New Civilization News - Category: Children, Parenting    
 Childhood Intelligence
21 May 2004 @ 14:36, by sharie. Children, Parenting
I remember a time when I was four years old, standing in my parents' bedroom and being acutely aware of their unhappiness with one another. This had been an on-going misery, but on this particular day it struck me that this would be commonplace, and simultaneously I was crystal clear that I could not count on them to teach me about life. "Adults don't know what they're doing," I thought. They seemed so mis-guided.

The underlying sense was that their unhappiness with their life was because they were either choosing to be miserable or they were stuck and didn't seem to know how to live a happy life.

My general disposition had always been calm and content, and by stark contrast was this pervasive agony that the two of them managed to manifest.

So I made the decision then and there, at that ripe old age of four years old, that I would just figure out for myself how to live in this world... and so I did.

Several months later, our family moved to a new home out in the country, surrounded by trees and valleys. There was a moment there when I suddenly became aware of standing in our house, and feeling inundated by the tension in the air, a tension so thick it was beginning to penetrate my being. I immediately judged that tension to be "unreal". I would not acknowledge their human misery as anything "real".

I walked outside to the green waving grass and the green trees blowing in the wind and the beautiful blue sky, and I felt the power of life permeating me, and I thought, "This is Real!"

As I embraced this magnificent life force of Nature, the physical realm faded from view and I saw the brilliant light of the spirit of life, the eternal presence of the immortal intelligence, so beautiful and true that I immediately knew the physical world was merely an illusion that fades with time.

Beyond the illusion of time, space, energy, and motion is the eternal reality of the spirit of life. And this spirit communicated to me in the language of light, making its promise of radiant opulent abundance that would always be mine if only I kept faith in the light of truth.

I knew this light to be the God of all life, and I knew my God as my friend, the Creator of all that exists. It was a beautiful God. I looked to my God as my guide throughout my life, and since my parents were rarely present in my life, I looked to the spirit of life for my happiness and peace.

There exists a home movie of my family, my aunts, uncles, and cousins all walking along together, somewhat droning along, and here comes little Sharie, skipping through the crowd with such exuberance that to this day I can't help but burst out laughing just thinking about it.

I was a happy kid. I taught myself to swim, I taught myself to ride a bike, I taught myself to play the organ, I was an accomplished flutist in the band, was driven to do acrobatics of all kinds, and became known for my flexibility - splits all three ways, backbends, walk-overs, and hand-springs, I became the chess champion of my school, won an award for demonstrating an exhaustingly impressive memory, I won a ribbon for track, and I won the art award. This was the extent of my accomplishments by age eleven, with little adult supervision.

I've always remembered the intelligence and insight I had at four years old, and have acknowledged all children to be inherently brilliant.

As an adult, I worked with children for seven years. From babies to teenagers, and even college kids, I enjoyed their intelligence and humor, their keen observations and their many questions.

When my twin daughters were two years old, I was taking them for a walk one day when a woman passed asking, "How do you do it!"

"I treat them like intelligent beings... and they act accordingly," I answered with a snappy happy melody.

As I walked on, I thought of what I'd just said. I knew that's why my daughters were almost always happy. They never ever threw a fit, and very, very rarely cried.

They loved people and people loved them. They were always friendly and out-going, and very engaging to be with, and such great company.

I remember a time when they were just toddlers and we were out at the playground, and we could hear another toddler crying. And my daughter said, "Ahhh..." with such a tone of compassion that I was in awe of her awareness and empathy. She was only about 15 months old at the time.

I'd learned about a child's conscience from Little Lisa, a precious toddler I'd known years before I had children of my own. Lisa's conscience was so highly developed, her behavior so alarmingly bright that I remembered becoming aware that we must never violate a child's conscience, never violate the integrity of a child's presence of being.

Children are a precious gift. Please take care that you always respect them.

 Nadia finds Google96 comments
picture 5 Mar 2004 @ 13:59, by ming. Children, Parenting
My daugther discovered Google. I guess she has seen us searching for stuff, so she knew that was something to do. So, she decided on her own she wanted to look for Cindarella. She found Google, but she couldn't spell "Cindarella", so she spelled one of the five or so things she can spell: her own name. Which right away got her to some story from my weblog. And in less than 10 seconds she had a picture of herself on the screen. Which she thought was very cool.  More >

 Rewards and Punishments20 comments
picture 16 Jan 2004 @ 13:35, by ming. Children, Parenting
Here an article by Denise Breton and Christopher Largent about conditioning by rewards and punishments. The page shows badly in my browser, so I'm taking the liberty of including the text at the bottom. They mention the extensive research of Alfie Kohn on the negative effects of reward/punishment conditioning. Here are some of the problems:
• Rewards and punishments teach power-over relations. That’s the model. And when being on the receiving end of this model gets tiresome, we begin the mad race to be on top.

• Rewards and punishments corrupt human relationships, starting with the relation between those "higher" and "lower" in the reward-punishment hierarchy. Those under can’t tell the truth to those above them for fear of how "bad news" might further reduce their underling status. Even more commonly, those above don’t want the truth to be told. A May 1999 Frontline on the military career of Admiral Leighton "Snuffy" Smith, for instance, featured Smith confessing that during the Vietnam War (when he was a pilot), his superior wouldn’t let him report that he had failed to achieve his bombing objective. The higher-ups didn’t want the truth; they wanted only "we’re winning the war" reports.

• Rewards and punishments teach image management. Appearing to be good is more important than being good.

• Rewards and punishments require surveillance. We must be seen to be doing good or doing bad to get what we "deserve," so someone must be observing us—all the time.

• Rewards and punishments replace internal motivation with external motivation. This is a biggie, and the crux of it all. We don’t do what our inner guides tell us, what we love to do, or what we feel is right. We do what rewards us outwardly. Our inner motivation, what we get from our souls, is not controllable. For us to be made controllable, we must be unplugged from our soul source, and something external must be put in its place—something others can control. Given this agenda, rewards and punishments are inevitably soul-denying.

• Rewards and punishments teach selfish manipulation: "What’s in it for me?" "Can I avoid being caught?" In Beyond Discipline (p. 22), Alfie Kohn quotes eighteenth-century philosopher Immanuel Kant: "If you punish a child for being naughty and reward him for being good, he will do right merely for the sake of the reward; and when he goes out into the world and discovers that goodness is not always rewarded, nor wickedness always punished, he will grow into a man who only thinks about how he may get on in the world, and does right or wrong according as he finds advantage to himself."
It is rather obvious, really. The conditioning approach pre-assumes that you are a mindless robot who can't tell right from wrong, so you need to be trained into the proper pavlovian responses. Right answer: you get a piece of cheese. Wrong answer: you get an electric shock. That is a horribly barbaric view, and a false one. But, seeing that this is the predominant method used in the world of educating us into knowing how to act, it is no great wonder at all that we're rather messed up.
• Rewards and punishments hide real consequences, replacing them with artificial reward-punishment consequences. CEOs don’t think about real-world consequences—polluted air and water or human suffering; they think about financial rewards.

• Rewards and punishments replace inner integrity with the model that everyone "has a price." When people work only for rewards and behave selfishly, it doesn’t mean that they’re bad people or that humanity is innately greedy. It means they’re behaving exactly the way the culture has programmed them to behave—and then told them that they’re bad for doing it. How’s that for crazy-making?
Well, read the whole thing, this is vital stuff. And I'll give you a gold star.  More >

 FOR THE SAKE OF THE CHILDREN
28 Jan 2003 @ 07:46, by tdeane. Children, Parenting
How many of us wouldn't love to journey back in time to the days when our dreams had no limits, that time before our minds became "discriminating," filled with prejudices, stereotypes? Remember the days of balloons, kites, and rainbows? Ah...weren't they beautiful, those days of believing in a future?

In researching on the internet, I wasn't able to find too much information on population statistics of the world for children until I ran across www.prb.org, which is the website for the Population Research Bureau. Some rather profound statistics there:

30% OF THE WORLD'S POPULATION CONSISTS OF CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 15!

Think of it! What happens to that percentage if we add in the 15 to 21 year olds. I couldn't find those figures, so what would we guess 40%, possibly 50%? Just the notion that so few statistics on children are available in a world of statistics should tell us something.

Those whose lives are just getting started, who should ALL have a voice in their world, represent almost half the population of our world.

In part of a study by UNICEF, The State of the World's Children, in which they assembled 400 young representative voices from around the world, the children agreed that they want an end to all war in the world. They have a lot of other good ideas, those beautiful little unencumbered minds! The study can be found at

www.unicef.org/sowc03/specialtopics/index.html

Can we not open our hearts to them? To the gentlest, least responsible voices who have more to lose than any of us? Can we not hurt for the children of all of the nations of the world, and be united in that WITHOUT diversity? Can we not feel the fear that they must feel, particularly in the Middle East? Can we not feel outrage that some of them are being trained for war, never knowing childhood, possibly never knowing life beyond childhood?

How many of them would stand up with lighted candles to save the world? My bet is just about all of them, at least those who can still dream.

Now let's ask ourselves how many of us would stand up with lighted candles to save them?

If children want a world free of war, what would the role-models' behavior look like? Bursts of energy in the form of demonstrations, scheduled at different times in different places? Wonderful effort, but it has never worked before. Or is what we need most to LIGHT the world, with the full participation of almost 1/2 of its population, the voice yet to be heard?

Think of it!

Envision each time zone of the Earth lighting a candle at dusk, and the beautiful wave of LIGHT that would spread around the globe. Can we not envision the beautiful energies that would summon? Can we not consider the possibility that the greatest mistake we have ever made is forgetting our children, and making a commitment to them, as well as the child in each of us, is what we need to take that GIANT LEAP?

We have no guns, we have no voice, but we have each other! We have the internet, and we have the time, otherwise we wouldn't be able to write these logs. How much time would it take us to bombard the internet and the news media with a date and a message FOR THE SAKE OF THE CHILDREN WE WILL RAISE OUR CANDLES HIGH? How many people do you really think would refuse?

All we keep doing is arguing about what to do, when we have the simplest, most peaceful means of all right under our noses? This idea came from US; it was not in my mind prior to joining NCN. It is all of our energies combined. Can't we now combine our energies and just say, "LET'S DO IT?"

I don't want war. I don't want anyone to die. I don't want all that you have worked so hard for all of your lives to suddenly go up in smoke. I don't want our relationships to end. I want us all to live to see the dream. I love you, because I love the Universe and the Universe had a special purpose in creating each and every one of us. Can't we just pretend this one simple action in a unified effort might just be part of why we are here? FOR THE SAKE OF THE CHILDREN?



How can we say it won't work, if we have never tried it? Does that not constitute ignorance? We're simply running out of time...


As always, I surround us with spiritual hugs and much love ~ Tricia

 Mr. Flemming29 comments
picture 27 Dec 2002 @ 00:35, by ming. Children, Parenting
My little daughter Nadia likes coming into my office to pretend she's me. So, she sits in my chair and gets this really deep voice: "I'm Mr.Flemming". And I ask "What are you doing Mr.Flemming?". I speak Danish to her, but she answers in English. "I'm working on my computer" she says. "Oh, but what are you actually doing on that computer?", I say. "Dot Com" she answers, with great conviction. I don't know where she picked that up from, but it's funny. And then she went and loaded an MP3 file. It is fascinating to see how the generations change, and later generations take things for granted that the earlier generation only learned about along the way. Nadia learned about e-mail first, so she also calls the stuff the mailman brings "e-mail". A cassette tape she calls a "CD". Film cameras don't make a lot of sense to her, and she's never seen a vinyl record or a rotary phone. She hasn't known a world without always-on Internet and digital cameras and cell phones for everybody.  More >

 The kids are trying to understand...
20 Nov 2002 @ 10:48, by sharie. Children, Parenting
Subject: 6th grade history test answers

Insight into the minds of 6th graders: The following were answers provided by 6th graders during history tests. Watch the spelling! Some of the best humor is in the misspelling.

1. Ancient Egypt was inhabited by mummies and they all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert. The climate of the Sarah is such that all the inhabitants have to live elsewhere.

2. Moses led the Hebrew slaves to the Red Sea where they made unleavened bread, which is bread made without any ingredients. Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten commandments. He died before he ever reached Canada.

3. Solomon had three hundred wives and seven hundred porcupines.

4. The Greeks were a highly sculptured people, and without them we wouldn't have history. The Greeks also had myths. A myth is a female moth.

5. Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock. After his death, his career suffered a dramatic decline.

6. Julius Caesar extinguished himself on the battlefields of Gaul. The Ides of March murdered him because they thought he was going to be made king. Dying, he gasped out: "Tee hee, Brutus."

7. Joan of Arc was burnt to a steak and was canonized by Bernard Shaw.

8. Queen Elizabeth was the "Virgin Queen." As a queen she was a success. When she exposed herself before her troops they all shouted "hurrah."

9. It was an age of great inventions and discoveries. Gutenberg invented removable type and the Bible. Another important invention was the circulation of blood. Sir Walter Raleigh is a historical figure because he invented cigarettes and started smoking.

10. Sir Francis Drake circumcised the world with a 100-foot clipper.

11. The greatest writer of the Renaissance was William Shakespeare. He was born in the year 1564, supposedly on his birthday. He never made much money and is famous only because of his plays. He wrote tragedies, comedies, and hysterectomies, all in Islamic pentameter. Romeo and Juliet are an example of a heroic couple. Romeo's last wish was to be laid by Juliet.

12. Writing at the same time as Shakespeare was Miguel Cervantes. He wrote Donkey Hote. The next great author was John Milton. Milton wrote paradise Lost. Then his wife died and he wrote Paradise Regained.

13. Delegates from the original 13 states formed the Contented Congress. Thomas Jefferson, a Virgin, and Benjamin Franklin were two singers of the Declaration of Independence. Franklin discovered electricity by rubbing two cats backward and declared, "A horse divided against itself cannot stand."
Franklin died in 1790 and is still dead.

14. Abraham Lincoln became America's greatest Precedent. Lincoln's mother died in infancy, and he was born in a log cabin which he built with his own hands. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves by signing the Emasculation Proclamation. On the night of April 14, 1865, Lincoln went to the theater and got shot in his seat by one of the actors in a moving picture show. They believe the assinator was John Wilkes Booth, a supposingly insane actor. This ruined Booth's career.

15. Johann Bach wrote a great many musical compositions and had a large number of children. In between he practiced on an old spinster which he kept up in his attic. Bach died from 1750 to the present. Bach was the most famous composer in the world and so was Handel. Handel was half German, half Italian, and half English. He was very large.

16. Beethoven wrote music even though he was deaf. He was so deaf he wrote loud music. He took long walks in the forest even when everyone was calling for him. Beethoven expired in 1827 and later died for this.

17. The nineteenth century was a time of a great many thoughts and inventions. People stopped reproducing by hand and started reproducing by machine. The invention of the steamboat caused a network of rivers to spring up. Cyrus McCormick invented the McCormick raper, which did the work of a hundred men. Louis Pasteur discovered a cure for rabbits. Charles Darwin was a naturalist who wrote the Organ of the Species. Madman Curie discovered the radio. Karl Marx became one of the Marx Brothers.

 Our baby daughter was born!!!!!!!!16 comments
3 Sep 2002 @ 06:09, by satorius. Children, Parenting
Please come visit us :)  More >

 childlike*
16 Aug 2002 @ 12:42, by sindy. Children, Parenting
IT warms my heart once again to see
in the eyes of kids.. how much its important to care  More >

 The Butterfly and the Bulldozer
10 May 2002 @ 11:03, by invictus. Children, Parenting
I’ve recently moved from college back to the depths of the Suburbia that spawned me. In doing so, I’ve come up against a problem. Ever since I came back here I have felt the stupefying effect of the place, and it has kind of scared me. In my opinion, there is no place on Earth in which it is easier to be complacent. These nice rows of houses with everyone going about their lives and questing to keep up with the Joneses makes it look like this is the full extent of existence… the “American” dream that is quickly turning in to the dream of the entire world. It is so easy to just live your life here, even if it is meaningless and full of holes. I was contemplating breaking in to a full-blown rant on how twisted the land of Suburbia is, but I’m going to try to address a deeper question.

The fact that a little thing like this would make me feel like a veil has been put over my mind worries me. However, when I think about the processes at work here, I’m not sure it’s such a bad thing. On the one hand, I ought to be stable and secure enough in my own mind to not be so easily thrown off track. On the other, I don’t want to be hard and inflexible. I want to keep the ability to question myself and be honest with myself about what I am really feeling, even if it does make life more difficult. The big question is, where is the balance? Is there a balance at all? I’ve always felt that the kind of freedom I enjoy inside my own mind is a very delicate thing, like a butterfly. It’s beautiful, and it can do amazing things. But even a breeze will upset it. I am still trying to figure out how such a delicate thing can survive in this world. I know that I won’t allow it to get crushed. I’ve been told by more than one person that I’m setting myself up for a fall in being as idealistic and sensitive to everything as I am. In a way they’re right. There is so much pain involved in being truly aware of what is going on, in both the inner and outer worlds. Yet, that vulnerability is what leaves me open to experiencing what the human condition has to offer. Perhaps it is one of the major things that is missing from our oh-so-hard world. They always say that we men are not sensitive enough. I think there’s more truth to that than most people realize, for men and women alike.

The balance between hardening one’s self against the minor daily trials we all face and being open to their true effect, and hence being able to learn from them, is such a difficult one to strike. The price for failing to achieve that balance is high. I’ve known people who have missed it both ways. Some (my former best friend of five years among them) were so sensitive to the world that they broke down the minute it started getting thick. Their sensitivity imploded upon itself and turned into a giant wound. I have always had an impulse to do that; to just let it wash over me and become a picture of despair. That, in my opinion, is better than the other option: being so hard that you are not disturbed by the way things are. There may be strength and stability in that, but the result of it seems to be a failure to care about what’s really important. Being hard and inflexible, to me, seems to be just about as much fun as being a corpse. I can’t Can’t CAN’T turn my head away and just live my life, as if nothing were going on. If I am setting myself up for a fall, so be it. Being delicate and vulnerable is a critical part of what makes us human. Sometimes, though, it really is a pain in the ass ; ).

I do not mean to sound hopeless here. I’m well aware that there are those who have successfully reached the balance, in one sense or another. This is just my attempt at sorting through the thoughts that have been nagging at me for the last few days, and trying to learn from them. I’m trying to find out how to lift the veil that seems to cover my mind when I’m living in good old Suburbia; I think that this time around I may actually be equipped to do it.



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