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Margaret Wente, my favourite columnist, for the Globe and Mail, had and interesting column recently. "With the explosive science of genetics we are changing our thinking on everything from parenting and education to child rearing." Heredity along with neutering can play a large part on how well/bad a student can do in school and later success in life.

Stable families that teach respect and love are part of the equation where parents are good role models for their children provides the roots needed in life.

Often times young people ask me : if you can inherit mental illness from your parents? I set their mind at ease telling them that you do not inherit the crazies but you are influenced by the family values that they have grown up with. Having free will we all have choices to cherry pick what we choose to emulate in life.

Parents education, career and neighborhood can have a positive or negative role model for the offspring. Hard for a youngster from a single parent uneducated young women to focus on school while concerned where they are going to live. Elite women value education and for the most part do not marry down; instead choose partners who for the most part are successful.

IQ tests scores are bantered about by teachers and parents. The testing only reflects what one has been learned, not the ability to learn. 120 plus is in the Superior range and 100-105 are Normal scores. Those who score well are supposed to do well in school but there is no guarantee of excellence in learning.

Good ability along with good work ethic, good willpower and the desire for positive change are necessary ingredients for success. Most of us have good ability and successful but may lack the willpower to do well in school. In order to get water from the well you first have to prime the pump to get any positive results.

The students enrolled in a affluent school in London frequently asked me: "if I knew who their parents were? They seemed to feel that they were entitled and the world was theirs for the asking. The students genetic code did not include good manners, good study habits or good willpower to say no to temptations of drugs and alcohol. It was the only school I worked at were parents would call to ask if their childrenís marks could be massaged to gain access to a prestigious university of their choice.

I admit that genetics along with employed educated parents may help but there are no guarantees of success for students. Often times young people who have come from good homes were hard work, pride, mutual respect and the desire to make a difference in society tops the gene pool. Recently one of my young men, "John" from Stratford was awarded a full scholarship to Harvard. He was an excellent/student athlete who worked week-ends at Macdonaldís and the summers working on construction. Dad was a constable with the OPP with a high school education and his mother a nurse who went to community college.

The sages teach us that: " people plan and God laughs." Parenting is for the most part a crap shoot. One does their best to rear good hard working, respectful children and sometimes it works but then there is the contrary son/daughter who could not give a damn and screws up their lives along with their parentís hopes and aspirations.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com