Before receiving a quality education

Oh podcasts, little packets of brain food that make my morning routine an enlightening tooth brushing.

On a Sunday afternoon, I was listening to Freakonomics Radio, more specifically Stephen Dubner’s conversation with Facebook CEO and founder, Mark Zuckerberg who is now known as the bad guy currently embroiled in a data privacy conundrum (see Cambridge Analytica).

It was refreshing to hear the man who almost singlehandedly built the world’s largest social platform speak so candidly about the company’s impact on the citizens of the world and how it was determined to be better. He was determined to be better.

But what struck me the most during the conversation between the two men in an AC-less trailer wasn’t Facebook’s mission to build meaningful communities or Zuckerberg’s childhood stories, it was a particular discussion about education:

When we think about education, we often think about concepts like math or reading. But very early on, when you’re learning how to walk, health is completely intertwined with education, and then of course as you as you go up through your education — it’s hard to learn math if you can’t sleep at home, or there are different issues.”

He was replying to Dubner’s question about the use of technology to improve early education. Zuckerberg highlights that it is his wife, Priscilla Chan, an equally if not more impressive individual, who is focused heavily on this topic.

“She’s a doctor and she wanted to help kids. And then through her pediatrics program realized that education and health are so intertwined, and that you need to start educating the parents, from the time that they’re pregnant, about what the right behaviors are, and then you basically want the kids in the school or in a program, or are at least to have good habits being built from birth, and have them involved in that as quickly as possible.”

His comments struck a chord with me as a firm believer in the importance of education – something I have always been an advocate for in my professional career and my foray into provoking social change.

This line of reasoning also brought me back to a TED talk I watched earlier that week about the effects of fitness on the brain. Neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki shared her research on the impacts of exercise on the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex – two regions of the brain that control memory and attention.

What does this all mean for us?

For organizations that focus on promoting and providing education, be aware of potential factors that can contribute to the success of the program. Hunger, lack of clean water, a safe place to rest, etc. are problems that need to be dealt with before education comes into the picture.

Vitamins need to be absorbed before literature can.

Be conscious, take care of the body that incapsulates the brain. This goes for anyone from 1 to 100 and the generations to follow.


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