Childhood is a whisper in time

I am so grateful that there wasn’t 172 different kinds of cereal in the sale aisle when my children were growing up. 

Things to think about

How do you remind parents of the specialness of this period in a child’s life?
How can you find ways to educate the public?
Have you ever had a moment where you felt a need to help a parent who is a stranger to you?  How did you do it?  Did you bring compassion?
If you have not done this, what holds you back?

Highlights from Playful Wisdom
by Michael Mendizza featuring Bev Bos and Joseph Chilton Pearce

I observed years ago that we are defined, moment by moment, by the quality of attention we embody. Realizing this, one seeks to optimize the depth and quality of one’s attention, knowing that optimum attention will generate optimum learning and performance. To focus on content without expanding capacity, which is the status quo, is silly. As the environment we call “early childhood” became more and more stimulating, there has been a shift in the patterns of attention seen in young children. Gabor Maté titled his book on ADHD Scattered, and for good reason. Reflexive, scattered attention resembles a pinball machine more than it does quiet curiosity and wonder.

“A calm and consistent emotional milieu throughout infancy is an essential requirement for the wiring of the neurophysiological circuits of self-regulation. When interfered with, as it often is in our society, brain development is adversely affected. ADD is one of the possible consequences.

ADD is an example of how the neural circuitry and biochemistry of the brain may be held back from developing optimally when appropriate input from the environment is interfered with.

Three-quarters of our brain growth take place outside the womb, following birth, with most of this increase occurring in the early years.

Five-sixths of the branching of nerve cells in the brain occurs after birth…. At times during the first year of life, new synapses are being established at a rate of three billion a second.

Of all environments, the one that most profoundly shapes the human personality is the invisible one; the emotional atmosphere in which the child lives during the critical early years of brain development.”

How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It
Gabor Maté, MD

We are this most powerful and invisible defining force. The real challenge is to master ourselves not the child.

Childhood is just a whisper in time.  All the sudden they’re going to be 5 and they’re going to be 10 and you’re going to wonder how that happened.  How could this time have slipped away?  I don’t always know how to help parents with the issue and I think there’s times when they’re going to be pushed but I think when you plant the seed that it’s just a whisper in time.  I say to my parents, how can my children be grown?  It’s yesterday they were babies.  I always say to my parents I didn’t have a … when I was raising my children.  I was probably fortunate that it was a different time, there was a little bit more of that kind of family life that happened.  I am a gift to you and I’m here for a reason.  I can help you with what you need to do.  It is a whisper, just a whisper, and it will be gone and you will just ache just to help somebody find out something.

I think this, I think that we can never stop talking about it.  We can never stop trying to help people do that.  I think one of the things that we have to do, the people that know what kids need, I think we have to find a really kind way to be more public and I don’t know if I can explain this but I think that there’s things that this generation simply doesn’t know.  One of the things that I have known since my children were little, that it was really important that I follow them in lots of different ways.  When they were out walking some place you need to walk behind them, then you know their pace.  You know which way they’re going.  You don’t have to keep yelling at them to catch up.  They don’t have to scurry or worry that you’re going to leave them behind.  I notice that hardly anybody knows that today.  I was just in a store and a boy had one of the strollers from the place that they give you, not a cart but a stroller, and he was about 6 or 7 and he was pushing his little brother and he pushed it into the back end of his mother and she was really angry.  I turned and as gently as I could I said, “You know if you walk behind him you’ll be able to know where he is.”  And I think that people who know this, I think the elders, the generation that knows how to do this, has to find some really kind way of doing that. The issue is a lot of us are just kind of angry about it and we see children not being treated and we say when I was a kid and this and that, but we’ve got to become a lot more articulate about that kind of thing because, again it’s that lost thing.  She didn’t have a momma to say that to her.  She didn’t have a mamma who said I’m gonna walk behind my child.  She also probably was of a generation where her momma didn’t spend much time in the store with her kids.  She maybe left them at home but I think that we have to.  You know what it is?

I don’t think it’s some big deal like hanging all the rules for being with children from a cloud.  I think it’s in the details of helping parents in the grocery store.  I’ve said to parents in a grocery store, I am so grateful that there wasn’t 172 different kinds of cereal in the sale aisle when my children were growing up.  I don’t know how you do it.  I don’t know how you get from one end to the other.  That acknowledges that their job is much harder today than it was when I was little.  I also think that people like us have to be the people that begin to write a little bit more for newspapers, that we start spreading the word and helping people out. Not in an antagonistic way, but just in a knowing way because yes, that’s what’s going to help us all.