Common sense is sadly not so common amongst humans and comes in spite of, and not the result of, education.
These weighty words of wisdom are not mine, rather, the more erudite philosophy of Voltaire and Victor Hugo.
And more recently espoused by Beth Blackwood, the new chief executive of the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia.
“There is a great deal of research now that states that children need challenges and obstacles in their path to learn, to be resilient, to learn to be problem solvers or to learn they can manage their own world and make decisions for themselves,” she said.
“The more common sense approach is to allow children to fail and to learn from those failures.”
It's a fine line for parents and carers who instinctively protect and cushion children from life's difficulties. So I've always found that somewhere between a stiff upper lip and a gentle warm heart approach is best. Like a spectrum of sorts. Sometimes a child needs a firm but fair hand. Sometimes lots of love and hugs. And sometimes a “you'll be right” in that moment they've fallen over and not sure if crying or getting back up and playing is what they want to do.
Situations require all manner of approaches and not just constant smothering.
You may think me completely balmy because I believe that falling down is good. As is making mistakes, failing and not reaching set goals. Mistakes are merely learning experiences and it is our job to help correct the behaviour to instil positive future outcomes. We aren't perfect all the time so why should we expect our children to be.
Ms Blackwood, added she had seen a “marked increase” in the number of students managing depression and anxiety since she first started teaching 35 years ago.
She had also noted an increase in the proportion of parents who were over-protective and anxious for their children to succeed. “Sometimes parents are living their lives through their child, placing their expectations on their child,” she said. Childhood is a precious time and a short time and there is plenty of years in adult life to be more responsible. Guide and love, play and learn. There is no set formula but these fundamentals don't change.
Could it be that children are notoriously fussy eaters due to an evolutionary instinct warning them to avoid unfamiliar foods in case they are dangerous?
Depending on which expert you listen to, it is not your fault you don't like Brussels sprouts, boiled cabbage or chocolate.
Before you reached adulthood, it's likely that you had at least one food which made you squirm. You may have even felt queasy at the sight of it.
However, Dr Lucy Cooke of University College London will tell you a whopping 78% of children inherit a fear of eating unknown foods from their parents.
It's called neophobia.
I read this and had a momentary sense of relief I was not responsible for my distaste of mini round smelly green veg. Laying blame on my parents is so much easier and far less stressful.
One must then conclude that I am merely a descendent of Brussels sprouts hating generations since the dawning of time. Again, I was SO relieved.
That is, until I realised my parents and three of my four siblings hang out for winter and Brussels sprouts season.
Back to google and the learned Yale psychologist, Linda Bartoshuk, who has discovered that some humans are "supertasters".
Aha. We "supertasters" have more taste buds than other mere mortals meaning we taste flavours more intensely. I have won the genetic lottery of an elite race of beings whose claim to fame is in our mouths.
If only my genetic composition gave me the power to cure cancer, solve world peace and work out how to feed fussy eating children.
Like a good recipe, it sometimes takes many ingredients to raise a child well. Patience, experimentation, perseverance, common sense and healthy dose of humour. Nothing too exotic but everything straightforward and loving.
And when Brussels sprouts don't rock your child's boat, try something else green (or red, purple or any other colour for that matter) from mother nature's basket of goodies.
I have always thought the Jesuit religious motto "give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man" far too simplistic. For one thing, this ethos doesn't take into account hormones and puberty. For another, every man should get the opportunity to enjoy some silliness and harmless childish fun now and then.
Life presents so many variables to shape us along with the lifetime journey of learning. Mark Twain was a late bloomer penning Tom Sawyer at the age of 41. Mozart wrote his first symphony at eight.
As a woman of a certain age I intend to one day win Gold in an Olympic event...even if it's not the REAL Olympics. Maybe something like Nicest Nanny, or Happiest Ice-cream eater.
Accomplishment is sweet no matter if it is achieved early or late. The key is attitude.
So I was intrigued to read about a boys school who have introduced a program called, "Boys to Gentlemen" and they have also engaged an image consultant to workshop etiquette, image, grooming and confidence, for the students.
Blackfriars Priory School in South Australia are teaching their boys that good manners and grooming will go a long way in all aspects of their lives.
"Research shows that a person forms an opinion about you within seven to 17 seconds based on your appearance, your body language, your demeanour, your mannerisms and how you are dressed, says image consultant, Paul Giles.
"We all know you need the mind, heart and soul but sometimes you won't get an opportunity if you don't create the right first impression".
I'd like to think his intention is not just to match a good tie to a smart suit, but to address life skills, possibly, further introduce critical thinking skills, collaborating, and social awareness.
A genuine smile, a little charm and self confidence help others feel at ease with an assumption the young man before them is true. It's a behaviour politicians are schooled in, along with salesmen and TV presenters.
No matter what, where, when, how and why, a little extra guidance in the pleases and thank yous is never a waste of time and always good practice.
Meanwhile, I'll be busy practising my ice-cream eating happiest smile.
And the winner is .... (drum roll)... The Netherlands.
According to UNICEF, the 3.5 million Dutch children under the age of 18, won the the lottery of life to be born in a country where they are ranked the "happiest children in the world".
This happiness measure considers five criteria, including:-
• material wellbeing
• healthy and safety
• educational wellbeing
• behaviour and risks, and
• housing and environment.
I would suggest the sixth and most important yardstick is that their parents (so says the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, aka, SDSN) are the happiest humans on earth.
If you believe the statistics, and that adults are happier because they have someone to count on, have a perceived freedom to make life choices, and are more generous than the rest of humanity (along with a few other vital points), of course their children should be blissfully frollicking amongst the tulips.
So is it too far a stretch to accept that happy parents produce happy offspring?
Are Dutch mummies happiest because they enjoy the ideal work life balance of all OECD countries? Maybe it's the Dutch happy daddies who play a more equal role in child-rearing by having part-time jobs and being more hands on? Or could it be the regular weekly Oma (grandmother) day where grandparents help out and are more involved in comprehensive childcare and development?
The Dutch education system appears to be less competitive and there is no homework whatsoever for children under the age of 12, who are encouraged to enjoy stress free leanring in a relaxed environment.
I can hear the Tiger Mummies and Daddies protest about the necessary incentive and focus lacking in this concept, and yet Forbes rate The Netherlands as the 11th best country in the world for business and it ranks 12th in total number of milionaires.
Impressive for a small country I say.
I could ramble on quoting studies and numbers and experts who explain the many factors that contribute to happiness. However, from what I know and see, children feel most loved and secure enjoying family time with parents who play games, read, or take a walk with them.
Sharing your time shows your children you care.
Smart people sometimes say silly things which make you ponder. Like Albert Schweitzer who won the Nobe Peace prize in 1953 and stated, "The only escape from the miseries of life are music and cats..."
Life is not always miserable and for all I kmow, cats may make some lives more, or less miserable, but other smart people, who study the effects of music, time and again, conclude it's great benefits.
Musical trianing doesn't just affect your musical ability, it provides tremendous benefits to children's emotional and behavioural maturation.
James Hudziak and his research team at the Univeryity of Vermont College of Medicine, "...found that the more a child trained on an instrument, the more it accelerated cortical organization in attention skill, anxiety management and emotional control."
Music develops phsycial skills, enhancing co-ordination and timing; cultivates social skills by problem solving; boosts self esteem when students learn to give and receive feedback; introduces children to other cultures; and, as music and maths are intertwined, it helps with academic pursuits.
In short, musical training actually helps kids become more well-rounded.
It's always a good idea to discuss with your child what instrument they like before you sign them up for lessons. If nothing else, it may make the routine of practise more palatable.
And as they set off on their musical adventure, perfecting the sound of a screeching feline, you can feel assured that the pain in your ear drums is all for the greater good. Even if it's mostly theirs.
Listening to music can also provide a great aid to both calming behaviour and physical wellbing. Athough you'll need to monitor what type of music and how often they listen, it may help to increase a chld's productivity.
A couple of tips; start early as childrens' brains absorb sounds before they're able to make sense of them. And vary what you offer. Music stimulates, it distracts from pain, soothes a soul, aids in concentration, and it's simply wonderful when you find a song or a melody that speaks to you.
Whether like me, you consider music a language to connect us all, the world of music is infinite, like the possibilites which lay before each child. It can only help no matter if it's Mozart or Madonna, as they both have their place and their delight.