10 Ways to Be Sure You Raise a Genius
by Jack Murnighan
April 1, 2010
Everybody knows that for a child to grow up happy, successful, and loved, it pretty much has to be good-looking. But since not all of us can make babies with Gisele or Tom (or steal the ones that they’re having), we can at least try to have our kids end up smart. Sure, it’s no substitute, but at least they’ll be able to take subtle revenge on all the BPs whom they envy.
And while a lot of so-called experts claim that their methods will increase the likelihood of your child growing up to be a demented genius, I’ve gathered 10 sure-fire techniques that are guaranteed to work. Follow these steps and your kid will be explaining the theory of relativity to his or her prom date – or at least to the mirror at home. – Jack Murnighan
Start foreign language learning in utero.
Why wait for birth to begin the Latin lessons? (And, yes, begin with Latin so you can move on to the rest of the Romance languages at age 2.) Your baby has ears beginning in week 11 of pregnancy; that’s when to introduce the “amo, amas, amat.”
And, with a nod toward developing global economic trends, you might want to alternate in Mandarin Chinese on odd days. At least arm your future CEO with the phrase “Please buy our goods”: qîng gòu mãi wõ m’n dí chãn pîn.
Baby Mozart is only 8-tone; go for 12!
While all the other pre-schoolers are humming the requiem, yours can be suspirating modern revolutions in classical music by Schoenberg or Stravinsky. Really, Amadeus is so 1787.
Let your fetus really hear you.
Ever tried to listen to a conversation while you were under water? Doesn’t work so well, right? So to maximize your Latin, Mandarin, and Baby Stravinsky acoustics, don’t go from the outside – channel your audio up the birth canal.
Try using these Harman Kardon soundsticks to get maximum proximity.
If it’s not too late, consider your male source.
You might already be married, but that doesn’t mean Junior needs to be hamstrung by Daddy’s double-digit IQ. Consider getting your man-matter from someone sporting a more impressive cranium. Don’t worry – your husband will never know.
Michael Kearney, for example, graduated from college at the age of 10. He’s 26 now, still unmarried (we can guess why), and probably wouldn’t mind a little no-strings affection. We grant that he’s not exactly a looker, but this is genius we’re talking about!
Don’t attach love to performance – attach it to triumph!
Columbia University psychiatrist Peter Freed says it’s a parenting mistake to attach “high achievement to love – the parent beams when the child performs well, and then withdraws love when he’s underperforming.” We agree. How impressive is “high” achievement? That’s what, top 10th percentile? Not good enough! “Little girl, you want your bottle of milk, I want to hear some multiplication tables!” Don’t give up the love too easily; let your kids know from the start that you mean business, and anything less than the best won’t do.
If you need help, try this Skinner box.
If nature didn’t give it to you, maybe science can. Drink shakes!
Some kids eat Coco-Puffs for breakfast – where’s the advantage in that? Your future Newton needs real brain food to start the day. Try this shake to get the ganglia going:
- 1 oily fish (mackerel, salmon, etc.), deboned
- 3 DHA eggs
- 4 tablespoons flax seed
- 20 ginkgo biloba leaves (preferably hand-picked)
- 1 avocado
- 6 Brussels sprouts
- 10 blueberries
- 2 oz. dark chocolate
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
Home-school, sure, but bring in the pros.
Considering the disastrous state of the academic job market, there’s no cheaper labor pool right now than Ph.Ds. Newly minted professor wannabes are standing on street corners outside the MLA conference with signs saying, WILL TEACH SHAKESPEARE FOR FOOD. Now’s your chance to capitalize! Find out the minimum wage for your state, bump it up 25 cents for symbolic purposes, and bring in a battery of academics to teach your budding biochemist.
Give up on the liberal arts, just go Google.
Another approach to stay-at-home education – and one a lot more in line with the times – would be to get your newborn an iPhone and start teaching her one-finger typing and Google SEO. Actually possessing knowledge is already obsolete; you just need to make sure your kid can get the answer before anyone else’s can. Start now!
If all else fails, the surefire way to get in to Harvard :
Maybe you didn’t follow all the tips above or maybe you’re reading this a little late in the game – don’t worry, there’s still a pretty guaranteed way to get into the Ivy of your choice. When filling out the application, make up a mailing address from somewhere out of the way like Iceland, Alaska, Cameroon, or East Timor, buy the stamps online, and mail the thing in with the ethnicity box “accidentally” unchecked. They’ll be dying to have you to fill out their diversity agenda! All you have to do then is submit a change-of-address form to the Post Office, rerouting your acceptance letter from the fake address to your real one. And, okay, if they find out you’re from Groton, Connecticut and not southern Indonesia, don’t sweat it. You think they want the law suit if they rescind your admission for being American?
Most important of all: check the calendar.
Yes, you knew it already, but it’s April Fool’s. Ignore everything on this list and instead read David Shenk on 4 real ways to guide your kid to genius. Good luck!
This article was written by Jack Murnighan for Babble.com, the magazine and community for a new generation of parents.