Recently I was sent a link to an article titled Cheer up, it’s not all doom and gloom published by the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s The Drum.
This article mentioned a book by Steven Pinker called Better Angels of Our Nature which had been recommended to me by Geoff Le Pard in a comment on my post about childhood illness. The premise of this book is that humanity, over the ages, has become less violent. After to listening to Pinker’s history of violence, I’m pleased that I live these relatively peaceful times.
The article also introduced me to a new term ‘meliorism’ which means having a belief that the world can be improved by the actions of humans. While the term may have been unfamiliar to me, the attitude is not and I attest that I am a meliorist.
I have a very strong belief in the power of education to improve the world. Education empowers individuals, and educated individuals empower societies to build improved futures. It becomes very difficult to sustain negative practices in the face of overwhelming evidence and information.
What better place is there for education to begin than in the home?
In a recent post I referred to a new book by Michael Rosen called Good Ideas: How to Be Your Child’s (And Your Own) Best Teacher. At the time I had not read the book but now I can say, with great delight, that I have listened to most of it. With messages such as those contained in Michael’s book, it is easy to be a meliorist.
I think Rosen’s book should be available to, perhaps compulsory reading for, every parent; I consider its message to be that important. In fact, I am off to the shops today to purchase copies to give to parents of young children I know. It will become part of my gift to new parents that also includes Reading Magic by Mem Fox and a selection of picture books. I have previously blogged about that here and here.
The “Good Ideas” contained in Rosen’s book, if implemented, will keep alive the natural curiosity of one’s children and oneself. They will encourage the development of thought, creativity and responsiveness.
In the next few weeks I will post a more detailed review of the book and some of Michael’s ideas for stimulating curiosity, whoever and wherever you are.
What about you? Are you a meliorist?
I welcome your feedback. Please share your thoughts about any aspect of this post.