Two amazing books crossed my path regarding topics near and dear to my heart: meaningful quality of life...and everything I can learn and KNOW about children.
Dr Stephanie Brown , whom I was lucky to meet recently, just published a book called, " SPEED ...Facing Our Addiction to Fast and Faster--and Overcoming Our Fear of Slowing Down. The next day on Good Morning America, Emma Jenner was interviewed for her new book, " Keep Calm and Parent on ".
I immediately connected the dots between the two books because they both had some common themes including : we are not living in the moment, thus we are missing living at all, and, we have left common sense far behind.
Dr Brown noticed that Silicon Valley had delivered a gift of electronics that promised to allow us to save time. Indeed it can. But what happened to us and spread quickly to the rest of the world was, I can do more...and more..and, the price became addiction to more, the future, and even more, leaving families disconnected, divided and abandoned. The fear of not enough, staying ahead of 'whatever' , drove people to miss life right now. Our definition of success was materialistic
and we did not realize that not only were we becoming addicted to this impossible race, we could not understand a deeper happiness. More and more addictions pop up to bandaid our emptiness.
Pausing, slowing down, changing disconnection with small steps ( often called the 'Kaisen Effect') is a healthy, effective way to finding our real selves and real lives again.
Dr Peter Grazzeley, a neuroscientist from UCSF, talks about the " Myth of Multi-tasking " and underscores how our brains can only do one thing at a time, with high performance. In an older blog I talk about his DVD.
In the Jenner book, this international nanny from England, shares common sense ways of helping parents and children come to respect the best ways to give children fair and appropriate boundaries, limited choices and approaches to common problems so that children grow up understanding real coping skills come from within. These kinds of children are grounded, do not develop high anxiety that does occur when parents abdicate their decision-making roles.
Something I learned from Dr Grazzely is: the pre-frontal cortex, the discernment and decision making area of the brain does not fully develop until 25-26 yrs of age. If a parent allows a child to have her/his way out of something, that gives a small child too much power. They do not have the tools to make important decisions regarding their safety or health. Anxiety prevails, and in fact, continues to be a growing mental health concern today.
Skillful parenting takes time and effort but as the child matures, family time is high quality. Because of our fast and faster paced lives, we look for short-cuts to " get things done", but at a steep price. Jenner proves that work up- front provides meaningful family life and , ultimately happier and healthier children. ( see my blog on sugar! ).
In the last couple of months I have seen a trend of conscious slowing down. Let's hope we see this trend grow stronger.In the meantime, press the PAUSE button , breathe deeply and engage with your loved ones.