering, and of the development of a laser-sharp focus of attention, are integral to Dangerous Child training. Toward that goal, both meditation and hypnosis are important ingredients of DC training, along with Lateral Thinking and other forms of intuition training.
Meditation and Hypnosis are Opposite Sides of the Mind Coin
Meditation is a type of “floodlight,” while hypnosis is more of a “spotlight.” The mind in meditation can be open to new ideas on many levels, while a mind in hypnotic trance is more likely to be focused and highly selective in what it allows to reach conscious levels.
Dangerous Children are trained to utilise tools of both “mind expansion” and “focused selectivity of awareness,” since a mastery of each tool can prove life saving in many situations.
But there is a dark side to hypnosis. And if Dangerous Children are not prepared to take the reins of their own “trance inductions,” they — along with the rest of their age cohorts — would be almost powerless to resist the mainstream indoctrination that envelops virtually every mind that comes down the conveyor belt.
The best defences against the dysfunctional trances and habitual mind traps of the mainstream, are typically religious in nature. But religion itself is to a large degree just another form of group entrancement. It is simply a powerful enough entrancement to allow children to resist other, more destructive forms of entrancement, such as what one finds in public schools and in popular entertainments.
In DC training, religion is neither encouraged nor discouraged. Such choices are left up to the parents, although Dangerous Children generally find ways to make their own ways quite early in life.
Instead of religion, DC training promotes mindfulness (and other) meditation, practical hypnosis self-mastery, an irreverent practical creativity, and a merciless logic that leaves no opinion or point of view unscathed. In addition, neurofeedback is often utilised for specific purposes where actual brain modification is required, when parents and their DC wish to avoid or minimise pharmaceuticals.
Popular Entertainments are Full of Violence and Cruelty
Television and movies for children — even very young children — are full of cruel and violent images. These images are absorbed into young minds, and treated with as much gravity — or more — than most of the things that parents try to teach them. The discrepancy between the values and life lessons that parents would like their children to learn — and the lessons they actually learn — grow greater with each passing year.
Today’s children tend to be pampered and overindulged, while at the same time they are sheltered from meaningful responsibility or exposure to real life lessons which might save them a life’s load of grief in later years. To top it off, they are indoctrinated into the most vile forms of groupthink in schools and by their entertainments.
Once the child’s mind has been habituated to gratuitous nonsense and the practise of finding more and more ways to waste time and money, a continual battle will be fought inside the cranium between the forces of lazy habit and the few forces for constructive accomplishment that may have somehow wormed their way into the young child’s mind.
Dangerous Children Have Their Work Cut Out for Them
Dangerous Children will not have a hundred or a thousand votes in order to compensate for the decline of the age cohorts. Democracy has fallen on hard times — if the age distribution of recent voting is any judge — and a government dominated by decadent groupthink is likely to be more of a burden, hindrance, and nuisance than ever before.
DCs will need to be fiercely independent, and capable of succeeding largely on their own and in small groups. They are likely to represent islands of competence in a sea of cultural decline. Such independence will require strong minds — preferably minds well-fortified with the best tools of self-mastery, self-discipline, and self-teaching that can be devised.
11 Micah gets going at 06:30, when most classmates are still sleeping off a late night of video games and social media.
Micah Amezquita is not like most sixth graders.
The 11-year-old recently started his own trash-can-toting business to make money so that he can start saving for college and become an aeronautical engineer.
His fledgling business, Curb Cans, provides the service of taking garbage and recycling bins to the curb and back again on trash day. Every Tuesday morning, Amezquita heads out in his neighborhood between 6:30 and 8 to take care of business before school.
Like most small businesses, Micah’s operation started slowly, and is building gradually. He is hard-working and positive, and is not afraid to set goals and follow through on them. These are qualities that most successful businessmen share.
Traits that Parents Should Encourage
1. Early Maturation — Early maturation puts people in the position to socialize with older, more established people. From mentorship to business dealings, a young mature person has more potential of being welcomed by successful people, resulting in exposure to real world dilemmas and an aspirational lifestyle early on.
2. Perseverance — Perseverance. Persistence. Tenacity. Whatever word you want to use, this trait is the most important to have if you’re going to be a successful entrepreneur. It doesn’t matter who you are or what company you started, I can guarantee that you’re going to face some low points and have days when you feel alone. When those days come, it’s the determination to reach a high point again that will get you to achieve your goals.
3. The Ability to Put Things in Perspective — Childhood adversity helps entrepreneurs keep things in perspective. When you think about it, experiencing real-life hardship makes all the other problems in life seem minute in comparison. Well, when running a startup you always need to keep things in perspective. From missing your target sales numbers to having key employees leave, problems will always arise and require you to put them in perspective not only for yourself, but your team as well.
4. Having Self Control — Playing off the ability to put things in perspective, childhood adversity most likely drummed up some extreme internal emotions that may never be provoked again. Although too much childhood adversity has correlation to opposite traits of these, most of the entrepreneurs that I know who faced something early on are able to express an incredible level of self-control. Making sacrifices, having difficult conversations, and locking in on your goal are all aspects that I’ve seen exemplified by successful entrepreneurs first hand. Source
Successful Small Business Ideas Vary With Time and Place
For many years, children could make extra money with a newspaper route, babysitting, a lemonade or cupcake stand, or other such modest and traditional endeavours. Times have changed, governments are more intrusive, and successful childhood entrepreneurs need to learn to work around the obstacles and red tape.
But sometimes it helps to look back at the money-making niches that earlier generations utilised:
To earn money, people:
1. Caught and sold fish, clams, and crabs
2. Made homemade fudge and sold it
3. Sold newspapers on the corner. Kids earned a little extra if they were promoted to “Corner Captain”, a sort of Great Depression multi-level marketing program where a kid brought in other kids to sell papers and earned a bit extra himself.
4. Started a lunch truck/wagon
5. Grew, picked, and sold berries
6. Road work
7. Shoveled snow on roads
8. Multiple part-time jobs, including housecleaning
9. Chopped wood or harvested driftwood
10. Made and sold handwoven baskets
11. Mowed lawns and other kinds of yard work
12. Door to door sales of things like shoes or sewing notions
13. Made deliveries for stores
14. Made and sold quilts
15. Sold homemade baked goods, like bread or pies
16. Sold eggs for 25 cents a dozen
18. Rented out rooms
19. Mended or altered clothes
20. Washed windows
21. Would purchase produce and re-sell door-to-door
22. Sold apples
23. Loaded coal
24. Piecework sewing
25. Sold homegrown produce
In every case it was a simple matter of looking around to see what people needed, what they wanted, what made them feel good about themselves and about life.
If people could coax money out of cash-strapped people in a depression, teaching a child to start and run a business in today’s perpetual Obama recession should be a snap!
Kids Need to Build Skills and Competencies to be Successful Child Entrepreneurs
Learning the skills of business is something that takes place both before and after the business is underway. All kinds of practical skills should be learned and mastered before the child even begins to sort through business ideas. Budgeting and money management come before starting a business. But the more practical skills a child instinctively knows, the more versatile his entrepreneurial ventures can be.
There is no need to re-invent the wheel here. Groups and organisations exist for teaching practical and useful skills to children:
Clothing & Textile Science – Learn basic sewing skills, personalize clothing, make clothing from patterns and more. Projects range from first-time beginners to advanced clothing design and construction masters.
Cooking Projects – Beginner to Advanced levels. Learn about cooking, nutrition, food safety information and get creative with recipes of all kinds, including baking breads, meal planning and grilling.
Gardening & Plant Science – Learn how to grow your own vegetables and preserve your own food through canning and freezing methods.
The Natural World – Learn how to explore the outdoors by learning about plants, trees and insects that live in the woods, streams and fields. Learn trapping, fishing and beekeeping.
Shooting Sports – Learn safe use of guns and basic archery.
Mechanics – Learn about small engines, tractors and machinery operations.
Woodworking – Learn how to use various woodworking tools along with basic tools to build wood projects.
Here is useful list of helpful life skills for kids from Survival Mom:
create a shopping list
find the best deals
use a microwave
read nutrition labels and know what’s good and what’s not
prepare, serve and store food to avoid spoilage
cook a well-balanced meal
know which kitchen tools and equipment to use for which tasks
make a weekly or monthly budget and stick to it
use an ATM
open, use and balance a checking account
apply for a credit card and use it responsibly
save up to buy a desired item
set aside money for charity
keep track of important papers
how to use a debit card
pay monthly bills, including utilities
complete simple repairs when needed
sew on a button
mend a seam
fold and put away clothing
follow fabric-care labels
do laundry, including treating simple stains
wash and dry items by hand
pack a suitcase
able to clean the house
find the circuit breaker and use it
locate and use water and furnace shutoffs
use a fire extinguisher
perform basic first aid
fix a running toilet
do laundry, including treating simple stains
use all household appliances, like loading the dishwasher the right way
basic auto maintenance
check tire pressure
check oil level and add oil if needed
check washer fluid and add more if necessary
arrange routine maintenance
add air to tires
produce documents if stopped by police
know what to look for in buying their first car
Other Life Skills
change a mailing address
register to vote
how to vote
who to call and what to do in emergency situations
basic first aid or CPR
how to apply for a job
how to select proper clothing for an interview
what to look for in a first apartment
who to contact to turn on utilities
where to have a document notarized
how to use public transportation
A large number of quasi-functioning adults have not mastered these skills. And many others may be able to do the tasks, but cannot be bothered for the most part. This natural ignorance or laziness on the part of much of the population opens up huge niches for child entrepreneurs to meet unmet needs and desires.
The lists above barely scrape the surface, but parents can begin to get the idea. Humans have an infinite number of unmet needs and wishes. The person who can supply those things economically in a timely fashion is apt to get more business than they can handle. At that point, the child entrepreneur will learn to delegate, utilise independent contractors, or learn to deal with “employees.”
Sure, parents and child-entrepreneurs will need to learn to jump any governmental hoops that they cannot avoid altogether. But there is no need to dump the bodies of over-zealous government functionaries in abandoned coal mines in order to co-exist with absurd government rules and regulations. A bit of forethought and cooperation between child entrepreneurs, their parents, and sympathetic businesspersons should provide the working space needed to survive in an age of government over-reach.
Dangerous Children Master at Least 3 Ways to Support Themselves Financially by Age 18
Most of the niche business ideas mentioned above will not provide reliable and consistent financial support for an independent adult over time. But they will provide invaluable experience in budgeting, handling money, devising business plans, dealing with people, and developing resilience in business.
At the same time as they are building their business skills-experiences-reputations, they are also learning needed academic lessons, developing Dangerous Skills and Competencies, acquiring helpful credentials, developing emotional resilience, and making a range of plans on different time scales for their futures.
After age 18 Dangerous Children will use their financial independence to build their base of operations, to further their education in the professions and other highly skilled sectors, to travel and learn new cultures – languages – ways of life, to raise families and new generations of Dangerous Children, to liaise with other Dangerous Children to form Dangerous Communities, and to otherwise work toward an abundant and expansive human future.
We are living in an age of impractical and perpetually incompetent adolescents of all ages. Children typically go through school and graduate from high school or college with no practical skills or experiences. Whatever parents may be thinking when they send their children off to be abused by institutions, the results are turning out very badly.
Here at the Dangerous Child Institute, we are merely seeking to provide an alternative approach to education and child-raising that provides children and youth with a lifetime confidence based upon stacked competencies — beginning very early in childhood. Most people are not ready for us. All the more reason to get started.
Intense Late Adolescent Psychological Re-Orientation Takes Many Forms
Why Is Boot Camp So Intense?
You have to train 18-year-olds to run to the sound of gunfire and perform under fire and the threat of death.
This act defies all logic, goes against all human instinct, and takes one of the most intensive acts of psychological reprogramming to overcome.
… There will always be the need for young men and women who are willing and able to run to the sound of imminent danger and many, to their death. Nations need this. You need this. It is a horrible thing, but the sanctity and security of every nation on Earth requires young men and women capable of doing this.
To do this, however, we need a form of psychological training that is able to forge individuals who can do this. That is why boot camp has evolved to become such a potent tool in today’s military machine.
__ Jon Davis, Marine Sergeant
Sergeant Davis does not mince words. In order to create marines out of raw recruits, an intense form of psychological re-orientation (or reprogramming) is required. Why? Because most raw recruits arrive at basic training fresh from an extended childhood. They have been pampered, sheltered, told they were special, provided with their every need — and often their every whim — just like a child. But real adult life is not childhood in a productive society. “Children” need to undergo some form of transformation before they are able to understand the distinction.
Not Every Form of Rite of Passage Need to be So Intense as US Marine Boot Camp
Throughout the church’s history, over one million missionaries have been sent on missions. __ Wikipedia
Missionaries intentionally go after people in desperate situations. On my mission, we’d go into the worst parts of town to talk to the meth addicts and crackheads. Sure, they need help and attention more than anybody, but most of my colleagues were distinctly upper middle class white Mormons. Short of bursting out into an impromptu rap about how “drugs are for thugs,” there’s no way they could have been more conspicuous.
Training for “missionhood” is regimented, with long hours.
The whole thing is divided up like the underclass in some dystopian sci-fi world — we’re separated into wards, zones, and then six-man districts. You don’t associate with anyone outside your zone while you’re training. Every missionary has to be in sight of their companion at all times. For two solid years, our only alone time was in the bathroom. Do not, under any circumstances, picture the state of that bathroom.
… It’s pretty much like The Hunger Games…
Mormon Missionaries are given this intense programming so that they can get results for the church. They must be committed before they begin — because they pay for their training in hard cash and precious time. And on top of all that commitment ant training fees, the church expects a larger return.
Among other things, you’re not allowed to use a computer if a companion can’t see the screen, and you’re never supposed to be out of their earshot. The logic is that you can’t break the rules if you’re never, ever alone…
… We log everyone who shows interest — or even talks with us — and follow up on a regular basis. That’s because the whole “converting souls” thing is very much a competition. The higher ups in the church are obsessed with numbers. They want people baptized, inactive members brought back to the fold, etc. __ Time as Mormon Missionary
The fatality rates among Mormon Missionaries are lower than among combat marines, during wartime. But Mormon Missionaries are always at war against the dark forces of human nature, so there is never any letup.
Much Beyond Religious Conversions Often Emerges From the Mormon Missionary Experience
Being thrown into strange and dangerous settings and experiences forces the young Mormon to think on his feet, to sink or swim. Many missionaries develop robust resilience in the field, which they bring back with them to their subsequent lives.
The notion of the Mormon mission as a crucible is a common one, and the benefits gained from going through it have been used to help explain the prominence of LDS Church members in business and civic life. Mission experience has also helped prepare RMs for later engaging and prospering in non-Mormon environments. __ Wikipedia
Other Common and Usually Constructive Rites of Passage for Late Adolescents
Any intense extended experience — either solo or group — can serve as a rite of passage from childhood into adulthood. Immersing oneself into particular occupations can serve the “passage” purpose quite well. Examples may include training as EMT / Paramedic, Search and Rescue, Police or Fire Department training, Commercial Deep Sea Diving, Wild Fire Jumpers …
Not all of the 20 Deadliest Jobs in America would qualify as rites of passage, but one can get a sense of which jobs may be more intense — and transforming — than others.
A Dangerous Child Will Have Mastered Multiple Dangerous Skills Before Age 18
Dangerous Child training is different from the run of the mill “rite of passage” discussed above. Dangerous Child training begins before birth and continues throughout the lifetime. Multiple rites of passage succeed each other, as mastery is applied to mastery, and complementary skills are added to complementary skills.
The point of it all is to help build a more abundant and expansive human future, using networked Dangerous Communities as pivot points and backup systems for larger societies that are too often subject to failure from dysgenic and ideologic Idiocracy.
Faux Rites of Passage
In lieu of meaningful rites of passage, modern children and youth are typically trusted to educational institutions and other institutions of culture and society at large, throughout their formative years. When youth are shunted off to college and university without having faced significant passage rites, they typically undergo what is known as “academic lobotomy,” or a brainwashing / reprogramming process carried out by idologues among university faculty and staff.
Instead of preparing youngsters for productive, creative, and fulfilling lives, such indoctrination only introduces and deepens broadly-held delusions and misconceptions about the underlying mechanisms of the natural and the human universes. Such academically lobotomised persons will find it an uphill battle to see through their brainwashing to the solid world beneath.
Other false rites of passage include a young woman having a child out of wedlock and going on welfare, or a young man joining a criminal gang that brainwashes him and limits his future just as surely as any academic lobotomy.
Rites of Passage Open Doors into Multiple Futures
There is a reason why military-trained persons are considered prime recruits for several types of occupation. The skills and mature attitudes that can be learned in military service prepare a young person for several avenues of productivity.
As noted above, the same is considered true for returned Mormon Missionaries. As a result of being forced to innovate and think outside the box, the returned missionary is of more value to prospective employers, and more capable as an entrepreneur.
Any process that teaches a young person to utilise his knowledge, skills, and resourcefulness under unforeseen and unpredictable circumstances — over a significant period of time — can serve as a rite of passage, if empowering lessons are learned.
But if “lessons of disempowerment and futility” are learned, any passage that occurs is likely to be in a backward direction.
Best to begin the process of serial rites of passage at an early age, and build upon it in a solid and progressive manner.
… grit is hardly distinguishable from conscientiousness, one of the classic Big Five traits in psychology. The study, which included a representative sample of U.K. students, measured grit against conscientiousness. Grit, researchers discovered, accounts for only an additional 0.5% of variation in test scores when compared with conscientiousness. IQ, on the other hand, accounts for nearly 40%, according to Plomin.
Schools in the Anglosphere are spending a lot of money in an attempt to increase the level of “grit” in children. But what is it that needs to be bolstered, and what part does a child’s genes play in “grit?”
Grit is Persistence, Motivation, Conscientiousness, Focus, Impulse Control, and more
The author of a best-selling book on grit, Angela Duckworth, is stepping back from some of the hype that has been propagated in her name.
The consequences of hasty applications of grit in an educational context are not yet clear, but Duckworth can imagine them. To be sure, it’s not that she faults these educators — in many ways, she says, these are the best in the field, the ones who are most excited about trying innovative new ways of helping their students succeed. But by placing too much emphasis on grit, the danger is “that grit becomes a scapegoat — another reason to blame kids for not doing well…
… Grit, as Duckworth has defined it in her research, is a combination of perseverance and passion — it’s just that the former tends to get all the attention, while the latter is overlooked. “I think the misunderstanding — or, at least, one of them — is that it’s only the perseverance part that matters,” Duckworth told Science of Us. “But I think that the passion piece is at least as important. I mean, if you are really, really tenacious and dogged about a goal that’s not meaningful to you, and not interesting to you — then that’s just drudgery. It’s not just determination — it’s having a direction that you care about.” __ Questioning Grit
Duckworth is the recipient of a 2013 MacArthur genius grant. She gives TED Talks, has written a bestseller on grit, and has made a good career from promoting “grit” in all its ambivalence.
But it is time to “deconstruct” grit so that we know what we are talking about, and can apply the relevant concepts to helping children develop their potential as individuals and members of various work, social, and civic groups. We know that executive function and personality play as large a role in success as IQ, and that all are strongly influenced by gene expression.
Previous research has shown that a child’s personality can predict a significant, although modest, proportion of the differences between children’s grades at school. For example, a link between conscientiousness and school achievement can explain around 4% of the differences in children’s grades.
… whether or not a person has more or less grit is substantially influenced by their DNA – and explains around a third of the differences between people’s level of grit. We showed that grit is highly similar to other personality traits, showing substantial genetic influence and no influence of shared environmental factors.
… the big Five personality traits – mainly conscientiousness – explained 6% of the differences between exam results of the 16-year-olds in our study. But after controlling for these personality traits, grit on its own did little to influence academic achievement, explaining only an additional 0.5% in people’s GCSE results. __ Conversation
The above comments and research results help somewhat in untangling grit. We know that IQ is up to 80% heritable and executive function (including conscientiousness) is up to 90% heritable. Twin studies suggest that personality is 40% to 50% heritable in the early years, and more so as a person ages.
Grit is usually seen as a combination of self-discipline and persistence / determination. But as Angela Duckworth herself points out, “passion” when seen correctly is a vital part of “grit.” Humans are not robots. They are driven — and drive themselves — by emotion. On top of passion, a sense of purpose is often overlooked when discussing “grit.” For grit to mean anything at all, a person must be “gritty” about something, some purpose.
So if the purpose is unclear, and the passion is weak and opaque, what good is grit?
Additionally, grit can be counter-productive when it fails to adapt to the nuances of particular situations. Persistence, determination, purpose, and passion are important, but they all must be modified somewhat at times by self-discipline, another pre-frontal executive function that is up to 90% heritable. And self-discipline must be informed by wisdom, which is a combination of cognitive aptitude and the ability to learn from one’s own and others’ experience.
The Dangers of Jumping on Popular Bandwagons
Dangerous Children are taught contrarianism, which helps them to avoid the oft-fatal error of bandwagon riding. For example, the mainstream was carried away by Angela Duckworth’s book, Ted Talks, and other contributions to the grit crusade. But since every concept contains multiple errors and pitfalls, carrying any monolithic theme too far without examining all of its components and ramifications, is certain to lead one to overstep himself into a quagmire.
Dangerous Children take grit for what it is, a useful — although ambivalent — trait that parsimoniously incorporates several important aspects of ultimate success.
Grit: Nature vs. Nurture
As mentioned above, IQ is up to 80% heritable, executive function is up to 90% heritable, personality is roughly 50% heritable early in life, and so on. Passion is part of personality, and persistence and conscientiousness are part of executive function. All of them are shaped by intelligence as influenced by experience.
Purpose is the vision, or the guiding light. Purpose utilises all of the above, but contains something extra — something that comes from the turbulent currents and possibilities within the “real world” as the child’s mind sees it. This is where the “community IQ” and “community executive function” influences the child’s intelligence, character, personality, and sense of purpose — via experience, and via genetic and epigenetic mechanisms.
It is impossible to untangle nature from nurture, and neither should be denied its role in the weaving of the character, personality, and life trajectory of the child.
Dangerous Children Do Not Care for Ideology or Crusades
To the extent that “grit” has become a crusade in education and pop psychology, the idea is ignored here at the Institute. But to the extent that the word can be used as a trigger to release a child’s unique orchestra of purpose-supporting strengths, it is invaluable.
The human mind drifts from state to state, from intention to chaos to intention again. The self-management of most intelligent minds can be very difficult unless the flexibly tough integrity is built in from the earliest age. Genes and gene expression will vary between individuals, but all minds can be reinforced and empowered to some degree of increased self-discipline, purpose, strong character, success-promoting personality, and enhanced aptitude across a wide range of competencies.
Modern education and psychology have missed the boat, largely out of a sense of political correctness and groupthink. But there is no reason why you or your children should ride the same bandwagon over the abyss.
How can you possibly expect someone who has spent most of his or her life in a educational system that discourages risk and critical thinking, and which teaches them to stick with the crowd, to exit college with any meaningful advantage?
Armstrong lives in Yorba Linda, California, with his father Kevin, mother Priscilla and brother Dylan. He likes playing his guitar, soccer, flag football, video games, swimming, laser tag and is a member of the boy scouts.
Children are individuals, unique to themselves. Treating them as lumps of clay to be shaped just as the lords of society wish, is a recipe for disaster — a disaster that has been in the making for decades now.
Assembly line education is simply not working out for young people any longer, and ironically, many of these kids are so ignorant they actually think their problem is that they need even more “education.” In reality, the dumbing down of their minds with indoctrination and a focus on political correctness has made them grossly unprepared for life outside the sheltered cocoon of formal schooling.
… To summarize, our schools are training children to become followers instead of leaders and critical thinkers, and it’s going to take some dedicated parenting to turn things around for future generations.
Death Comes to Us All — The Importance of Careful Attention to Detail
People are living animals, subject to dying. When people — including children — take risks, the odds of death can rise appreciably, depending upon a number of factors. The child pictured below — Tito Traversa — fell to his death at age 12 due to equipment malfunction / inadvertent rigging error. The cause of the accident is analogous to a mistake in parachute packing, or a pilot error in judgement leading to a crash. Such accidents could happen to persons of any age, but are particularly tragic when they involve children and people who are involved in the training of full-spectrum children.
Not all children are born daredevils. Those who are innate risk-takers need to be taught utmost attention to detail, and extreme care in following best procedures to minimise and mitigate inherent risks in their activities. Although we incorporate play into learning of all kinds, life itself is being played for keeps.
Do not push them beyond their ability, but do not hold them back — when the proper training can empower them to expand their competence and skillful autonomy.
The misguided attempt to eliminate all risk from the lives of all children, is the far more salient danger to the future, rather than the disciplined training of Dangerous Children to manage risks.