Welcome to the world of The Renaissance Children and to its inhabitants who are bringing about The Gentle Revolution.
If you are newly come to this extraordinary land of babies and tiny kids and are entering it for the first time through this book, then let me be the first to welcome you and to introduce you to the inhabitants who are my favorite people in all the world. The odds are very high that you’ll like them very much and that they’ll like you as well.
There are a few people who don’t like this new land but they are very few, mostly professionals who feel threatened by a world full of little kids who are highly capable, highly competent, and, worst of all, very endearing.
But there are even some people who don’t like rainbows.
It’s a vastly exciting world. It’s a thrilling, new, and wondrous world. As is the case in all worlds that are new, thrilling, exciting, and wondrous, you will encounter delightful, charming, and beguiling people, facts, and events.
It’s a good deal like going to Rio de Janeiro for the first time, or Mombasa or to the Kalahari
Desert or to the Xingu or to Tokyo or to the Arctic. Only a great deal more so. For this new world is more than a single place or a city or even a nation.
It’s a new world, like Space, except that this world, the world of the Renaissance Children, is much more a location in time than it is in geography. Like Space, it has always been there, available to whoever was bold enough, or wise enough, or accidental enough to enter it.
We entered it by accident, or at least almost by accident. We had already spent twenty years in another wonderful world in which we were searching for and finding ways to make brain-injured children able to walk and talk and to be intelligent when, almost by chance, we discovered this new world. I shall say in our defense that when we did discover it we knew instantly where we were.
So—welcome to the world of the Renaissance Children.
If you are already a resident in this land, which is to say if you have already taught your baby encyclopedic knowledge or to read or to do math or other wondrous things, then you already know about the beguiling and soul stirring place it is and in this book you will travel to places within which you may not have been before.
If you and your family already inhabit this good land, then let me introduce the new mother to you and to the other neighbors.
As is the case in all new worlds, you learn most about a new land by getting to know the natives.
May I introduce to you the people in my world? There are four groups of them and they are my favorite people.
I would be hard put to rank those groups as to my most favorite group, and in many cases they overlap, so I’ll list them in the order in which I first met each of the groups.
First, there are the astonishing brain-injured children and their indomitable parents. I have lived intimately with something more than twelve thousand such families.
Second, there are the staff members of The Institutes, numbering about one hundred, most of them living but a few of whom have not lived to see the present glorious results, much of which are a result of their own brilliance. Chief among those who are gone but who will live forever in the generations of children whose futures they did so much to improve, were those genius physicians—Temple Fay, Raymundo Veras, and Evan Thomas.
The first members of the staff met in 1941, with the sole exception of my wife, Katie, who I met in 1931, when she was eight years old and I was twelve.
Third, there are the beguiling Renaissance Children and their splendid parents. It is impossible to know how many of them there are altogether. There are about forty children and their parents who are a daily part of my life. These are the kids who are on the On-Campus Program of The Evan Thomas Institute. They range in age from newborns to fourteen-year-olds. These children are clearly truly Renaissance Children. They are kids for all seasons. They not only stagger my mind with their many splendored excellence but they charm me endlessly and give me hope for this too often dreadful world.
There are also thousands of children whose parents have taken the seven-day How To Multiply Your Baby’s Intelligence Course given at The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential in Philadelphia. The great majority of these children I have never met since the parents, who come from six continents, do not bring their children when they attend that course. They range in age from children who are not yet born (whose mothers were pregnant when they attended that course a few months ago) to young adults who were children when their mothers or fathers attended that course years ago. Their parents were taught how to give their tiny kids encyclopedic knowledge, how to teach them to read, do math, learn foreign languages, play the violin, swim, do Olympic gymnastic routines, and a host of other lovely things. Those parents were told to teach their babies exactly as many of those things as they found joyous and were comfortable doing. Some of those parents found themselves being comfortable while teaching their kids to do one of those things for ten minutes a day. Others found themselves being not only comfortable but also enthralled with teaching their kids to do all of those things all day every day. As a consequence those children range from being above average to children who are also truly Renaissance Children. Some of these children I have met purposely or by chance. Many of them join The Institutes Off-Campus Program, which allows their families to stay in constant communication with us.
The last of these children range in number from a minimum of fifty thousand to perhaps a half million. These are among the many children whose parents read How To Teach Your Baby To Read or How To Teach Your Baby Math. I have actually had letters from more than fifty thousand mothers, thousands of whom reported the results in glowing terms. I have actually met only a few hundred of those children. Some of them are now adults, and clearly they are first-rate citizens with remarkable accomplishments and a keen-witted sense of humor, in addition to being extremely pleasant people. I met the first of this group as tiny children.
Last, there have been and are the true geniuses I have been privileged to know. They are to a man and to a woman a joy to behold, to talk to, and to know. The majority of them I have come to know more recently, although I met and talked with Albert Einstein when I was seventeen years old but most certainly did not know him except, of course, through his work. Still I was, and remain, thrilled to have talked to him. He couldn’t have been kinder to an eager but awed high-school boy. It was a proper introduction to genius.
Among the geniuses, who constitute the last group of my favorite people, are several Nobel Prize winners. Each of them, I’ve found, is able to explain to me what he’s up to in fifteen minutes so that I can understand it, which tells us more about them than it does about me. It’s the people below the genius level whose explanations baffle me. It’s when you get down to the professorial level that I find myself almost totally befuddled. Most of my genius friends haven’t got a Nobel Prize but should have. Some of them will have some day.
Perhaps altogether, I’ve got seventy true geniuses who are among my favorite people. Some of them are staff members or board members or parents. Several of them are kids. All of them are very different but all of them have a great deal in common. All of them have a keen sense of humor. All of them are extremely energetic, all of them are very sane, all of them are immensely secure. Perhaps most important of all is a fact that puzzles many people—all of them are simultaneously passionate about the things they believe and are very gentle people.
Most people believe that strongly held beliefs and gentleness are opposite characteristics. I have come to believe that in geniuses, they are inseparable.
All of the myths about geniuses propose just the opposite to these things.
All of the facts about geniuses show these things to be true.
All of the major advances mankind has made were first brought to light by geniuses.
The world does not suffer from too many geniuses, it suffers from too few.
My last group of favorite people, the geniuses I am privileged to know, are all in favor of more knowledge in the world, more intelligence in the world, more ability in the world, and, most importantly, they are in favor of more knowledgeable and more capable children in the world.
In short, they have all contributed to and are in favor of The Gentle Revolution that is in the process of creating, through their parents, the delightful and capable children of tomorrow, the Renaissance Children.
Is it possible to create such children?
After many years of eighteen-hour days and seven-day weeks on the part of the staff of The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential, we are absolutely persuaded of the truth of the most important single thing we have learned.
What we have learned is that:
Every child born has, at the instant of birth, a higher potential intelligence than Leonardo da Vinci ever used.
Intelligence is principally a product of three things:
the ability to read;
the ability to do math;
the amount of encyclopedic knowledge one has.
It is easier to teach a one-year-old to read than it is to teach a six-year-old.
It is easier to teach a one-year-old math than it is to teach a six-year-old.
It is easier to give a one-year-old encyclopedic knowledge than it is to give it to a six-year-old.
This book tells you exactly how to give encyclopedic knowledge to a tiny child starting at birth or at any time prior to six years of age as well as why you might like to consider doing so.
If it all sounds too good to be true, too dreamy, too Utopian, and maybe just a little scary (as all new places are to some degree), then let me introduce you to some lovely facts, a very hard-nosed reality and some very real people with real names and real faces and real accomplishments.
If, at the end of this book, you find yourself excited, hopeful, but still thinking it’s a little too good to be true, then why don’t you come to The Institutes to see for yourself and to meet the people this book talks about. Thousands of parents before you have done so from all over the world. Or you just might try it on your tiny kid and see what happens. You have everything to gain—and nothing to lose, except a bit of time.
If, on the other hand, you can’t wait to get started giving your baby encyclopedic knowledge about all the beautiful, exciting, lovely, fascinating things there are in the world, well—do it joyously—it’s a marvelous thing to do.
In any case—welcome to the world of encyclopedic knowledge—and the Renaissance Children.