Colin Powell

Colin Powell (Photo credit: jdlasica)

A recent video posted on the Technology, Entertainment, and  Design website, or TED, featured a talk by former Secretary of State, Colin Powell.  He believes that a child cannot be successful in school unless that child enters school with a sense of structure.

His talk, “Kids Need Structure,” emphasized the inherent need that children have to grow up in a structured environment beginning in infancy.  Secretary Powell asserts, that at only a few months of age, babies shut out all other possible languages in order to learn their mother’s language, “and that is where the education process begins.”  Furthermore, he believes that that’s where love begins, that’s where structure begins, and that’s when parents imprint each child with his or her own uniqueness.  So, Powell urges parents to make sure that their children are ready for school, and he enumerates what young children need in order to be ready.  According to Powell, children need the following before entering school:

  • To have been read to
  • To know colors
  • To tell time
  • To tie his or her shoes
  • To have mindfulness (of manners, of adults, self-control, etc.)

Powell feels that if a child does not grow up within this kind of structure, he or she will have trouble in school.   Despite their initial enthusiasm for school and learning, young students who were not reared within a structured environment realize early on that they are not like the children who were, and they figure out that they are behind.  By third grade, they act out because they know they are behind, and they probably are on the path to dropping out and to going into the penal system.

Children should be encouraged to find what they do best and what they enjoy doing.  When they have figured that out, they are well on their way to their life’s chosen path.

He also supports the notion that children need a community of support and nurturing to help ensure their success.

Powell exhorts each person to do what he or she can to help foster better opportunities for all children by volunteering and supporting in any way possible because it’s an investment in our future.