Raising “Good Humans”​

The other day someone asked for advice on raising “good humans”. Here are some of my thoughts on the subject.

  1. Teach them to do the research and then always question authority. Just because something has been done one way for decades doesn’t mean it’s the right way to do things. Always question authority, but use reason and logic to do so.
  2. Inspire them to be curious and ask questions. Not just what, when, and how, but also why. “Why?” is the most important question of them all.
  3. Teach them to have compassion. Tell them that every human they see around them was once a little child, just like them. People change and grow, and we must act with compassion towards most people. Some don’t deserve it, but those people are extremely rare.
  4. Free them from the tyranny of being special. Tell them that the world is so large and has so many people in it that no one is unique. No one! Even if they have a thought or a desire that one in a million people have, that still means that there are over 6 thousand people in the world right now who have the same thought or desire. It’s ok.
  5. Teach them to ask for help and advice from people who have achieved what they want to achieve. For a long time I always thought that I could figure everything out on my own. And I am arrogant enough to try, and usually succeed. But I have learned over the years that sometimes it’s not worth the struggle, and good advice is sometimes a shortcut to your ultimate goal. Especially in programming that has proved to be true. I can usually figure out the perfect algorithm to use, but in most cases a quick google search would save me an hour of thinking. Of course it’s not as satisfying, but I progress faster, and ultimately the satisfaction of the final project being finished is the reward. This one I am still trying to internalize.

This is all theoretical advice, no children of my own yet. It’s just some lessons I learned along the way that I would teach to my 10 year old self if I could.