The love of learning and barriers to equality


As a parent I feel like there are only a few key things I need to teach my daughter.

  1.  A love of learning,
  2. Empathy for others, and
  3. Perseverance in the face of adversity

With these 3 things under her belt she will easily acquire the knowledge she needs, be a good person with a sense of integrity and will apply her knowledge to life despite the inevitable set backs. What more could anyone do as a parent to set their children up for success?

In this spirit my wife and I took Amara (4) to the Chabot Space and Science center last weekend. She loved it, just like she loved the Lawrence Hall of Science 2 weeks before. She can’t wait to go back and while it may not be as exciting as Disneyland, these trips are a close 2nd for her. When I ask her if she wants to do a science experiment at home, she always drops the iPad (an unfortunate addiction) and joins me on whatever project I’ve got set up for us. In short, Amara loves science and learning and I am going to do everything I can to make sure that never changes.

Now that I’m done bragging about my daughter, the reason for this post:

Each time I visit one of these science theme parks its costs our family at least $50 and it dawned on me last weekend that this cost was yet another socio-economic barrier to advancement. For us the $50 isn’t a consideration but for the working single mom in Oakland who is struggling to put food on the table how can she hope to give her kids the same experience? There are other and cheaper ways to instill a love of learning in your children but they may not be as effective or as easy. Our relative privilege confers on my daughter an almost impossible to quantify but no doubt significant advantage in life that she will take with her no matter where she goes to school or how the markets are doing. She will fundamentally be a more effective human being because of the privileges we can provide.

It makes me a little sad that we can’t make these public facilities free or at least free for the socio-economically disadvantaged. I often think about what kind of charitable work I would do if I were retired and in a position to fund a foundation. One thing I would like to do is to make sure that facilities like these are available to all. Every child should be able to grow up inspired to learn.

Its on my bucket list now. If this is something that interests you, let me know. Lets chat and see what we can do about it.