go Are there circumstances that cause some children to succeed in life while others seem to stumble from one setback to another? Is there research that can offer trustworthy guidance to parents, schools, and governments?
where to buy priligy in london In 2016 the scientist and author Helen Pearson published a perceptive and highly readable book entitled The Life Project*. In this book Pearson gives an account of the British birth cohort studies. These studies started one week in March 1946 when the details surrounding the pregnancy and birth circumstances of nearly every child born in Britain that week were meticulously recorded. The circumstances of their lives have been systematically recorded ever since their birth.
source link These ‘babies’, at least those that have not experienced premature death, are now over 70 years old! In addition, the life circumstances of later cohorts of British babies have been recorded – those born in a single week in 1958, 1970, 1991and 2000.
Our detailed knowledge of the life stories of these five cohorts of people have provided enormous insight into the correlation between life circumstances and life fulfilment.
clopidogrel 450 mg Based on her analysis of the research, Pearson suggests five key findings. I list these below in a highly simplified form:
- Inequality at birth affects the health of babies (and their subsequent prospects in education and life). This finding influenced the foundation of the Britain’s National Heath Service.
- If a country has an education system based on selective schools, the life chances of those children who do not attend the ‘best’ schools are diminished (for many different reasons).
- Those mothers who smoke during pregnancy reduce the birth weight and life prospects of their children.
- In the 1980s many of those people born in the 1946, 1958 and 1970 birth cohorts began to put on weight at around the same time. This was the start of the current obesity problem, with all the health and lifestyle implications that now diminish the lives of those who are badly overweight.
- Children born into disadvantaged circumstance have less social mobility. They are more likely to remain ‘trapped’ in their disadvantaged childhood circumstances throughout life.
These findings provide grim reading! However, Pearson identifies four sets of circumstances which seem to enable some children to overcome their difficult circumstances and succeed. Here are those circumstances, in summary form:
- Children whose parents are highly interested and engaged in their children’s upbringing and who are ambitious for them, are more likely to succeed in life.
- Schools that are ambitious for their students are more likely to produce children who succeed in life.
- Children born in better locations, for example a town where there are plenty of job opportunities, thrive more than those born in depressed regions.
- Children who are highly motivated to overcome the disadvantaged circumstances in which they grow up are more likely to succeed. Self-motivation is a key factor in life success.
This empirical evidence from the real life stories of tens of thousands of children born in different decades provides huge insight into how we should raise and educate our youngsters. Understanding this, the bigger challenge facing all of us as parents, teachers, and government leaders is this: in the face of the dreadful inequalities we see all around us, what will we do about it?
*Helen Pearson. The Life Project (2016). Allen Lane (Penguin Books), publisher.
Next time: More research that points us in the right direction.