What Does It Take To Produce An Exceptional Child?

A wag might remark that it’s not all that difficult – just take a gander at the competition.  A statistician argue that parents as a whole can’t control for the result.  A public school educator  demand parents not try because “ability status” is pernicious.  A psychologist insist that parents are “projecting”, that is burdening their children with their own unresolved issues.  A social worker that a home study is needed first.

But if you’re a mother or father, even a prospective mother or father and excited about your new role, you’re not listening.  Instead your mind’s eye already sees your child as more caring, brighter, informed, talented in some dimension like music, harder working, focused, reverent, loyal, honest, happy in their own skin than other children.

Although maybe you’re not all that sure you know how to make that happen?

Yet the how turns out to be very simple.  You design an exceptional child the same way you design an unexceptional child, by shaping their spirit in a manner calculated to produce that outcome.  Because in the end it’s all about a child’s spirit isn’t it?  All about get-up-and-go, a child’s vision of what’s exciting, interesting and important, where they want to be some day and what they believe can be achieved?   How hard they’re motivated to work on relationships, their studies or improving themselves.

And how is a child’s spirit shaped?

Well the evidence seems to be that it’s produced by the inevitable hard knocks and hopefully a lot of Christmas mornings, with the affection they hold for parents, siblings, their grandparents.  With some fears – often irrational.  Later on sexual stirrings.  But by and large what shapes a child’s spirit from the earliest days are the morals they absorb from the stories they’re offered.  Indeed it’s little understood in today’s world but as a parent it’s your job to feed their spirit with good stories as much as it is to feed their body with good food.

Sounds a bit silly though?  Who has the time to fill a child’s head with stories?  When they’re little you read to them at bedtime and it’s a pleasurable interlude for both parent and child but a bit older shouldn’t a child be gradually introduced to real life lessons instead?.  Real people and real situations?

But the point is that in these modern times shaped by concerns about medical sounding childhood disorders”, studies apparently showing how important it is to do this or that, phony arguments about how complex society is getting, we’ve lost sight of the fact that by and large it’s only stories which teach humans how to deal with real people and real situations in any meaningful way.  Indeed stories are practice for life, for the game of life and that may be their only purpose.  Like football is first sketched out on a blackboard and then rehearsed on the field so that players can see their own position to relative to others and know what to do stories step the child through various life situations in advance.  Then sends them away with a plan for action we call the moral of the story.

And because they’ve had that had that practice, indeed in a very real fashion lived the role of the protagonist in the story, children remember the moral.

Much better than anybody can remember a list of rules on a refrigerator door or what was said in one of the interminable lectures all too many parents inflict on their children.

Think back to your own childhood – for the average adult there are dozens maybe a few hundred incidents, little stories, you remember the moral of with great clarity, that is the lesson you learned from them, but at the same time have to struggle to remember names of the people involved or how old you were sometimes even where you were at the time.

Even if you were subject to eight years of rigorous religious education, as I was, you can stumble trying to recite the ten commandments.  Granted it’s been a lot of years but the U.S, Marine Corps ten general orders, which I was  positive had been permanently impressed on my brain by my drill instructor’s size twelve boondocker,  I can’t remember even one of.  But I remember the story of the Sermon-On-The-Mount and of God the father’s love for us and how the life he gave us was meant to be good and I remember a dozen stories acted out by myself and other Marines which illustrate what those general orders mean in practice.  And that’s the way it is with all of us, lists and rules fade in the mist of years but the morals of stories, the lessons we learned from our stories are with us forever.  And forever nudge us in one direction or another, reminding us of what’s right and what’s wrong, what’s good and what’s evil or simply – what’s smart and what’s stupid.

Stories are the one common denominator among people.  Everybody likes stories, good ones with an arc and moral that is, and that affection, even we could say our yearning for a good one, seems to be genetically hard-wired.  Especially when we’re younger and trying to figure the world out.

Stories as simple and illuminating as what someone did when their car broke down far from home at night or as complex and inspiring  as a people’s or a nation’s struggle for freedom.  Great stories don’t even have to be true do, they?  Think Shakespeare or Aesop’s Fables, Robinson Caruso, Treasure Island and a thousand others.

Very important as well, perhaps more important the younger the child, are narratives which unfold in real time as the child watches.  The moral your striving offers or the moral ome current event in your family offers.  Because a story doesn’t have to be read to a child out of a book, it can be acted out in mime over a lifetime or an afternoon and most often is, told in a play, a poem, a child’s own independent reading, a movie or a ten second joke as long as, and this is vital, it makes that point.  Offers that moral, that teaching or practical lesson about life.

It’s why when we accuse someone of im-moral-ity we don’t mean he or she is breaking some law, although it might be the same thing, but instead means they’re not obeying to morals of the stories they listened to as a child.  Which we assume, everybody listens to as a child.

And so stories are the basis of all conduct.  Indeed every time anybody says something is right or wrong, they can only say that because there is a story and its moral supporting that point of view.

But it’s a tragic fact of modern life that most of us have forgotten just where and how the morals are child will carry forward into life originate.

The good news for parents is that most of us are wonderful storytellers in the sense that we are usually acting out a good story in our own individual lives and so passing on one good moral after another to our children.  And so you’re more than half way on your way not only to a much more joyful and gratifying relationship with your children but with the additional of some other tales for your offspring to chew on, shape some really exceptional human beings.

The bad news is that parents are not the only ones feeding children stories and for many years now America has been grievously damaging its children with the specious morals embedded in in an endless and inventive series of stories masquerading as science.   Stories with the intent of radically circumscribing the authority of parents while facilitating greater control of them by educators, psychologists and social workers – and their common agenda.

A program which at the end of the day doesn’t allow for exceptional children, higher standards of scholarship or for that matter the exuberant embrace of one’s life and loves which is the hallmark of the exceptional child.

Luckily the stories being foisted on our young in public, in college, in the media and by certain talking professions are not good stories because they don’t excite the human spirit or much interest.  They’re boring, boring, boring.  Just ask public school children about their textbooks, or about their teachers.

Yet for all of that these stories are still accomplishing their dreary mission.  In great part because the system they operate in has excluded any others and because whenever one of these stories turns out to be the amoral fairytale it is, as they all invariably do, society rarely backs up and repairs the damage.  In part because the practical result takes a while to fall to earth and poison the drinking water and busy parents, medical doctors or clergy usually have their attention engaged by the next weird story coming along but also because the storytellers producing these tales have so insulated themselves in certain institutions protected by law that it’s almost impossible to shut them up.  Plus there’s the fact that the ideas these stories promote are always sold as reflecting a more caring or “progressive”,  more fashionable or modern point of view.  And a lot us are cowed by that.

And so parents in quest of a better outcome for their child have a choice.  Do nothing and hope that the twice a week violin lessons you send them to after school and the one hour of Sunday school make the difference, or scrape these people and their noxious stories off your shoe once and for all.  Put your child 24-7 in way of much better, joyful more productive stories with better morals.

Happily if you do that, if you find a better school or home school, you’ll find there are any number of healthy American stories which like grizzly bears dozing out of sight in the grass are ready to wake up and come in on your side.  On your child’s side.  Stories which bite, of adventure and  laughter and goodness, bravery, loyalty, competence, erudition and success. American stories, stories of the western enlightenment and the centuries long development of the concepts of unalienable rights, freedom, of  people being the most you can be.  Stories with morals you’ll be anxious to arm your child with.

And see each of them on their way to becoming an exceptional human being.

And if you’ll allow me, I’ll do my best to help you find them.

Just read my blog.  That’s the whole point of the thing.

E-mail me at miniterhome@aol.com with any suggestions.

God Bless.

Richard F. Miniter


An AP piece today describes the negative reaction by some Japanese to the release of Mrs. Pitt’s movie Unbroken depicting the horrible treatment visited upon allied prisoners of war by the Japanese army during World War II.  I quote two paragraphs below.

But the release of “Unbroken” comes at a time when some in Japan are downplaying the Using Live Prisoners for Bayonet Practicecountry’s colonization of its Asian neighbors and the aggressive act[s] carried out by the Imperial Army during World War II.

For example, some politicians dispute the role of Japanese soldiers in the Rape of Nanjing, (seen in the photo to the left bayoneting Chinese who had their hands tied behind their back for sport) which began in 1937,[and]  in which 300,000 Chinese were killed. They say that is a vast overcount.

This argument about an overcount is an old one so desirous of putting the issue to bed once and for all for the readers of this blog I consulted several experts and the consensus seems to be that 300,000 murders by Japanese soldiers in Nanking is in fact an overcount.  That the real number is 299, 998.

When We Should Fight


smedleyThe most highly decorated Marine in his time Major General Smedley Butler had this to say about Americans going to war:

I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested


 There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights




The Overlooked Semi-Colon

In a previous quote from Drew Belsky I overlooked the fact that a sentence of his illustrated the correct use of a semi-colon as a punctuation mark almost as strong as a period – something all too often not seen in modern writing.

Here it is again:

“our liberal counterparts are agitating twenty-four hours a day for the destruction of  use of the semi-what we love.  They can afford to; too often, the government pays them to do it.”

Those of you who care about such things will recall that George Orwell inveighed against any use of the semi-colon although more in sadness than stridency.

The Death Of Eric Garner

Sometimes the obvious has to stare us in the face a long time before we get it.

And the obvious we should draw from the death of Eric Garner, is not that it was racist which it wasn’t – not with an African-American Police Sergeant in charge of the scene – but that you can’t fight with morbidly obese people the way you do with healthy people.

Just putting them face down on the ground will shove their belly up into their diaphragm and kill them, indeed people like that have to sleep on their side for the same reason. And you can’t taze them because it is much more likely to stop their heart.

What to do with really fat perpetrators?  I dunno.   I would guess put the same number of officers on the job but focus on wrestling his wrists into the cuffs upright.  And not ever  kneel on their backs.

Demonstrating Democrat Voters In Ferguson

FergusonIt’s been said that every day the demonstration, lootings and store burnings by Democrat  Voters continue in Ferguson means another 100,000 votes to Republican nationwide as Independents continue to be repulsed by the images.  This is probably true.  I know I am and so are a lot of people I know.

Is Deflation Bad?


We hear a lot from economists about we shouldn’t pay off the national debt because the result would be deflation and deflation is bad for the economy.

Yet inflation and deflation are simply the increase or decrease in the money supply relative to amount of goods and services.  So in that sense prices never change only the relative value of money.  With that definition, the true definition in mind, a three year old can reason out the consequences of either.
It should also be pointed out that the greatest period of sustained economic growth in history, in the U.S. between 1865 and 1910 was generally deflationary period as the U.S. Government retired the Civil War debt.  Thereby decreasing the money supply and raising its value relative to goods and services.

Quote Of The Day December 1, 2014

Taken From American Thinker piece Two Americas by Greg Richards  To read the full article (and you should)  click here.

“But there is a big problem with comprehensive welfare: it destroys the role of men in the community and this was disproportionately true of the black community. There is nothing worse than taking away a person’s mission in life, making that person unnecessary and thus unwanted. That is evil. And today we see the results of that evil.

Single mothers can cope, but the family as a force in the community cannot flourish without men as a responsible presence. Without men, there is nobody to show boys how to behave, have someone to look up to and emulate, to set them straight when they go off the path, to show them how to be men. This has been true of every civilization in history.

But over the last 50 years, the Democratic Party wiped out the black family…”
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