Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The New Science on 'Orchid Children': Considering the Implications

From the December issue of the Atlantic Monthly comes an important article that reconsiders the potential of "vulnerable" children to contribute to society. "Most of us have genes that make us as hardy as dandelions: able to take root and survive almost anywhere," the intro reads. "A few of us however, are more like the orchid: fragile and fickle, but capable of blooming spectacularly if given greenhouse care. So holds a provocative new theory of genetics, which asserts that the very genes that give us the most trouble as a species, causing behaviors that are self-destructive and anti-social, also underlie humankind's phenomenal adaptability and evolutionary success. With a bad environment and poor parenting, orchid children can end up depressed, drug-addicted, or in jail. But with the right environment and good parenting, they can grow up to be society's most creative, successful, and happy people." It's the ultimate "strengths-based" approach. The good news: there's a new body of science to back it up.

Link: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200912/dobbs-orchid-gene

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