Mary Leakey 100th birthday: A son on her adventuresome parenting
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Mary Leakey didn’t just bring us remarkable scientific discoveries. She also left behind three fine examples of why every day should be take your kids to work day, even if it’s just talking about your job. By including our children in our passions we help them dig deep into their imaginations to unearth their own passions in life.
Here is a Q&A with Philip Leakey about his mom:
Q: Did you ever go on digs with your parents? If so was there any one that stands out in your mind?
Yes. I grew up on the digs on school holidays. I learned to walk at Olorkesaili, [Kenya,] the hand tool site.
Olduvai is where I have some of my fondest memories and my greatest early learning experiences.
You did not choose your mother’s career path, but a more politically active and civic-minded life. What part of you upbringing influenced you toward that choice?
My father influenced me towards that end, but my mother raised me learning her skills of perception of people.
One publication stated that you and your brothers were raised by a nanny until you were old enough to go adventuring with your parents. Is that correct and if so how did that work?
No that isn’t correct. We were not raised by nannies.
At what age did you first go on a dig?
Mother took me when I was a baby. As I said I learned to walk at Olkorkesaili.
Can you tell a bit about your education and if your mother “home schooled” you and your brothers at all or how she taught you about what they were working on?
Both my parents encouraged us to participate in their work as much as possible from working on the sites to engaging with all the people related to their work through identifying all the specimens. It was a hands-on learning experience throughout the entire process. We were included in all the discussions, the debates and every step of the way.