What makes us the most successful species that ever lived? Is it our bipedal stride and opposable thumbs? Is it our intelligence, the ability to reason or simply our will to survive? All these traits are important because they help us to understand our environment and thrive. But the little nugget that makes us supremely human is our limitless capacity to learn.

We learn every day. Even when we don’t think we are learning, we are learning. The human brain has been likened to a computer because it can do very similar things. However the brain is infinitely better because it can create, imagine and deduce. It can infer things that cannot be seen, heard or touched. It is what makes us powerful and in control of who we are.

How do we learn? Is it a natural process of imitation and adaptation or is it something we are born with?

The human brain is able to register input just like a computer and then run the program.

Now, imagine a world where you can create your own programs, make your own laws and influence any behavior in the world without knowing science. Sounds Super Human? No. If you are a parent, you are part of the programming that is required in creating your child’s learning environment.

A child’s brain is like a blank computer. It is wired to accept input. You, the primary caregiver are the programmer that will teach your child everything from taking her first step to putting on eyeliner. A child learns through watching and mimicking what he sees around him. You like to eat pop tarts in the morning? Chances are your child will learn to love them too.

Not all behaviors are learned and the debate is still on about how much of our behavior is predetermined by our genes. However, the percentage that is learned through behavior is what we can control and as a parent, you are the programmer.

Children have the same feelings and needs as adults. They need guidance as much as we are programmed by our own parents to guide them. It is what keeps our species alive. Think of the things we have taught our children: war, famine and genocide. We have also created communities, Art and Science. As a parent, you become your child’s ultimate mentor and teacher for what you believe in.

As parents, we want the best for our children. As a species, we want what is best for our planet. Be a conscientious Programmer and wield your power responsibly. Understand that every word spoken or gesture is witnessed by your child. Understand that your opinions, your morals and your beliefs are being observed by your children and are being hardwired in their brains.

Imitation is the best form of flattery after all. The lesson here is simple: be kind to your children. Teach them to be generous and to respect their environment. Teach them universal laws of equality, love and brotherhood. Having the ability to learn forever is what makes us human after all.