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EDUCATION TAKES VARIOUS SHAPES AND FORMS

When the idea of discussing education came up for this January edition, a delightful sensation fluttered in my stomach. I can't help it – I just love delving into the subject of education. I'm a firm believer that certain intellectual foundations such as languages, music, a passion for books, and the eagerness to learn, should be instilled at a young age. Kids, being like sponges, effortlessly absorb any information presented to them. No, I'm not envious; I'm just amazed at how much they can absorb. The more we expose them to, the richer their reservoir of knowledge becomes, paving the way for a well-rounded life.


Education and knowledge manifest in diverse ways – one can be street smart, book smart, or ideally, a bit of both. Etiquette, self-discipline, and the ability to take care of oneself also form a substantial part of education. And what about the value of travel or the experience of stepping into the workplace of a family member or friend?


I always encourage children to engage in conversations with their grandparents or any adult in the family, delving into their backgrounds and learning about their journeys. In America, a melting pot of cultures, many of us have ancestors who immigrated from different countries. The most captivating stories often emerge from those we know – the best form of education lies in understanding how others live and the hurdles they've overcome.


Personally, I consider my daughter, Izabella, fortunate to have a trove of stories to share. Her grandmother, a literature and Russian language professor turned writer, immigrated to the U.S. at 38, learning English and rebuilding her life from scratch. Izabella's step-grandfather, born and raised in England, was a self-taught polyglot with fluency in French and Spanish, sharing emotive and enlightening tales from his travels. Then there's Izabella's father, recounting stories of his dad, a pioneering engineer who worked on autopilot systems for aircraft in Russia. She's not alone in this richness of background – there are countless others. The stories she absorbs make her a more enriched individual. The paramount education I wish to impart to my 12-year-old is to approach life with an open mind, embracing the diversity of experiences, people, and all sources of knowledge. Knowledge is power; the more one knows, the better equipped they are for life's journey.


Yet, let's not disregard formal education. I strongly advocate for being street-smart too. In this era, a child can't solely be a bookworm dwelling in a fantasy world. Vigilance, situational awareness, and the ability to make informed decisions are vital skills. As a parent, it's my duty to provide this practical education to my child.


In my culinary school specializing in international cuisine, parents often inquire how to teach a three-year-old to prepare a dish from scratch, introduce a language, and expose them to diverse cultures and etiquettes. The answer is consistent: age three is an ideal starting point for education. Why not involve a child in the kitchen, introduce a few words in different languages, and teach them about art and impeccable table manners?

 

As Albert Einstein wisely said, "Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school." So, let's cozy up with our loved ones, listen, and keep learning.

La Dolce Vita!






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