When browsing through TED talks related to child development and parenting, one may not expect to find a speech given by Colin Powell, but here it is.  General Powell presents a compelling argument for maintaining structure within family life.  “Once structure is developed, you would be amazed at what you can do.”

Powell maintains that structure leads to respect and that structure resides in people’s hearts and souls.  When children learn to “mind” (follow directions) and become acquainted with the consequences of NOT minding, a strong foundation for future learning and success is formed.

In his speech, Powell draws a direct link between learning, language, love and structure.   When children are raised “properly,” they will be prepared for school because their caregivers who value them have provided the structure for them to develop the skills necessary for success in school.

General Powell offers a beautiful description of the importance of responsiveness between a mother and her infant:

 “Education begins the first time a child in a mother’s arms looks up at the mother and says, ‘Oh, this must be my mother.  She’s the one who feeds me. … When I don’t feel so good down there, she … takes care of me.  It’s her language I will learn.’  At that moment (infants) shut out all the other languages they could be learning at that age. But by three months they say, ‘That’s her!’  … That is when the education process begins.  That’s when language begins.  That’s when love begins.  That’s when structure begins.  That’s when you start to imprint on the child that ‘you are special.  You are different from every other child in the world.  Now we are going to read to you.'”

Please take the time to watch General Powell’s TED talk linked below.