Edward Zuckerberg, a dentist and his wife Karen (Kempner), a psychiatrist welcomed their fourth child, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg into the world on May 14, 1984 in Dobbs Ferry, New York. A careful scrutiny of biographical documents from a collection of sources has produced a few insight which are compressed into three lessons. These lessons are hoped to inspire parents and guardians to rise up to the challenges of raising successful children. Who says you can’t be the father of the mother of the next Zuckerberg?
Lesson One: Resourceful Nurture
A child that is fed will grow by nature, but a child that is nurtured will grow better. To nurture is to encourage somebody or something to grow, develop, thrive, and be successful. A resourceful nurture of a child is five-star-rated. To be resourceful is to be enterprising, full of initiative and a solution provider. A popular sayings goes thus, you cannot give what you don’t have. But Mark’s parents know how to position themselves among the ‘haves’, not just in terms of money but the intelligence associated with parenting. His father started to teach him Atari BASIC Programming when he was just around ten. Imagine, a dentist primarily taking the responsibility to teach his son programming! I believe he must have introduced a number of other subject to him before realizing his aptitude for programming through a keen observation. Quite resourceful and intentional living! Later when his father noticed his penchant for programming, he hired a software developer to teach him privately. His Mum’s influence as a psychiatrist must have been instrumental in discovering his potentials and his college course of study at Harvard, which is psychology and computer science.
Lesson Two: Creative Engagement
Children possess unprecedented potentials for brain development. This potential must be creatively engaged for development into peak performance status, otherwise they assume an average performance permanence. On identifying Mark’s zest for programming, his parents took it further by hiring the private tutor and gifted him with a book titled, C++ for Dummies. From there, he was able to build a software he called "Zucknet" that allowed the computers in the main house and those at the dental office to communicate with each other, while still an adolescent. On noticing his prodigy, they encouraged him to take a graduate course in programming at a college near his home, while still in high school. This resulted in him building computer programs, especially communication tools and games. He was also made to enroll in fencing to harness his physicals. He was constantly been engaged creatively.
We need to harness the energy, inquisitiveness, restlessness or talkativeness of our children. We need to channel their giftedness through to a productive outcome. It does not do any good to shout them into a boring calmness or watch them burn those energy in wasteful play. Whatever a child does too much should be channeled into competence instead of curbed into atrophy.
Lesson Three: Family Values (thriftiness, diligence, innovativeness)
For decades, Edward and Karen Zuckerberg did not change or upgrade their home, despite their wealth. This is because avarice is non priority for them. They would rather use money for the course that helps humanity, give quality education to their children, or upgrade their family business. When Mark was to launch Facebook in 2004, he turned to his father for a loan, which he obliged. The management board at Facebook later granted him two million shares of the business ownership as payback. That share is currently worth around $60,000,000. So, you now understand where Mark got his sense of thriftiness despite the wealth. Other family values that run in the lineage of the Zuckerbergs is diligence and innovativeness. After decades of running their dentistry business, Edward was quoted as saying, he is not ready to retire from the business which is his baby. Inspite of the technological evolution in medical industry, they have consistently re-invented their success so as to remain a force to reckon with. The culture of hardwork and staying on top of the game runs in the family as well. They could have relaxed and enjoy the fame and wealth acquired by Mark, but no, they are forging ahead. Little wonder, in terms of innovation and staying ahead of others, Mark Zuckerberg surely knows how to find his way.
It is important to know that every child has a sort of prodigy in them but the early life does more in determining their outcome. Parents should learn these foundational realities, that resourceful nurture, creative engagement and inculcating sound family values among others, as exemplified by Edward and Karen Zuckerberg are essential factors in helping children to reach their full potentials.
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