A five-year-old from a wealthy family will have heard 30 million more words than their peers from low-income families, according to a paper published in 1995 by a team at the University of Kansas
Despite skepticism surrounding the replicability of this study, the statistic raises a notable point. Today, many parents (regardless of socioeconomic background) underappreciate the significance of social interactions to a child's cognitive development over a lifetime.
A word gap is more than a gap in vocabulary. A word gap is also a gap in storytelling, social skills, and emotional communication.
I wish these parents didn't sacrifice sociability for skill-building (examples of skills being dance, piano, or rote math). Sadly, I do understand the appeal of choosing to raise a quantifiably successful child at the expense of a diversity of life experiences, such as sleepovers, idle play, little league, or camping.
I believe children who grow up with stories demonstrate better empathy, strategic thinking, risk-taking, and self-determination.
If more children grew up with a wider variety of stories, they would attribute personal importance to consequential fields often overlooked. They just might find a wider variety of subjects (that I think are increasingly relevant) more compelling, like history, politics, economics, philosophy, and mathematics.
The leaders and decision-makers of our world aren't primarily technocrats. They're people who understand the power of communicating ideas, who can genuinely anchor those ideas to their personal experiences and thus build emotional connections, and can confidently wield various strategic possibilities to execute their vision.