In this world, there are approximately 2.2 billion children living and learning every moment of the day.
Yes… they are learning. It is what they are learning that is interesting now and critical to the future generations.
Of these, 93 million to 150 million are living with a disability, or what I prefer to call a ‘diff-ability’
They may experience the world differently, express themselves differently and in doing so provide us with an opportunity to see ourselves and the world differently. For in actual fact we are each a gift to one another because of our ‘differentness’.
Each one of these children who are currently living in our world began their life with contributions from two parents.
Upon birth, a myriad of possibilities present themselves and no two children in this world have experienced family in the same way.
Similarly, no parents experience is exactly the same as another’s. Yet there are definite patterns that evolve in how we parent a child. These patterns are influenced significantly by the way in which we were parented by our parents and they by theirs.
Furthermore, the values and beliefs that we have and are conscious of, as well as those that we are not so conscious of, influence every word, movement, touch we exchange with our child.
Research is now demonstrating that a baby learns about life through discovering patterns in relationship with another person.
We actually know that an infant does not recall and remember patterns, such as the sounds in words in language, when they are not hearing it expressed by another person. If these sounds are produced and played to the baby using equipment, they do not remember and retain these patterns of sounds. Yet when these sound patterns are interwoven in relationship with another person, they recall and respond rapidly to the pattern when it is heard again. So, our relationship with our child is essential to learning and development of knowledge and it is essential to learning about connection with another human being.
If this is the case who has the opportunity to impact a child’s growth and development and joyful experience of life??. A parent. A parent can be a biological parent or those who have regular connection with a child, who offer care, nurturance and play, who set boundaries to provide safety for the child and who allow the child to fail and to therefore learn.
Generally, there are more than one who offers this relational experience to a child.
We know that the first thousand days of a child’s life is of critical importance to the trajectory of their life
Emotional health and well-being
We also are being told that there are other periods in an individual’s life when the nervous system appears to be particularly receptive to experiences which will ultimately bring about new learning and subsequently a changed nervous system.
This is an exciting phenomenon …. whenever we learn…. our child learns something…. we change our nervous systems, our whole physiology changes and we are never the same again.
No matter how small the new ‘chunk of knowledge’ is that we decide to act upon and put in to practice – it leads to us being a different being the moment we do it.
We are making decisions all throughout the day about what we will do in the next moment.
When our child is having a tantrum, we make a decision as to how we will react even though we may feel lost amidst a sea of demands and stresses … and yet we still actually have the choice to make as to what we will do… how we will respond.
Victor Frankly who wrote The Meaning of Life, was a psychologist who was imprisoned in Auschwitz in World War II. He lost his home, his belongings, his extensive manuscript which he had compiled prior to the war, and he lost his parents and many other family members.
He endured horrific events whilst imprisoned and yet he speaks in the book of his belief that no matter what was being done to him, the German soldiers could never take away his right to choose how he viewed the event…… in fact he created a differently reality around what was happening in the moment
So what if in any moment in time you were able to ‘be with’ your child during experiences of joy and happiness as well as during times of anger and distress?
What if you were able to respond to your child’s distress in a way that calmed him as well as allowed him to feel the emotions and develop resourceful ways of responding?
What if the way you calmed your child modelled for him how to calm himself
What if you were able to calm yourself so that you could ‘be with’ your child struggling and yet know through waiting they would find their way, and in so doing feel a sense of mastery they would want to feel again and again
What if you knew how to celebrate the gift your child is…. and knew how to communicate/model this to all those who are part of his world?
What if you understood his sensitivities and your own, in such a way that you were able to instinctively incorporate the activities and strategy’s he needs to flourish?
What if you knew how to connect with your child without words?
What if you were able to play freely with your child and follow his lead rather than yours?
What would this give you? …….do you think
What if every time you looked at your child you saw a whole and perfect child offering the world a new way of connecting…… a new of seeing
What if your awareness sensed the light that your child has brought into your life that no other person can bring
What if we didn’t need to wear socks and shoes – how brilliant that would be… for those of you who experiencing constant irritation and distraction by a seam…. a thread…. uneven compression.
What if I was truly present to my child when he was speaking to me?
What if I knew how to connect with my child when I feel he is doing everything to shut me out?
What if I knew how to respond when my child does embarrassing things?
What if I embraced my role as a parent without caring what others were saying?
What if I could spend a moment not questioning whether I am a good parent?
What if I responded to my child’s needs without guilt?