I was running with my husband yesterday. It was early and dark. We passed a man firmly holding a dog, who was barking viciously. My husband said, “What would you do if that dog broke free?” I said, “I would stop and kick him!” Craig said, “No, you need to run.” I said, “I can’t outrun a dog!” Craig said, “Run and climb on a car, or jump over this low fence, or climb a tree. Anything to get up and out of reach.”
My husband gave me a useful mental model of how to handle an angry dog who was pursuing me.
The author, James Clear said,
“A mental model is an explanation of how something works…Mental models guide your perception and behavior. They are the thinking tools that you use to understand life, make decisions, and solve problems.”1
Charlie Munger is the right hand man of Warren Buffet. He gave a famous speech in the 1990’s where he said, “Well, the first rule is that you can’t really know anything if you just remember isolated facts and try and bang ’em back. If the facts don’t hang together on a latticework of theory, you don’t have them in a usable form. You’ve got to have models in your head. And you’ve got to array your experiences both vicarious and direct on this latticework of models.”2
Hmmm, many models, ok, learning from someone else’s experience or experiencing it myself, and then, yes! Weaving them together to form a theory.
We, as parents, can have a huge impact with those “vicarious and direct” experiences in our children’s life. The more we can claim this territory back from screens, distractions and other empty diversions, the better. You know– Deep River Children.
What mental models are you weaving for your children, to form a latticework that will change their life? That they will use often and lean back on? Please share!