The Attitude with Arnie Arnesen, December 9, 2020
We speak with Melinda Wenner Moyer, a science journalist who writes for, among other publications, Scientific American, The NY Times and Slate. We discuss her new book, "How to Raise Kids Who Aren't A-holes: Science-based Strategies for Better Parenting."
She wrote the book because she realized that, as President, Donald Trump will be a role model for a lot of children. She did not want her children to learn to be a bully, racist, or sexist, or do mean things that harm other people.
For example, parents want to teach their kids to be generous and helpful, not selfish. Moyer did a lot of research on how kids learn these habits. It is not enough simply to role model generosity; we must also *show* our kids how they can learn it themselves. Her book contains a toolbox of behavior lessons from which children can learn to develop positive habits. Moyer includes scripts for parents to talk about difficult things with their kids. She begins each topic with the broad strategies (the big picture), and then proceeds to specific ideas for hands-on interaction with the children.
For example, Moyer offers the topic of race. We need to do more than just teach our children not to be racists, not to hate other people simply because they don't look like us. The more difficult part is how to raise kids who are anti-racists, who proactively help to eliminate the structural racism that has developed in society over centuries.
Yes, it's important to have conversations about race and racism. Likewise about different genders. But parents must do more than just talk about race/gender. All through our children's lives, society is sending them messages -- often subliminal -- about racial and gender issues. Kids notice and absorb those messages. They see that all presidents have been men (and all but one white). They draw inferences from what they see: they will be pushed to think that you can't aspire to be president if you are female; men have all the power must mean that men are more qualified. That reasoning is false, of course. But children are like little detectives: They see things, they absorb things, they form beliefs and assumptions based on what they see.
We also discuss how to raise children who are resilient. This is related to self-esteem. Parents should help their kids build a "growth mindset." Teach them that they succeed based on the effort that they put into a project, not just because they are innately smarter than other people. Accepting new challenges -- rather than shrinking from them -- will make children more and more competent and, therefore, more likely to succeed. Yes, even when they temporarily fail, they will learn new lessons, which will enhance their future success.
We talk to Andrew Hoffman, Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the Univ. of Michigan business school, about his article in TheConversation.com, A better way for billionaires who want to make massive donations to benefit society.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently announced that he is going to contribute $1billion to help address climate change. This charitable donation is admirable, of course; Bezos could instead just hoard his money.
But Hoffman suggests that Bezos should instead use his wealth to repair the inequitable way that capitalism is working. He should use his economic power to create a system where corporate profit-seeking will no longer create existential problems such as the climate crisis and the gaping disparities in income/wealth.
Rich elites like Bezos should make sure that the 1% will no longer be able to use their extraordinary wealth to control our economic and political systems in the future as they have in the past. Hoffman cites research showing that the influence of money in politics has resulted in our governments policies benefitting the corporate elites, while ordinary peoples interests have received near zero benefit.