The late astronomer Carl Sagan foretold a “technological adolescence” — a time when humans would become completely dependent on technology and science, yet not understand it. Perhaps now more than ever, we all have a vested interest in making sure the next generation is a broadly educated, resilient, and compassionate one.
This means this blog is not just for parents, but for everyone. We all have a stake in this. We don’t just need kids who turn out okay; we need kids who turn out awesome.
But also, I am not a parent; I just find human childhood (particularly infancy) to be a fascinating thing to study, and I hope this comes across in my writing regardless of who the reader is.
The name “Raising Wonder” — while cheesy, evokes everything I want this blog to be. The word “wonder” is reflective of what we all love about both childhood and science, but also the reverence that I have for the task set before a parent, and the positive presence I hope this blog will be in people’s lives. The “raising” in the name refers as much to raising the occupation of parenthood to the position of recognition and status that it deserves as it does to raising children.
This blog aspires to:
- Help parents (and grandparents, aunties and uncles, and friends…because you are all important in a child’s life!) develop the tools to make informed decisions in an increasingly information-saturated world, and to raise curious, compassionate kids in a culture that punishes curiosity and rewards Machiavellian behavior.
- Start some reasoned, nuanced discussions that need to be had about science and parenting culture. These conversations should arise from a place of genuine curiosity, a desire to cooperatively find answers, and an understanding that the science in this area is ever-evolving, gradually triangulating towards an approximation of truth.
- Talk about how and why science works the way it works, and how it is relevant in all of our lives.
- To represent the various scientific disciplines — biology and biomedicine, psychology, and anthropology — that have informed our understanding of human childhood.
- To make that research accessible to non-scientists. To that end, I will try and make the science relatable, assume no prior knowledge, avoid “jargon,” and explain terms when necessary.
- Build a sense of community around the idea that science can and should inform parenting and family life.
This blog, quite genuinely, does not advocate for any particular parenting philosophy or style. Because the uniqueness of each family simply cannot be overlooked, and because there are plenty of blogs out there that do that if that is what you are looking for. Rather, the goal here is to explore how we can use the tools of science and logic not to necessarily form some kind of conclusion about a topic, but to deepen our understanding of it. We will widen our scope to see the “big picture” as well as exploring nuance.
This approach won’t be sexy. It won’t get clicks. Which is why no one is doing it. But someone needs to. So, here I am.
This blog will heavily feature evolutionary and cross-cultural perspectives on human infancy. But as previously stated I also hope to talk about science and logic in a general sense. In the future, I hope to expand my knowledge and explore together topics such as the education of older children in science, formal logic, and ethics.
At times you may be confronted with ideas that make you a little uncomfortable. You may find yourself questioning cultural assumptions about parenting. Please remember to have compassion for yourself and for other parents.
About me: I am a scientifically literate person with a formal background in child development, academic science (particularly human evolution), and visual art. However, I encourage readers to form thoughts and opinions based not on preconceived notions about the author, but solely on the weight of the evidence and the logic presented. I am always learning and willingly acknowledge the possibility that I may, from time-to-time, be partially or entirely wrong, and thus invite reasoned criticism and corrections in comments at raisingwondermail (at) gmail. I aspire to a willingness to abandon even a most cherished belief in light of the evidence, but I also acknowledge I am human and therefore may not always be successful in that endeavor!
I believe that raising a human is the. most. important. job. anyone. has. ever. done.
And through this sacred occupation, one can well and truly change the world.
It is my hope that you enjoy this blog and find it helpful.