Magical Parent-Magical Child, the Optimum Learning Relationship is the first book to define parenting, coaching and educating children as developmental, transformative practices for adults. The central theme of the book is the transformation of childhood through the transformation of adults. Our goal is to optimize the adult-child interface by applying the proven strategies that allow top athletes and other specialists to consistently perform at extraordinary levels. If optimum learning, performance and well-being is the goal when relating to tennis balls and hockey pucks, what about you and I? What about our children? Do they, or we, deserve anything less?
We do this by helping adults rediscover the "playful" and "childlike" genius of their own innate intelligence, as they guide, learn from and mentor children, which awakens and develops in adults new capacities and possibilities. Infusing the adult-child relationship with this fresh creative energy and attention transforms the adult which results in a radically different learning environment for children. Changing the adult changes the environment we call childhood. This transforms the child, which cycles back and transforms the adult. We call this playful, reciprocal-dynamic, the Optimum Learning Relationship.
The book develops this theme by exploring and applying the psychology of optimum experience to parenting, childcare, education and coaching. Research shows that the "state" athletes call the Zone, what researchers and professionals call Flow and what children call Play share the basic characteristic of complete self-less absorption and engagement in the moment. This "state" of complete unconflicted behavior is nature's baseline, her expectation, for optimum learning, performance and well-being. Yoga, meditation and athletics, when approached in their true spirit, attune us to this optimum state. Looking deeper we discover that all learning, performance and wellness is "state specific." States of being are primary; they come first, filter and define what we learn, how we perform, and our relative wellness or disease, moment to moment.
The actual state of the relationship is the primary "content" of our experience, which is learned and remembered, often lifelong, especially for children, regardless of adult intentions. When adults give attention to "state as content," the playful, dynamic and reciprocal nature of the adult-child relationship becomes the Optimum Learning Relationship for both children and adults. The adult-child relationship becomes a renewing and profoundly challenging environment for self-actualization and mastery. The relationship itself becomes a transformative practice every bit as demanding and powerful as found in any monastery, martial art or athletic training camp.
We all know that childhood is a developmental process for children. Magical Parent-Magical Child awakens a deep realization that guiding, learning from and mentoring the future of humanity is a developmental process for adults. When approached in this way the relationship, with its learning and personal development, becomes dynamic, reciprocal and truly playful. Conflict is reduced, transforming all of childhood and adulthood. Optimizing the interface between children and adults restores the body-mind to its natural order. The results, we believe, are radically different human beings, and therefore culture, than we see today.
Joseph Chilton Pearce and I believe this little work is truly revolutionary, unique and exactly right for challenges facing today's children, families, and educators.
People around the world have been asking Joseph Chilton Pearce, author of the national best-seller The Magical Child and other works including Crack in the Cosmic Egg, Evolution's End, Bond of Power, Magical Child Matures, and his most recently published The Biology of Transcendence, to write a no-nonsense, down-to-earth, practical guide for parenting and coaching healthy, happy, intelligent children in today's turbulent environment. This is it.
Magical Parent - Magical Child distills Pearce's collected works, a lifetime of research on human development, into a revolutionary model for parenting, coaching, and educating in the Zone. Paralleling the narrative are sidebar quotes from Pearce's collected works, over thirty-five years of distilled insights punctuating, complementing, and expanding a completely new model of relationship and peak performance for children and adults. Beyond enriching the reader's present experience, the sidebars draw attention to Pearce's previous works. They represent a powerful introduction or reintroduction to the treasures readers will find in each.
Magical Parent-Magical Child invites every parent, educator, childcare provider and coach to discover completely new states of perception, performance, and experience in themselves, while guiding, modeling and mentoring the future of humanity.
Part One, The Intelligence of Play, blends research on optimum learning, peak performance, and wellness from three distinct fields. Those fields encompass what athletes call the Zone, what the research community calls Flow, and what children call Play. The book demonstrates that the Zone, Flow and Play are one "state," viewed from different developmental stages. The Intelligence of Play brings learning and performance models up to date with the truth about our limitless capacity to learn, perform and feel great, lifelong. And the most dynamic relationship for this optimum learning and true development to unfold is between adults and children.
The brisk narrative is supported by personal interviews with national figures, including scientists like David Bohm, Ashley Montagu, and James W. Prescott; educators like George Leonard and Michael Murphy; play researchers like O. Fred Donaldson and Stuart Brown, M.D.; authors like Jean Leidloff of The Continuum Concept, performance specialists and athletes like Johnny Miller, Peter Jacobsen, Nancy Lopez, John Doulliard, and Chuck Hogan. The book describes how optimum is natural, the extraordinary easy when self-imposed resistance is reduced or eliminated.
Part One reveals the true nature and function of our self-image. Rather than something to be justified and defended, the images we hold about ourselves and others represent a major obstacle to peak performance and optimum learning. The limitations and resistance imposed by these images are transcended in the state we call the Zone, Flow or authentic Play. Transcendence, the reader discovers, is nature's agenda for growth and true development, and play is the doorway to transcendence.
Part Two, Parenting Principles for Peak Performance, describes how to create, maintain and sustain Optimum Learning Relationships at any age, in any field. The section begins with a candid conversation between the authors on the well-intended limitations most adults impose on children "for their own good." Rather than uplifting, nurturing, and expanding the child's innate potential, most parenting, coaching, and educational strategies place severe limits on growth and true development. Adulterating children, with the best of intentions, ensures that the limitations most adults have accepted for themselves are transferred to the next generation. Culture places a lid on true development and locks it shut with contests, rewards, punishments, and shame. Part Two offers seven parenting principles that blow the lid off these limitations, not only for children but for adults as well. Simple, clear, and ever so practical, this collection of principles offers the parents, grandparents, educators, caregivers and coaches tools to transform their lives and the lives of the children they love.
Joseph Chilton Pearce
Best-selling author Joseph Chilton Pearce is a visionary developmentalist, a true living treasure. Pearce is best known for his national best-selling book Magical Child. He has published seven books and for thirty-five years has lectured internationally on human development and the changing needs of children. He was a faculty member on child development at the Jung Institute in Switzerland. He spoke on the new paradigm of human development at the seventh annual Transpersonal Psychology conference in India. Oxford University invited Joe to present information on the impact that current obstetrical practices are having on the development of child intelligence. The Canadian government sponsored a workshop with Joe for Native Americans on the prevention of violence and substance abuse. Sony Corporation sponsored a seventeen day lecture series on the future of education in Japan. He addressed Hawaii's crime prevention commission on the current causes of crime and violence. Louisiana sponsored an address on the crisis facing the American family. Departments at Harvard, UCLA, Stanford and Columbia University have sponsored educational conferences featuring his work. The governor of California invited Joe to address two special legislative planning sessions on the challenges facing children and families. Currently he finished a new book, The Biology of Transcendence, which describes the biological foundation for evolution's next great leap forward.
In 1987 Michael founded Touch The Future, a nonprofit learning design center whose mission is to promote Optimum Learning Relationships between adults and children. A five-year exploration of optimum states of learning, wellness, and peak performance led to a revolutionary parenting and coaching model the authors call The Intelligence of Play. Touch the Future's top agenda is to provide a lasting foundation for Pearce's legacy and to extend this model for Optimum Learning Relationships to specific populations: preschool, Head Start, and child care providers, public education, and amateur athletics.
A documentary and educational filmmaker, Michael has researched and explored sensitive issues: domestic violence and rape, the impact of media on learning, cultural and human development, the nature of intelligence, holistic learning models, the changing family, prenatal learning, the roots of violence, creativity and peak performance. For two decades Michael has gathered and published interviews with more than fifty researchers, scientists, authors and performance specialists, including David Bohm, J. Krishnamurti, Ashley Montagu and, of course, Joseph Chilton Pearce. Michael and Joe have been close colleagues for years. The unique tone of Magical Parent - Magical Child is an expression of their long-standing friendship and shared passions. Copies of the full interviews featured in Magical Parent - Magical Child gathered by Michael can be found at www.ttfuture.org.