The Child, the Tablet and the Developing Mind

Via: NY Times

March 31, 2013

I recently watched my sister perform an act of magic.

We were sitting in a restaurant, trying to have a conversation, but her children, 4-year-old Willow and 7-year-old Luca, would not stop fighting. The arguments — over a fork, or who had more water in a glass — were unrelenting.

Like a magician quieting a group of children by pulling a rabbit out of a hat, my sister reached into her purse and produced two shiny Apple iPads, handing one to each child. Suddenly, the two were quiet. Eerily so. They sat playing games and watching videos, and we continued with our conversation.

After our meal, as we stuffed the iPads back into their magic storage bag, my sister felt slightly guilty.

“I don’t want to give them the iPads at the dinner table, but if it keeps them occupied for an hour so we can eat in peace, and more importantly not disturb other people in the restaurant, I often just hand it over,” she told me. Then she asked: “Do you think it’s bad for them? I do worry that it is setting them up to think it’s O.K. to use electronics at the dinner table in the future.”

I did not have an answer, and although some people might have opinions, no one has a true scientific understanding of what the future might hold for a generation raised on portable screens.

“We really don’t know the full neurological effects of these technologies yet,” said Dr. Gary Small, director of the Longevity Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, and author of “iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind.” “Children, like adults, vary quite a lot, and some are more sensitive than others to an abundance of screen time.”

Read more: here

It is not good for kids!
-Moose

The Wisdom of Babies

Via: The Daily Good

-by Mary Gordon, Greater Good, Jan 26, 2013

For years I worked with families who were very abusive to their children. Over time, I came to realize that all of the suffering that the children collected—whether it was domestic violence or child abuse or neglect—was a result of the absence of empathy in the parent.

There wasn’t one of those parents who woke up and decided, “Today is the day I’m going to hurt my child.” These were not monsters; these were people who I loved, actually.

I remember working with a group of teenage mothers who had all lived through sexual or physical abuse as children and were now struggling with addiction. They had great difficulty empathizing with their children. When the children would fall down, the mothers would say, “No pain, no gain.” And this could be a little toddler learning how to walk.

I saw that if you haven’t experienced love, it’s very difficult to know how to love.
So what can we do to break this cycle of abuse and neglect?
My idea was to focus on the attachment relationship between parent and child. I believe that we inherit the capacity for empathy—that we are all intuitively empathic—but this capacity can wither on the vine if a child never experiences empathy in the attachment relationship with his or her parents. So why not learn from the attachment relationship?

That idea motivated me to launch Roots of Empathy in 1996. Roots of Empathy is a classroom-based program for children in kindergarten through grade eight. Our mission is to build more caring, peaceful, and civil societies by raising levels of empathy in children.

Read more: here

Carrots, Eggs, Or Coffee?

Via: Backwoods Survivalblog

A young woman went to her Grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her.  She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up.  She was tired of fighting and struggling.

Her Grandmother took her to the kitchen.  She filled three pots with water.  In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans.

She let them sit and boil without saying a word.  In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners.  She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl.  She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.  Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her Granddaughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?” 

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.

She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots.  She did and noted that they were soft and mushy.  She then asked her to take an egg and break it.  After pulling off the shell, she observed the hardened egg.  Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee.

The daughter smiled as she tasted its deep flavor and inhaled its rich aroma.  The daughter then asked, “What’s the point, Grandma?”


Read more: here