Talent: How do you cultivate it in your kids?

Borders is shutting down. Does not make me feel very good. I used to subscribe to their newsletters and they sent me hundreds of dollars of savings in coupons. Yeah, I know, despite all the rants and raves about Kindle this and Nook that, I’ve stuck with my good ol’ tree consuming paper books. Not that I’m technophobe or anything, I just love the feeling

and texture of paper. Ever been to a used books store and just hung out for hours on end because you love the smell of old books? Yeah, that’s me.

Anyway, I was at Borders the other day spending the last few dollars of my Borders gift card and this book caught my eye. “The Talent Code. Greatness isn’t born. It’s grown. Here’s how.” by Daniel Coyle. I’m devouring the book. What is the secret of talent? How do we unlock it? According to Coyle, there are three elements (Deep Practice, Ignition, and Master Coaching) that work together within our brain to form a substance called Myelin (neuroscientist parents, please comment and enlighten us further). This substance basically wraps around our nerve fibers and prevents the electrical signals/skill circuits from escaping. The thicker the Myelin, the better it keeps the signals intact. This is an extremely generalized explanation of what Myelin is, but bare with me. Myelin also adds a good deal of speed and accuracy to our movements (violin practice, baseball swings, ballet splits) and thoughts. Scientists are now thinking that this substance might be the foundation of our greatness. That was the good news, now the better news is that we are not stuck with the amount of Myelin that we were born with. It can be grown, cultivated, and nourished. And here’s the cherry. Making mistakes is critical to proper Myelin growth. Next time your child is frustrated at not getting that swing right, remind her the value of making mistakes-it’s required to succeed and our brain says so!

The book has examples of regular little dudes and dudettes and grown ups achieving greatness. It’s very inspiring and seems to have methods of how we too can help ourselves or our kids strengthen their talents.

So, if you’re looking for a book to read this last few weeks of summer, give this one a shot-go hang out at a bookstore for a few hours with your kids today. And, let me know your recommendations for books in the comments below.

Happy memories!