The Toothpaste Theory of Child Development

Have you ever studied the label on a tube of toothpaste? A good number of years ago, out of sheer boredom, I picked up the tube while supervising my daughters as they brushed their teeth for the proverbial and interminable “two minutes.”

The label reads: “Active ingredient: sodium fluoride.” Its function: cavity prevention. And just below that was a list of “inactive ingredients” with functions unlisted. Suddenly it hit me: the million-dollar question (actually, more like billion-dollar) about child development:

What is the active ingredient that promotes children’s positive development?