Laura Jana: 5 Connections That Will Change Children’s Lives (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of educator and health communicator Dr. Laura Jana’s TEDx Talk on 5 Connections That Will Change Children’s Lives at TEDxOmaha conference. To learn more about the speaker, read the full bio of the speaker here.


Book(s) by the speaker:

The Toddler Brain: Nurture the Skills Today that Will Shape Your Child’s Tomorrow

Food Fights: Winning the Nutritional Challenges of Parenthood Armed With Insight, Humor, and a Bottle of Ketchup


MP3 Audio:


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Dr. Laura Jana – Educator and health communicator

What if despite the back of our intentions, despite all of our business savvy, data-driven technology informed know-how and all that the information age has put at our fingertips, we are nevertheless raising our children to succeed in a world that simply no longer exists.

So this is the question that has led me to conclude that we’ve got some fundamentally important connections to make. But first, let me explain what it was that after 20 years in pediatrics and parenting led me to connect the dots.

It was a couple years ago. I was attending a national conference and I had the chance to chat with a very highly accomplished fellow attendee who graciously offered me a signed copy of his book and casually added, “I’d love to know what you think of it.” So I took him seriously and I read his book and I shared my thoughts, that it read like an insightful parenting book and that it particularly resonated with my own approach to the complicated task of raising productive children in the 21st century.

Now I realize that would be somewhat boring if it weren’t for the part of the story that I left out — that the book’s author was Silicon Valley visionary and LinkedIn co-founder Reed Hoffman. In his book The Start-Up of You, it’s pretty safe to assume has never and will never end up in the parenting section of any bookstore. But the connection between his convictions and mine were striking, so much so that it’s left me with this idea that perhaps what we need is more of a start-up of your baby approach, because while we and many others in the worlds of business, leadership, and innovation are actively identifying the 21st century toolkit of skills that we need to succeed, those of us in the business of raising children to be ready for life adults are the ones responsible for assembling this very same toolkit. We just work further upstream, and in some cases much further, as soon as young as ages 0 to 5 .

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Now for those of you unaccustomed to thinking of ready for life 18 year-olds as the most important product our economy produces, or for that matter, those responsible for raising them as part of a defined sector of the economy, the youth human capital sector in the United States, all told, has now been estimated to be as large as 10.5% of GDP. That would make it 25% larger than the financial sector.

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