Today’s helicopter parents might want to explore the parenting techniques of famed paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey, whose birth 100 years ago is celebrated today. Instead of hovering over or reigning-in her three sons, Ms. Leakey handed them responsibilities early in life and brought them out on dig sites from infancy.
“Mother gave us every freedom to learn by experience as early as I can remember,” says her youngest son, Philip, 64, who now lives in Kenya and responded to questions for this blog via e-mail. “This gave me tremendous self-confidence and taught me responsibility at an early age. As I grew I was able to take on more responsibility and in a way it always put us as children ahead of the pack. It encouraged and enhanced leadership skills.”