Sometimes we try to make things too easy for our kids!  We must celebrate the challenges that will help our youngsters grow in character as well as in skill.

Cradles of Eminence

Research by Victor Goertzel and Mildred G. Goertzel in Cradles of Eminence points to some interesting research findings.  Studying the lives of 400  Famous Twentieth Century Men and Women , they analyzed their childhoods, the stresses, in their lives, and their home lives.  The 1964 provocative classic is printed in its entirety, along with a new chapter that updates the text for the 21st Century!

Here are some of their conclusions:

"In almost all of the homes there is a love for learning in one or both parents, often accompanied by a physical exuberance and a persistent drive toward goals.  Fewer than ten per cent of the parents failed to show a strong love for learning.

"Three-fourths of the children are troubled--by poverty; by a broken home; by rejecting, overpossessive, estranged or dominant parents; by financial ups and downs; by physical handicaps or by parental dissatisfaction over the children's school failures or vocational choices.

"One-half of the parents were opinionative about a controversial subject which set them apart in their own time but is accepted with little or no animus today.  Opinionative parents reared nearly all of the statesmen, the humanitarians, and the reformers.

"None of the twenty poets among the Four Hundred is the son or daughter of a poet.

"Almost all of the physicians, lawyers, and scientists come from family backgrounds which give them opportunities for outdoor explorations, considerable personal freedom, and early responsibility.  They are often physically active, make collections, and are mischievous.

"Nearly half of the fathers were subject to traumatic vicissitudes in their business or professional careers.

"One-fourth of the mothers are described as dominating, but only one-twentieth of the fathers warrant this description.

"Handicaps such as blindness; deafness; being crippled  sickly, homely, undersized, or overweight; or having a speech defect occur in the childhoods of over one-fourth of the sample.  In many of these individuals, the need to compensate for such handicaps is seen by them as a determining factor in their drive for achievement.

"Among explorers and adventurers, there is almost always a history of accident-proneness.

"Most of the eminent are not born in the great metropolitan centers but drift to the larger centers from farms, villages, and small cities.  Stage celebrities more often come from the cities than do persons of other occupations.

"Three-fifths of the Four Hundred expressed dissatisfaction with schools and schoolteachers, although four-fifths showed exceptional talent."

Their description of the life of Albert Einstein was particularly interesting. 

This book is now back in print! We highly recommend it for teachers!  It is really eye-opening! 

"When we make things easy for children, we truly make them more difficult."   Eleanor Roosevelt

The Song of the Brook