We know all the basics: lots of fresh air, sleep, fruits and vegetables, friendships, and loving parents.
There is one extra area that works like a charm. It is kids teaching kids.
You see, too much adult supervision and youngsters stop listening. All they hear is blah, blah, blah. And more than that, there is a deep pattern starting when the little ones are around two years old to say “NO.”
Enter the peer group.
No, I’m not talking about in the teen years when there is the fear of rebelling and going to the dark side with friends. I’m talking about when friendships are forming and behavior patterns can be developed amongst the youngsters for good habits.
Now, I’m not bragging. I’m just sharing a video that shows a ten year old who loves to be in the kitchen and wants to help her friends eat, drink and be happy.
This little girl started to experiment in the kitchen with cookie dough when she was very small and now, with some great encouragement she is showing other kids how to make simple, appealing, and good for you foods.
Hey, I learned the easy way to get the kale leaves ready for a salad from her. And she even taught me to make a killer fennel salad.
The main thing here is that children will listen to other children faster than to an adult when it comes to learning new things. There is less of a feeling of intimidation and more of a feeling of camaraderie. We know this and yet we still want to monitor and teach in old-fashioned ways.
There are a few schools that have developed recently where the adult teachers are only consultants and the children run the classrooms. The consultants are asked to help when the children get stuck. And surprisingly, the kids are more prone to stick with what they are doing and figure it out themselves and only ask for help late in the game.
We know that we must keep our young ones out of harm’s way, and yet it does seem that we have been helicopter parenting way too much.
Think of mother tigers who have a little baby tiger that falls into a ravine. The mother tiger sits patiently at the crest of the hill while the baby figures out how to climb out. Maybe more of that and more room for peer group teaching would make the next generations more confident, healthy and ready to tackle the complex issues that this hurting planet is facing right now.
And by the way, for full disclosure, that ten year old in the video is my granddaughter.