Starting with Sara’s first mobility, we were lucky to find an important lesson for the balanced development of children. For us, this meant Sara’s harmonious development. In short, each “clumsiness” that found its way around her, enjoyed recommencement, questions, answers, hilarious recreations, and therefore integration of experiences.
Daniel Siegel, MD, Ph.D., reveals the brain structure and the way in which there are developed connections between the hemispheres. Thus, for all of us, the right hemisphere is within emotion, while the left belongs to logic, the upper part of the brain corresponds to the universe of actions, and the lower one to the instincts. What eluded me was the integration of the experiences as a tool for brain development, hence the way in which parts of it are helped to develop links and work together.
The child’s brain creates new routes through each new experience. Altogether they will determine the brain structure. We, the parents have a significant contribution by creating experiences that help the development of an integrated brain, both horizontally and vertically.
However, what does this integration mean? For example, our choice as parents to talk to Sara about her experiences helps develop her memory. Yet if we are braver and approach feelings, we develop her emotional intelligence; help her understand her own feelings and those of others.
The simple restoration of an impediment has multiple beneficial results. For Sara, my willful “stumble and fall” helps her to understand her own fall. It shows her the “normality” and naturalness of such an event and implicit lessons. For me the result of the exercise is playful, for I stumble and fall (for example) often in public places, trying to avoid puddles since I don’t wear Sara’s special outfit. For the street, it surely came as a strange combination between hilarious and curiosity, passers’ glimpses were my reference for my performance, but Sara was the target audience. The fact that the “game” was leading to the integration of her experiences was simply enough for me.
I still remember the practice of hitting the object by adults, as it stumbled through the legs and I fell. I am still seeing today this practice of “diversion of attention”, a practice stemming from the inexhaustible source of tradition and whose results are lost in the myriads of mimicry that we now call culture. Indeed, this alienation creates for the child a large question mark which it is impossible to attribute any coherent answer, so that it concerns us, the adults, as hitting objects or furniture and claiming victory over punishment.
Can you imagine how strange we might appear before the new generation? Obviously not, otherwise how could we have forgotten the experience and reach adulthood on the verge of mimetic repetition.
Children need empathy. We, who are not caught up in the game of emotions, when the child around us is present, we need to connect emotionally first and then cerebrally. In “The whole brain child” D. Siegel presents 12 strategies for the harmonious development of the brain of the child next to us (and why not the inner child). I will return the larger topic for Siegel should be minimum training level for any form of parenting …