Spiritual Parenting

The Science of Spiritual Parenting

 

Author: Sara Blackstock

This essay explores some of the discoveries of science that can help us in the task of Spiritual Parenting.

THE SCIENCE OF SPIRITUAL PARENTING
Sara L. Blackstock
1/21/2001

Parents want to do the hardest job on earth, PERFECTLY, without any preparation, education, or experience. For most this ideal soon fades into the reality of sleepless nights, rashes, crying and the shock of our own feelings of impatience and frustration. Parents do not usually experience the problem of inflation. It is a rather humbling job and no doubt gives the God within each of us some rich fodder for our personal decisions and growth. Perhaps this is why parenting is eventually a necessary component of our universe career.

I remember the first mistake I made with my son when he was about 2 months old. Up until that time I felt that I was doing it all just about perfectly. But after a couple of nights of sleep deprivation, feeling like a milking cow , I was conscious of my first mistake. It began with some thoughts after a two hour crying spree when nothing seemed to help: “This is no fun; where is that magic feeling of newness and total oneness with my newborn?” Frustration, impatience and helplessness went from my brain into my mouth and I shouted an angry word or two, which of course increased the crying.

Well, from there the mistakes occurred on a more regular basis; usually I was aware of them after the fact. Fortunately through grace and luck everyone came through reasonably intact, although far from the original ideals of our parental expectations.
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There is probably no other experience on this planet that has such potential for involvement of the deepest emotions; and can put us on the defensive as parenting because we desire so so much to do it perfectly.

But I doubt that perfect parenting is part of the plan on this planet. If we were able to raise a child in the perfect way and all the child’s needs were perfectly met, would the child seek God with the fervor experienced by some of us who were brought up with less than ideal parenting? The angels make it tough for us because they know this is how our soul grows.

Social scientists, psychologists, child development researchers and educators have been studying families and children for at least 50 years. Many parts of this vast array of information have been magnified and brought into focus in a number of excellent books, just a few of which are mentioned at the end of the essay. There is a long list of topics: communication, healthy babies, brain development, discipline, developmental expectations, siblings, etc.

Each and all of these aspects are important and cannot be ignored. One of the focuses we will explore in this essay are the connections between the brain, the body, and the emotions, and why it is important that parents understand these connections in order to provide optimum conditions for growth for their children, for it seems that this is the overriding concern that parents have for their children – that they grow. Parents are most focused first on the physical growth – keeping track of the weight of the newborn in the first few months and years is a powerful focus. Then the questions are asked: Can my child see, hear, and speak? The next focus is on the mindal/intellectual development – will my child be able to read, write, and succeed in school. Now social scientists are emphasizing the importance of emotional and social growth, and parents are being given information by which to evaluate this.

Not quite so many parents are interested in their children’s spiritual growth, although they may send them to Sunday school to get “learned” in the ways of their own spiritual path; the Jewish children prepare for their bat or bar mitzvah ; Christian children for their confirmation; Islamic children for _______________??? (look up) Hindu children ______________(look up). Not many parents know what to do in the home to connect their children with a loving God, with a friendly universe, with a cosmic perspective. BUT this is of utmost importance, because it is what the child learns by observation and participation in the home everyday which will lay a foundation of reality for that child’s spiritual life. Not that attending the religious organizations is not also a good experience.

The difference between spiritual parenting and just parenting – is the recognition that not only do our children have a body, mind, and emotions, but that a soul is growing within them. AND it is part of our parental privilege and responsibility to provide the physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual environment which gives every advantage possible for raising a healthy, successful, contributing son or daughter of God, releasing the eternal potentials of personality to rejoice in serving in the universe forever.

Parenting would be much easier if we mortals were not born with a rebellious, “I want to do it my own way” streak; some of us have a wider and more colorful streak than others.

In the Greek myth the story of the father Daedalus and his son, Icarus gives a poignant example of an age old, archetypal problem experienced by parents. In order to escape from Crete, Daedalus, the father, made a pair of wings for himself, and a pair for his son Icarus. The quill feathers were threaded together, but the smaller ones were held in place by wax. After tying the wings onto his son, Daedalus said to his son with tears in his eyes: “My son, be warned! Neither soar too high, lest the sun melt the wax; nor swoop too low, lest the feathers be wetted by the sea.” Then he slipped his own pair of wings on and they flew off. “Follow me closely”, he cried, “do not set your own course!” You will remember the end of this story. Icarus rejoiced in the feeling of the lift of his great sweeping wings, disobeyed his father’s instructions, flew too close to the sun, which melted the wax and he fell into the sea and drowned. When Daedalus looked over his shoulder, he could no longer see Icarus – only scattered feathers floating on the waves below.

Like young people through the ages of the mortal experience, Icarus became inflated and elated and forgot the wisdom of his father’s advice.

The main message in most of the Greek and Roman myths, is that when man fails to align with the wisdom and purpose of the gods, bad things happen. The gods say to their children and mortals: “We will help you if you follow our instructions.” We of course know that our Father’s love and his help is not conditional, but not so in the myths.

Parents have asked since the beginning of time: How can I get my child to listen to me; to do as I say so that s/he can enter into the flow of getting to know themselves, God, and love and serve other? So they won’t have to suffer? We are NOT going to answer these questions which will remain in the parental question bank as long as we ARE mortals.

Hark! There is good news! One way we can tilt the scale toward successful parenting is by looking at what the sciences have to offer. How can scientific knowledge contribute to the raising of physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy children? HOW can we tip the delicate scales in favor of successful parenting by culling the sciences for applicable information?

Science can bring the study of SPIRITUAL PARENTING into the 21st century and move beyond the negatively repetitive hit/miss/tradition/myth aspects which tend to be passed on unconsciously from generation to generation, holding us back AND creating rebellion in our youth. It is important to keep in mind this is only one of many avenues which could be discussed in the study of successful spiritual parenting.

Unfortunately many adults – parents and teachers think children learn by listening to the adult and reading out of books. Indeed part of the brain learns that way. That could be called the THINKING part of learning. There are two other aspects of learning which must be incorporated into the learning process to reach the WHOLE child, not just the intellect: the DOING and the FEELING aspects of learning.

In fact, the “…triune brain theory holds that there are three layers to the human brain, representing different stages of humanity’s evolution and the individual’s development. During the first trimester the brain-stem(hind-brain) or reptilian brain which is responsible for breathing, excretion, blood flow, body temperature, and other autonomic functions unfolds. During the second trimester, the mammalian brain – the limbic system, which encircles the top of the brain-stem and is the seat of the emotions unfolds; and during the third trimester the human brain – the cerebral cortex, in the fore-brain, which is the seat of reason, and has to do with the development of the right and left hemispheres of the brain unfolds. ” 134 (Molecules of Emotion)

Thus we have created within us the basis for THINKING, FEELING, AND DOING as we move through life. Our job is to provide for our children avenues of expression and exploration using these three modalities.

The bits and bites of research I will share with you are not presented for you to necessarily remember specific information or research studies, but rather to stimulate a way of thinking about how knowledge from a variety of scientific arenas can be culled to positively uplift the study of parenting.

I am not a scientist, but I have been privileged with a laboratory for many years working with over 100 kids a day. I am not a researcher, but I have been able to observe children of many ages on a daily basis for up to 6 years per kid; I am not an ethnitician, but the stealers, liars, and sweet manipulators are sent to me and we work on their moral development and powers of choice. I am not a licensed councilor. But, I have worked with 100’s of parents as we have tried to figure out how to best provide the necessary nutrients for their children’s physical, mental, emotional, and sometimes spiritual growth. I have been taught a great deal by the grass roots experience provided by my day care laboratory.

Knowledge from the sciences can help in the work of parenting and teaching as the consciousness of our SACRED RESPONSIBILITIES deepens. Information from the sciences can help us provide quality nourishment for the whole child of God who is given into our care – their body, mind, emotions, and spirit. Parents can pool, synthesize, and personalize this information into individual working frameworks for themselves.

Science can also help us break away from subjective emotions or opinions or the way we grew up. Science can help us advance our child rearing practices by giving us a basis through observation to formulate hypothesis of our own, testing them in our everyday life with our kids. It can help bring couples together away from some of their antagonistic and often very different subjective experiences and help establish new and higher ways of living with their children.

Preparing for parenthood ranges from nothing: “It just happened to me and I couldn’t do anything about it”, to high-schoolers carrying a chicken egg around for a week with complete responsibility for its welfare. We are given, however, an example, which probably seems unduly rigorous to us, for parental education from the other continent on that other world not too far from us:
“Permission to marry is only granted after one year’s notice of intention, and after both bride and groom present certificates showing that they have been duly instructed in the parental schools regarding the responsibilities of married life.”

“The home life of this people has greatly improved during the last century. Attendance of parents, both fathers and mothers, at the parental schools of child culture is compulsory. Even the agriculturists who reside in small country settlements carry on this work by correspondence, going to the near by centers for oral instruction once in ten days – every two weeks, for they maintain a five day week.” (The Urantia Book pg. 811/ 72:3.2)

This quote stimulates questions: What is it that parents or parents to be could be studying that would be so crucial to the development of children as to be “compulsory”? How hard is it to learn how to hold and diaper a baby? What would be included in the curriculum of such intense studies for the “Parenting Certificate” before marriage? What required studies could be undertaken that evidently have greatly improved the home life of the people on this nearby planet? I wish they had given us verbatim their curriculum, but we are meant to invent the wheel for this time on our planet.

The same quote also tells us of the Foundation of Spiritual Progress which sends out spiritual advisers and examiners to “…visit each family periodically to examine the children to ascertain if they have been properly instructed by their parents” [72:3.5] We won’t even touch that one!

For more than 50 years scientists in many of the above fields have been producing information based on thousands of studies from all over the world, providing a foundation upon which to THINK about parenting. “Gradually science is removing the gambling element from life.” [88:6.7]

Researchers in the fields of genetics, sociology, psychology, anthropology, education, educational psychology, physiology, anatomy, sociology, sociobiology, nutrition, and lately the neuro-sciences and bio-molecular medicine are observing every aspect of human behavior.

We are going to focus for awhile on what the worlds of bio-molecular and neuro sciences have to offer about our understandings of the unfolding of the brain and the interactions of emotions throughout the body.

And If we have time I want to ZIP through several other realms sharing some of the pertinent knowledge, especially in the fields of NUTRITIONAL NEURO SCIENCE, GENETICS, AND EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY.

Let me say several things before we go into the specifics of the sciences:
1) PARENTAL INTUITION. I have great respect for it and have bowed to it over the years, even when my professional training may have said to do or say something different regarding a child’s welfare.
2) KEEPING A BALANCE. If knowledge from science is taken out of context, made to be the predominant aspect of a particular part of parenting, or exaggerated, the effects can be damaging.

A very conscientious father of a 1st grade girl had read a study which said that if a father, in particular, worked with his daughter on math facts, the groundwork could be laid for a successful career using math. The father was an engineer. So he was giving his first grade daughter up to an hour’s worth of homework on about the 4th grade level and got angry with her when she didn’t get it done. He noticed when he got angry she worked better. She would come into daycare at 7:00 am crying because of scenes. I watched this for several months and finally realized that he was ruining his relationship with his daughter, that she was afraid of his anger, and confronted him with in the deepest terms I could think of. He did not want to have a relationship of fear with his daughter and he decided that his relationship with her was more important than his math ideals for her.

Here’s a question we can all answer YES to:

DO WE WANT OUR CHILDREN TO BE ABLE TO HAVE THE GREATEST POTENTIAL FOR RECEIVING TRUTH? HOW CAN WE PROVIDE AN OPTIMAL ENVIRONMENT FOR THEIR ASCENT THROUGH THE CIRCLES?

Spiritual parenting involves more of a physical, bodily, material aspect then one might think. I believe we are given a formula for deeper understanding about how spirituality works:

“It is to the mind of perfect poise, housed in a body of clean habits, stabilized neural energies, and balanced chemical functions – when the physical, mental and spiritual powers are in triune harmony of development – that a maximum of light and truth can be imparted with a minimum of temporal danger or risk to the real welfare of such a being. By such a balanced growth does man ascend the circles of planetary progression one by one, from the seventh to the first.” (The Urantia Book pg.1210/110:6.14)

What is so interesting about this is that a major part of the equation is based on the physical. We are material beings.
“The biologic unit of material life is the protoplasmic cell, the communal association of chemical, electrical, and other basic energies.” [49:1.2]

And as you know, the brain is the command center for all of these activities.

NEURO-SCIENCE
DIAGRAM OF BRAIN
Because the brain is the command center of all activities, let’s briefly look at how the brain develops and what we can do to take advantage of nature’s programming to establish a life long foundation for continuing development. We will also look how the critical connections are made throughout the body with the most crucial realm of emotion.

The last 25 years of brain research has expanded exponentially with the ability to use brain scan imaging. With PET – Positron Emission Topography scans and MRI – Magnetic Resonance Imaging scientists can actually look inside the living brain with these noninvasive techniques that produce graphic images of what is going on – where energy is being used – where certain functions are happening, and where energy holes are in the brain, holes created by addictions or lack of oxygen because of stroke damage.

Joseph Chilton Pearce, author of the Magical Child, which has become a textbook in educational universities for the study of child development, has for 50 years synthesized the work of the great thinkers and educators from Rudolph Steiner, Piaget, Montesorri with current research in the fields of the neuro-sciences.

Peace says the research shows there are brain growth spurts at the ages of 1,4,7,11,15,18, and 23. At each of these stages the brain, or parts of the brain have specific work to do. “There are critical periods and sensitive periods for several key aspects of human development, including the ability to trust or to feel connected to other people.” (Ghosts – 21)

Critical periods are windows of time in which a specific part of the brain is open to stimulation after which it closes forever. Two functions develop in such critical periods – vision and spoken language. Use it or lose it category.

Sensitive periods describe a less precise period of time when key functions may be strongly affected but not lost forever – acquisition of a second language and math and logic develop in this way and this window of opportunity begins way before the age of 3 years.

There are 13 stages of brain development – one stage builds directly upon the last. More than ½ of the levels occur in the first 24 months of life. By measuring the rate of glucose metabolism in the brain neuroscientists can observe where and when the rapid production of synapses and nerve terminals happen. When glucose production declines, a selective elimination or pruning of excess connections happen. Axons and dendrites not properly reinforced by stimulation are pruned.

Proliferation and pruning are followed by reorganization when newly formed connections are integrated into existing systems. For example Babies whose mothers talk to them in more descriptive language other than goo goo, at 20 months have 131 more words; at 24 months have 295 more words. The more words the baby hears by age 1, the larger the vocabulary will be at age 2 and so forth.

There will be a major difference in the development of language If for two years a baby hears: “See the cute little doggie go woof woof” instead of “That dog is a Labrador retriever. It likes to hunt. It is brown and tan. Feel its fur – it is short and oily so it won’t get cold in the water. Look at its feet. They are webbed so it can swim. Smell the dog – it smells doggie smell. Listen to the dog breathing. Feel its bark. Feel the dog’s tongue when it licks you.” You can sit for hours with your baby and say goo, goo and play patty cake, which should be done also AND you can use language to help the baby begin classification using the senses of touch, hearing, vision, smell, and taste. You may not want to say “Taste the Labrador”.

I saw a video tape of a baby about 12 months “reading” words from large cards. The baby was having fun and responding appropriately when the word “teeth” was shown would point to her teeth and so forth. So along with playing with colored plastic toys 12 hours of the day, what is the harm?

DIAGRAM – OVERHEAD

“The power of the brain grows in direct relationship to the number of neurons and the number of connections between the cells it contains”. (Ghosts from the Nursery pg. 31)

“From the time of late gestation and birth we begin to develop a template of expectations about ourselves and other people, anticipating responsiveness or indifference, success or failure. This is when the foundation of who we become and how we relate to others and the world around us, is built.” (4)

“The brain and its functions emerge as the mediator of human experience; we begin to appreciate the crucial nature of physical, emotional and cognitive care during the first 33 months of human life.: (11 ) Infancy is a crucial developmental stage when an individual forms the core of conscience, develops the ability to trust and relate to others, and lays down the foundation for life long learning and thinking. The quality of the human environment is directly tied to each individual’s ability to love, to sympathize with others, and to engage in complex thinking.”

During the first 12 years is when we have the greatest potential to directly enhance the quality of brain power which will ultimately be applied to language, music, social, emotional, mathematical or logic skills.

DIAGRAM
On the pin head of neuronal connections at 28 week fetus 124 million
Newborn 253 million
8 months 572 million
12 years 354 million (pg. 6)

In other words neurobiologists are saying: “Give the right input at the right time and almost any learning can happen. If a window of developmental programming is missed, you are playing with a handicap.”

BIRDS SINGING: An example is given by scientists at Rockefeller University where there is a birdcage and it’s quiet. The scientists tell us they’ve learned when baby songbirds like these don’t hear a parent singing, when they grow up, they will never learn to sing.” (pg. 32) Fortunately we know that “never” only applies to life on this planet, but even if we can make up for it in the mansion worlds, what a loss of potential.

Around 10.5 – 11 yr. A mystery window opens in the child – a response to awareness of death. This is the beginning of the stage of great yearning to feel something great. There is an openness to nature. Children are naturally with the happenings of nature. They relate deeply to the cycles of nature. They are beginning to ask themselves the question: “What feels bigger than just his life?” They are beginning to feel an emotional connection to something deeper than ordinary life. This is the time for inspiration.

At around 15 a huge brain growth spurt with a 4th brain structure – the pre-frontal lobes kicks in. These lobes have not only to do with computations and creative thinking, but with the development of virtues such as compassion and loyalty. They are sometimes called the angel lobes.

As they move towards 15 they become ready for IDEALS. If they are provided ideals, they will move toward patriotism, or service, or responsibility, courage. If they are not provided ideals and models, they will begin to try on other clothes which will offer them any way to use their energy. If there is appropriate modeling this development proceeds. By late adolescence they are programmed to feel as though something great and tremendous is supposed to happen to them and if they are not given any models or ideals for this stage, they may spend years wondering why something did not happen.

At the age of 18 – 23 they will connect to wisdom through ideals and they will feel the interconnectedness of all life. If we honor their search for ideals, they will be able to create a system of self and universe that will be as great as anything which they can imagine and they will feel LIFE flow through them with all of its potentials. They will know they are involved in a pattern of reality which connects them to all that is real and meaningful in life. It seems that at the Fellowship conference last summer quite a few young adults simultaneously experienced this sense of great adventures connected with the information in the Urantia Book.

Let’s look at some of the information coming from the field of
BIO-MOLECULAR CHEMISTRY
and its impact of our understanding about emotion.

Candace B. Pert, Ph.D, is a Research Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. In her most recent book, Molecules of Emotion, she shares her research in the field of neuroscience .

She uses the term body-mind to define the area of her research which shows how our thoughts and emotions affect each other and almost every aspect of our physical being. This body of information gives new depth to that scriptural citation in the Urantia Book, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” [1445] It turns out that every emotion, every thought we have has a positive or negative affect on cells throughout our body-mind system.

DIAGRAM

We have known since the early 1900s that the brain and body are connected through an electrical system called the electrical brain. It has been common knowledge that the neurons – the nerve cells of the brain – form an intricate system of little transmitters sending out signals as discharges of electricity jump from neuron to neuron. If this process goes as designed, if all of the components and nutrients are in place and working the neural (electrical) energies will be stable (recall the earlier quote regarding “…stabilized neural energies and balanced chemical function…”).

A few decades ago, it was observed when these synapses occurred, certain chemicals affected this process and the study of these chemicals led to discovery in the 1970’s of The “chemical brain”. This second nervous system showed us about a process which affects every cell, organ and system in our body.

DIAGRAM – OVERHEAD

The basic components of this molecular action are receptors and ligands, both of which are found not only in the brain, but throughout the body. . Receptors are molecules made up of proteins, tiny amino acids strung together in crumpled chains looking kind of like a string of beads. Receptors are always found attached to a cell where they float on the surface of the cell membrane…..like lily pads floating on the surface of a pond. These “..receptors function as sensing molecules – scanners. Just as our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, fingers, and skin act as sense organs, so too, do the receptors, only on a cellular level.” 23 ME

These receptors can be described as keyholes, hovering in the membranes of our cells, vibrating, waiting to pick up messages carried by vibrating ligands.

Ligands are natural or man-made substances which binds selectively to its own specific receptors. The ligand bumps onto the receptor and slips off, bumps back on, slips back off. The ligand bumping on is what we call the binding, and in the process, the ligand transfers a message via its molecular properties to the receptor.” [24} This process creates untold numbers of interactions and reactions throughout the body.

. The receptors are the first component of the molecules of emotion. The ligands, specifically the peptides are the second.

There are three kinds of ligands, Peptides, being one of them. Peptides are the ligands that specifically play a role in the emotions. Peptides are tiny pieces of proteins made up of strings of amino acids and they are like words that are made up from amino acids which are the letters. These words come together to make up a language that “composes and directs every cell, organ and system in our body”. [65]

They are informational substances – the messenger molecules which distribute information throughout the body. Peptides are made in many parts of the body, first discovered in the gut. Insulin is a peptide. Gut cell substances that guided every step of digestion and excretion were peptides. [71] In fact in 1996 scientists were saying that the gut harbored a second brain – the first one encased in our skulls. I included some information on this brain in the gut in your packet.

When a peptide lodges or binds to a receptor, like a key in a keyhole, a disturbance is created which tickles the molecule into rearranging itself, changing its shape, and information enters the cell. Pert uses another analogy to describe this process – “two voices – a receptor and a peptide, striking the same note and producing a vibration that rings a doorbell to open the doorway to the cell. She also calls it sex on a cellular level – if you can imagine.

Many minute physiological phenomena at the cellular level can translate into large changes in behavior, physical activity and mood. Pg. 24 This molecular action of binding creates the “… basic units for a language used by cells through the organism to communicate and exchange information across systems…” This binding causes complex physiological changes in the cells which in turn can cause major shifts in the emotions. (Molecules of Emotion, pg. 27)

Remember the UB quotes: “At any moment of time, in the blood stream of any human being there exists the possibility of upward of 15,000,000 chemical reactions between the hormone output of a dozen ductless glands.” {65:6.6]

When the neuroscientists understood how these chemicals are distributed throughout the nervous system theories began about peptides being the molecules of emotion. [72] These neuropeptides are the bio chemicals of emotion. “…these biochemicals are the physiological substrates of emotion, the molecular underpinnings of what we experience as feelings, sensations, thoughts, drives, perhaps even spirit or soul. “ [130]

So let’s attempt to combine this information with the field of sociobiology and look specifically at
EMOTIONS

Daniel Goleman, a psychologist and science writer, author of a best seller, “Emotional Intelligence” discussing new discoveries in brain research which prove “that emotional stability is more important than IQ in determining an individual’s success in life.”

If the emotions stored in the body/mind system are those of self-awareness, self-regulation, self-motivation, empathy, hope and optimism we become endowed with an “emotional intelligence” that serve rather than enslave us for the rest of our lives. The other side of the emotional coin is the more emotional memories involving temper, frustration, anxiety, depression, impulse and fear pile up, the more these stored negative emotions hijack the rest of the brain and our body flooding it with strong and inappropriate emotions causing us to wonder why did I overact.?”

“Darwin speculated that the emotions must be key to the survival of the fittest.” 131 ME
Darwin explained that people everywhere and animals often have common emotional facial expressions. A wolf baring its fangs uses the same facial musculature as any human being when angry or threatened. It appears from the scientific data from the emotional theorists agree that there is clear scientific experimental evidence showing the the facial expressions for anger, fear, sadness, enjoyment, surprise, contempt, shame/guilt and disgust are identical and pan-cultural – regardless of race or culture. They have inborn genetic mechanisms for their expressions 132.

It is essential for parents to understand the basic elements of this process which goes on throughout the body affecting EMOTION, both positive ones and negative ones. There are about 80 emotions mentioned in the UB.

From Ghosts from the Nursery – Tracing the Roots of Violence by Rboin Karr-Morse and Meredith S. Wiley
“….it is the parent or first caregiver who helps an infant establish self-regulation, first by directly maintaining and regulating the baby’s states of physical and emotional arousal and later by teaching and directing the child to self regulate those feelings” 117

Parents do this by reading and responding to their babies hunger cues and feeding them, mimicking the sounds their babies make to “talk”, comforting when the baby is crying, and lowering stimulation when the baby becomes irritated or drowsy”. But depression, mentally ill, retarded, alcoholic/drug addiction, or even more subtle problems such as meaninglessness of life, or unexpressed emotion, can have a profound effect of the parent’s responsiveness to the child’s needs and responses, and subsequently on the infant’s ability to learn to regulate physical and emotional feelings. This is especially true during the first year of life. Babies of depressed mothers show less eye contact and are more withdrawn. They also show less positive behaviors such as smiling .

It would appear that our ability to provide positive experiences for our children can affect their spiritual growth for the rest of their lives.

Let’s look at self regulation, self awareness. . There’s almost no better place to find an example than in the grocery store at the end of the day when a working parent is wheeling a tired toddler just picked up from daycare down the cookie and cracker aisle. Through whines, cries or temper tantrums the toddler is trying to get something.

Which response will help build a higher emotional IQ? 1) “If you keep whining and kicking like that I am going to get really angry and shout at you and we will go home right now, and I won’t ever bring you to the store again.” 2) “I know you are hungry and tired. I am too. Let’s go to the fruit department and pick out a plum. When you make so much noise those people around you feel sad and it bothers them. See them looking at you wondering why you are making such a fuss.”

Or when your teenage son brings the car back with the gas on empty 1) “You are going to be grounded for the rest of the month. You are so inconsiderate. You are never going to have a sense of responsibility.” And then the next Sat. Give him the car because he has to play in the orchestra and pick up his friends who are relying on him. Or 2) “Because you did not fill the gas tank like I asked you to and I ran out of gas today trying to get to work, which created a big problem for my co-workers, I am not going to let you have the car the next time you ask for it. Everyone forgets until Sat. Night when son has a hot date and is supposed to pick her up in ½ hour and really puts the pressure on with lots of promises and tears. You do not give him the car, but offer to drive him on his date.

“Self control, more and more self-control, is the ever-increasing demand of advancing mankind.” 914 UB

“Self mastery is the measure of man’s moral nature and the indicator of his spiritual development.” [1609]

Look at the positive experiences that Jesus’ father provided for him – long walks in the hills. “Emotion is the equivalent of a drug which binds to the receptors in the body and gives information. Positive experiences can release neurotransmitters – dopamine and serotonin – the feel good natural opiates.

If you have pleasant memories of long walks in the woods with your father as a child, you are likely to experience this emotion whenever you walk in the woods for the rest of your life, ”…positive emotional experiences are much more likely to be recalled when we’re in an upbeat mood, while negative emotional experiences are recalled more easily when we’re already in a bad mood.”

Could it be that if a child has enough positive experiences and emotions lodged throughout the body brought on by natural opiates binding to receptors, which are stored and can be recalled by other positive experiences, this might reduce the drug addiction in our young people looking for these positive feel good experiences?

Memories are stored not only in the brain, but in a psychosomatic network extending into the body and particularly in receptors which are distributed all the way out from the spinal cord to pathways to internal organs and even the surface of our skin.

Actual performance is affected by the mood we’re in: “We’re more likely to be helpful to others and perform in altruistic ways wen we are experiencing a good mood.” 144 “What we experience as an emotion or a feeling is also a mechanism for activating a particular neuronal circuit – simultaneously throughout the brain and body – which generates a behavior involving the whole creature, with all the necessary physiological changes that behavior would require.” 145

It was thought for years that the limbic system of the brain is the classical seat of the emotions. So what is new? More recent studies indicate that “Emotions and bodily sensations are intricately intertwined, in a bidirectional network in which each can alter the other.” 142

Do emotions originate in the body or head? Elmer Green the Mayo Clinic physician who had pioneered in biofeedback for treatment of disease had said, “Every change in the physiological state is accompanied by an appropriate change in the mental emotional state, conscious or unconscious, and conversely, every change in the mental emotional state, conscious or unconscious, is accompanied by the appropriate change in the physiological state.” pg. 137

All locations where information from the five senses – sight, sounds, taste, smell, and touch – enters the nervous system have a high concentration of neuropeptide receptors. These “nodal points can be accessed and modulated by almost all neuropeptides as they go about their job of processing information, prioritizing it, thereby causing unique neurophysiological changes.” These nodal points are thought to be hot spots which emphasize that they are places where a great deal of information converges. 142

EXAMPLE: If as a young child a parent is so afraid of their child getting run over in the street and spanks the child severely very time the child looks like they are going to run into the street (instead of one swat), it is possible the child may develop an emotional relationship to “street”, with such attention to the emotion caused by the punishment that the actual ability to evaluate “street” and danger is distorted.

It is now thought by developmental psychologists that any form of overaction by a parent or caretaker creates a lodged emotion preventing the higher evaluation of a situation. When a parent is overly emotional about a problem, the child is paying attention to that parent’s emotion instead of to the problem at hand and the process of the molecules of emotion will be put in action which are likely to occur in other places than the processes of the higher thinking levels in the pre-frontal lobes. AND in later life if the negative emotion has been logged severely and often enough, may return when a similar problem pops up.

To this day I have trouble eating vegetables, especially cooked ones. Our dinner table was a place of emotional trauma regularly; we were poor so food was used as an example of all kinds of moral training and guilt trips. We could be swatted or kicked or yelled at for not eating vegetables. Slowly through my own desire to be healthy and eat vegetables, I am ridding myself of a deep seated reaction to vegetables.

HEART/BRAIN CONNECTION – NEURO-CARDIOLOGY

The combination of the electrical and chemical brain has also been found to be intimately connected to the heart through direct neural and hormonal compounds. The brain and heart are intimately connected. The heart shifts and changes each second by what is going on in the EMOTIONAL BRAIN. They dialogue with each other constantly.

A new medical field called neuro-cardiology shows that 50%-60% of all cells in the heart are like the neuro cells in the brain – they have the same dendrites and axons. The heart is 50% brain matter – to say it another way. Half the heart is connected to every organ in the body. The other half is connected to the EMOTIONAL and cognitive part of the brain.

A negative thought in the mind/brain system has an effect on the heart. Research shows that 5 minutes of anger, frustration, etc. effects negatively the immune system for up to 6 hours. This produces a sympathetic overload on the heart, creating the production of too much cortisone, which is an overpowering poison and a contributor to every major disease. Cortisal overload produces a constant stress on the neuro-cardial system..

EKG’s show that harmony produces profound effects on every organ of the body. Quantum physics now know that these positive effects are produced with every pulsation from the heart or brain. When a baby is separated from it’s mother, the baby’s heart begins to miss beats and will harmonize with the mother’s when brought to the mother. The electrical fields of heart cells can lift each other out of chaos into life. There are fields of energy around the heart which can reach 12′-15′ from the body.

There are information fields produced by the brain. At the first sign of anger or frustration the field become incoherent and looks like an earthquake on a brain wave measure. Remember the quotes on anger: “Fear and anger weaken character and destroy happiness.” [140:5/6] Wrath and anger are “mean and despicable; they are hardly worthy of being called human…..” [4:3.2] “Anger is like a stone thrown into a hornet’s nest.”

I remember a 4th grader boy at our day care who had very low impulse control and self esteem. He had never been trained in the skill identifying his feelings and putting them into words. So when someone did something to him he didn’t understand or like, he would spit at them or hit them. A staff of 12 worked with him for a couple of years and we were making headway, but he still seemed to have a lot of anger bottled up so we thought we would try one of the current techniques in dealing with anger and let him hit a pillow next time he got angry. We didn’t have to wait long and when he began to hit the pillow he was really into getting angry. He began to ask for the pillow more and more often. He forgot almost everything he had been taught about using words to express feelings. He got into the feeling of rage and the stimulation he felt from letting his anger out. We soon went back to words.

Science of Socio-biology
Daniel Goleman, Ph.D – author of the best seller Emotional Intelligence, mentioned earlier
has explored the realms of feeling and emotions. He says: “…when it comes to shaping our decisions and our actions, feeling counts every bit as much – and more often-than thought. We have gone too far in emphasizing the value and import of the purely rational – of what IQ measure-in human life. For better or for worse, intelligence can come to nothing when the emotions hold sway.”

Goleman explains why emotion is more readily accessible than thought:
”Because it takes the rational mind a moment or two longer to register and respond than it does the emotional mind, the “first impulse” in an emotional situation is the heart’s, not the head’s There is also a second kind of emotional reaction, slower than the quick-response, which simmers and brews first in our thoughts before it leads to feeling. This second pathway to triggering emotions is more deliberate, and we are typically quite aware of the thoughts that lead to it.

In this kind of emotional reaction there is a more extended appraisal; our thoughts – cognition-play the key role in determining what emotions will be roused. Once we make an appraisal – “that taxi driver is cheating me” or “this baby is adorable,” a fitting emotional response follows. In this slower sequence, more fully articulated thought precedes feelings.”

It may be in this kind of emotional realm that we can control our thoughts. ” It is our thoughts, not our feelings that lead us Godward”. We can choose our thoughts if our emotions give us a chance.

What do negative emotions do?
“All physical poisons greatly retard the efforts of the Adjuster to exalt the material mind, while the mental poisons of fear, anger, envy, jealousy, suspicion, and intolerance likewise tremendously interfere with the spiritual; progress of the evolving soul.” (1204)

The Heartmath research shows that there is not only a psychological but a physiological effect of negative emotions. I have seen the effect of anger on a child at the day care center. A parent comes to pick them up and they can’t find their coat. Parent gets angry and berates the child for carelessness, etc. and then tells the child to “think” about where they last put it. The child is not attending to where they last put it, but to the emotional state of the parent. If the parent knew their anger was actually slowing down the process of finding the coat and getting home, they might develop an increased awareness of the affect of their emotions on their child I have put my hands on the heart of a child who just experienced a negative emotion coming at them from another child or adult. Their heart is pounding, and yet by the way they appear by just looking at them, you might not know of this pounding heart which is also producing hormones which affect the brain.

If a baby is nursing and being talked to and stroked, the secure, comforting physiological feelings will be lodged in the hippocampus where pleasurable emotion is lodged. If a parent gets angry at a child and shouts when the child has gone poo in their pants, this gets lodged not only in the amygdaloid area of the brain which stores anger and aggression, but in certain parts of the body which has receptors for specific neuropeptides, such as the sexual organs.. It appears that extreme anger at pooing the pants can, cause a confusion between bathroom functions and sexuality.

Emotion and memory have a strong life long connection. “Positive emotional experiences are much more likely to be recalled when we’re in an upbeat mood, while negative emotional experiences are recalled more easily when we’re already in a bad mood. Not only is memory affected by the mood we’re in, but so is actual performance. We’re more likely to be helpful to others and perform in altruistic ways when we are experiencing a good mood.” Pg. 144 “For most of us, our earliest and oldest memory is an extremely emotion-laden one.”

Many female teenagers are having problems with food today – anorexia and bulimia. Food and eating has high emotional impact in many families. Worried parents try to cajole, bribe or threaten their children to eat their vegetables; parents use dinner time to train children in manners, creating resentment with preaching. Too much food on the plate causes as much problems as too little food…..creating guilt if one doesn’t eat all of the food – think of the poor starving…. Perhaps adult food problems can be traced to early memories stored in the brain and body regarding the emotions around food and eating.

My husband remembers a feeling of abandonment when he was 3 years old and his mother left him unattended in a car for hours. He had to deal with issues of abandonment well into his adult years.

An 81 year old friend is working hard on memories of trying to please her mother who dressed her up in doll like clothes and she couldn’t be free and she had to please her mother to get her love. She is now in therapy for co-dependency with an adult child who is abusing her.

Unexpressed emotion is a cause for much sickness. It creates blocks throughout the body. Chakra work – along the spinal cord opens up the blocked energy. We tend to block children’s feelings often: Don’t cry. Boys don’t cry. You are getting to old to cry. Do you want to be like a girl? There is nothing to be afraid of” instead of acknowledging the emotion of fear and helping it to be expressed. When I see a child at the daycare who looks angry, arms folded, closed in, emotion tightly controlled, I will say to the child: “You look really upset. What has happened to you to create this feeling?” Inevitably as soon as the emotion is acknowledged, maybe with a few more open ended non judgmental questions, the child will find words to express what has happened and how s/he is feeling.

Children often get stomach aches and headaches. We would do well to look at emotions that may have created blockages.

Remember Jesus’ response to the only time Jesus ever saw his father angry with him:
“Jesus was startled by his father’s display of emotion; he had never before been made to feel the personal sting of his father’s indignation and was astonished and shocked beyond expression.”
(UB 1371/124:3.8)

HIGHER POSITIVE EMOTIONS
Pert says of happiness: “I believe that happiness is what we feel when our biochemicals of emotion, the neuropeptides and their receptors, are open and flowing freely throughout the psychosomatic network, integrating and coordinating our systems, organs and cells in a smooth and rhythmic movement. Health and happiness are often mentioned in the same breath, and maybe this is why: Physiology and emotions are inseparable. I believe that happiness is our natural state, that bliss is hardwired. Only when our systems get blocked, shut down, and disarrayed do we experience the mood disorders that add up to unhappiness in the extreme.” Pg. 265

“Religious experience is markedly influenced by physical health, inherited temperament, and social environment.” [100:2.6] “Health, mental efficiency, and happiness arise from the unification of physical systems, mind systems, and spirit systems.

“(speaking of new emotions which appeared in the first human being twins:
“But the most remarkable advance in emotional development was the sudden appearance of a new group of really human feelings, the worshipful group, embracing awe, reverence, humility, and even a primitive form of gratitude.” 708

We can provide the environment for our children which will create and store these worshipful memories to be drawn upon for the rest of the lives, if not their eternal career:

“…Jesus impressed upon his apostles the great value of beauty as an influence leading to the urge to worship, especially with children.. The Master by precept and example taught the value of worshiping the Creator in the midst of the natural surrounding of creation. He preferred to commune with the heavenly Father amidst the trees and among the lowly creatures of the natural world. He rejoiced to contemplate the Father through the inspiring spectacle of the starry realms of the Creator Sons. When it is not possible to worship god in the tabernacles of nature, men should do their best to provide houses of beauty, sanctuaries of appealing simplicity and artistic embellishment so that the highest of human emotions may be aroused in association with the intellectual approach to spiritual communion with God. Truth, beauty, and holiness are powerful and effective aids to true worship.”….” The child should be introduced to worship in natures’ outdoors and later accompany his parents to public houses of religious assembly which are at least as materially attractive and artistically beautiful as the home in which he is domiciled.” [167:6.5,6]

“The joy of this [Spirit of Truth] outpoured spirit, when it is consciously experienced in human life, is a tonic for health, a stimulus for mind, and an unfailing energy for the soul.” [194:3.19

The fields of neurosciences, bio-molecular medicine, neuro-cardiology, and socio-biology, show us how our body/mind/spirit is in a constant relationship; how each part of us, each cell is connected and affect others outside of it; and how the whole body/mind/spirit system works as a whole.

LET’S ZIP THROUGH A FEW OTHER AREAS OF SCIENCE BRIEFLY TO GIVE YOU AN IDEA OF THE INFORMATION WHICH WOULD BE USEFUL TO PARENTS AND EDUCATORS. Please remember that each of these fields are huge and that the following little glimpses are just to encourage the study of pertinent information.

GENETICS – Temperament

There are distinctions between emotion, mood, and temperament: emotion – most transient; mood lasting for hours/days; temperament – genetically based. For example Harvard psychology professor Jerome Kagan proved that traits like the tendency to be startled by novel stimuli can be shown most readily in those infants who go on to develop into shy children and adults.

In Ghosts From the Nursery
Studies done by Kaiser Permanente on 8,000 children in Northern California identified nine characteristics that every child has in varying degrees. Temperament characteristics can be influenced by caregiving but are not caused by the quality of such. These 9 dimensions are: activity adaptability, approach/withdrawal, rhymicity, threshold, intensity, mood, persistence, distractability, and sensory threshold.

The doctors grouped these characteristics into three categories of temperament – easy, difficult, and slow to warm up. Parental expectations play a major role in how they and their child fit with each other. This is called “goodness of fit.” 132 GN If a parent expects the new child to be soft and cuddly and loves to be talked to, but the child turns out to be fitful and restless and more interested in the outside world rather than interaction with mother, this creates feelings of failure in the mother which reverberates back to the baby as negative responses. Parents can learn to be accepting of their babies temperaments and interact with the baby in a non-blaming, and value-neutral way, shifting away from self blame to an understanding of the babies needs.

EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY

From brain research – Pearce – Any form of emotional stress- such as reward/punishment – coercion and bribery – shift away from high intellectual structure to a reptilian or training mode. There is a 3 – 5% retention in schools. A Carnegie report said that at the first sign of frustration or anxiety, all learning stops and training mode sets in. From the UB:
“But man is not saved or ennobled by pressure. Spirit growth springs from within the evolving soul. Pressure may deform the personality, but it never stimulates growth. Even educational pressure is only negatively helpful in that it may aid in the prevention of disastrous experiences.” [103:5.11]

True learning, total learning, learning which leads to right actions and relating with wisdom honors the developmental capacities of the child. Educate means to draw forth – to lead forth. Learning occurs when we are able to stay connected through difficulties. It is through experience with difficulties that we learn how to go through them ad solve problems. It is through staying connected through our difficulties that we ourselves learn about core truths. Our job is to help children learn to turn within to find out who they are. We can allow them to evolve their consciousness of who they are and what the world is through allowing them to go through their natural developmental stages, learning that they are valuable for who they are, not for what they do.

MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES – HOWARD GARDNER

In his first book, which quickly became part of university educational curriculum, Frames of Mind, Gardner changed the face of education through presenting after years of research his multiple intelligence theory: that there are separate human capacities, ranging from musical intelligence to the intelligence involved in understanding oneself.. The seven intelligences are:
Musical intelligence – Yehudi Menuhin was smuggles into the SF orchestra concerts by his parents when he was 3 years old. He fell in love with the violin and by 10 years was an international performer.
Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence – babe Ruth at 15 began pitching and from the moment he took the pitchers mound he KNEW he was supposed to be a pitcher. This kind of intelligence includes dancers, tennis players, sports, gymnasts.
Logical- Mathematical Intelligence – in the gifted individual the process of problem solving is often remarkably rapid and deals of course with numbers and ability to analyze.
Linguistic Intelligence – T.S Elliot age that age of 10 created a magazine called Fireside. In a three day period he wrote 8 complete issues with poems, adventure stories, and humor. A certain area of the brain is responsible for the production of grammatical sentences.
Spatial Intelligence – this involves the right hemisphere as the site most crucial for spatial processing. Persons having this intelligence would be navigators, and visual artists.
Interpersonal Intelligence – Anne Sullivan the teacher for 7 year old Helen Keller. The key to Anne’s success with Helen was her insight into the person of Helen Keller. The abilities here have to do with a core capacity to notice distinctions among others such as contrasts in moods, temperaments, motivations, and intentions. Religious leaders and politicians, teachers, therapists and parents show this skill.
Intrapersonal Intelligence – Virginia Wolfe who had a brilliant ability to see and write about the knowledge of the internal aspects of a person: access to one’s own feeling life, range of emotions. Understanding of oneself and ability to express this.
NUTRITIONAL SCIENCES

If we refer back to the quote on balance – it is to the mind of perfect poise, housed in a body of clean habits, stabilized neural energies, and balanced chemical function that the greatest amount of truth can be given with the least amount of danger……

There is much research being done around the world in the great medical universities on the effect of diet and nutrition and certain foods – what they supply and what consequences are for the lack of them, or of tainted ones. This area of food has a lot power to effect people emotionally. Parents were brought up to eat certain things, and these certain things may be tied in with mother love and care. Children are brought up to desire the artificial foods they see on TV and in the store a little one can be heard asking for a box of sugar cereal because of the color of the box or identification with cartoon characters.

It is hoped that as more and more objective scientific information sifts from the medical universities and the science labs that parents will take the information seriously. This is a huge realm and I want to mention three things to help you think about food.
1) Organic: did you know that carrots are planted by farmers to help draw the toxins out of the soil? Do you see why organic carrots are very important? Did you know that pesticides are absorbed by 90% of the strawberries, % of the apples…….

.It has now been found just recently that a toxic chemical used freely in most pesticides and fertilizers around the home cause cancer and the research was so compelling that the research was stopped and a call went out to withdraw all of this substance from the market within a year. It should have been taken off the shelves immediately.

2) Importance of supplementation: In one study ½ of the school children in a classroom were given a multivitamin/mineral supplement. This raised their nonverbal IQ score 25 points.

3) concern over high cholesterol in young children and teens brought on by high salt, high fat diets. If parents are familiar with pertinent research in nutritional sciences, they would know that even an adult shouldn’t have more than 1 TB of salt per day tops. A snackable has over 1 gram of salt per package. It also has more milligrams of cholesterol than is good even for an adult.. Clogged arteries are becoming a big problem even in young teen children. In autopsies 65% of teens have been found to have the beginnings of arteriosclerosis – hardening of the arteries. This is not moralizing, nor personal opinion

4) The concern for soft bones of young people – pops and sodas have phosphates which leaches the calcium out of the bones.

When people have “objective” information they feel they have more of a foundation for action and those actions are grounded in understandings. It seems really hard for parents to say “No” to their child, especially when it has to do with things which seem to have little danger like buying them a Snackable [description] for lunch every day. Everyone else has them, they are easy, they are on TV, what’s the problem?

Diabetes in juveniles is on the rise – it is said now the 75% of the cancer and heart disease rates are caused by life styles. Lack of fiber and too much sugar are thought to be two major contributions to the problem. If parents had the data would they continue to feed their children in such ignorance?

NUTRITIONAL NEUROSCIENCE

A recent article in Psychology Today: “The idea that the right foods, or the natural neurochemicals they contain, can enhance mental capabilities – help you concentrate, tune sensorimotor skills, keep you motivated, magnify memory, speed reaction time, defuse stress, perhaps even prevent brain again – is not idle speculation. Nutritional neuroscience, as it’s called, is barely in its infancy, but it’s already turning up some head-turning findings.”
GOOD FATS

Another important fact from the science of nutrition has to do with the good fats which are needed by the brain. Children today, along with their parents are eating way too much of the Omega 6 fats in the form of trans-fatty acids like margarine and fried foods. Their brains are not getting enough of the Omega 3 fats like found in olive oil, cold water fish like salmon and tuna.

Some research is speculating that the huge increase in ADD could come from the low fat diets of the pregnant mothers along with the high fat fried foot diets of many families. When the brain doesn’t have the right nutrition, certain portions of it can’t be working optimally. “ Few people realize how critical fatty acids are at the molecular level of brain cells in fostering clear and rapid message transmission and energy production that keeps cells alive and vital.”

Studies show that infants breast fed or given formula fortified with omega-3 fatty acids had a higher IQ than infants that did not receive these. Breast milk is very high in Omega 3 Your Miracle Brain pg. 99 A look at 204 three year olds at the University of Houston found that breast-fed kids scored an average 4.6 points higher on intelligence tests than bottle-fed youngsters. Pg. 100 Breast milk is high in Omega 3 fatty acids essential for brain functioning.

“Animal fat, other research shows, distorts the normal configuration of nerve cell membranes, stifles the growth of synapses (communication junctions), and disturbs the biochemistry of neurotransmitters, the message carriers.” 339 Other fats that are harmful if you get too much of them are polyunsaturated vegetable oil such as corn oils that can set up chronic inflammatory responses in brain tissues. Eating trans-fatty acids found in most margarines, donuts, and fast food French fries can foster blood vessel damage that is detrimental to blood circulation in the brain. Two books present the research and information on this realm: Smart Fats – How Dietary Fats and Oils Affect Mental, Physical and Emotional Intelligence by Michael A. Schmidt and Your Miracle Brain – Dramatic New Scientific Evidence Reveals How You Can Use Food and Supplements to: Maximize Brain Power * Boost Your Memory * Life Your Mood * Improve IQ and Creativity by Jean Carper.

In the last chapter of the above book 2 of the ten top strategies for optimum brain function have to do with avoiding the bad fats – the “most dangerous to brain cells and eating omega – 3 type fish oils from fish or supplements. Omega-3 is the evolutionary stuff that formed your brain and with out it brain cells cannot function. Developing brains – in the womb, infancy and childhood-especially require omega-3 type fish oil to construct the best neuronal architecture and biochemical wiring. Such fat is needed to spur growth of dendrites and synapses

PSYCHOLOGY
There are of course 1000 realms for us to choose from as samples from the huge, complex field of psychology. Let us look at just 2:

Remember how the UB talks about the importance of helping your child to choose their heroes: “Wisely help them to choose their heroes…..[140:5.14 Myths offer models for human behavior and usually describe extraordinary heroes and heroines. Myths can provide a child with unique models of courage, bravery, and resourcefulness, success and dealing with challenge. For example mythic tales of Hercules, Thor or Aphrodite can help a 6-9 year old identify with those who have accomplished great tasks. Reading about gods and goddesses can be reassuring just at the time they are discovering that the parents are human and limited; they can transfer to these gods/goddesses the magical and all powerful qualities that they see their parents don’t have. As the child enters into the 10 – 12 year old realms, becoming capable of physical, intellectual, and social achievements of their own, they will be searching for real-life models and heroes to be found in sports figures. This may be a time to bring out the heroism of Jesus. “The most important knowledge to have is the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it.”
I have included an article about age levels and their interest in fairy tales and mythology.

In the science of social psychology, the most recent studies about the health and effectiveness of day care centers show that children in excellent day care settings (excellent day care centers and homes) have developed more skills in socialization, conflict resolution, teamwork, sharing, adjustment to others who are different than they are, and respect for individuals from other cultures than children that stay at home. Knowing this information might help parents feel less guilty at leaving their child at a quality day care center, and some in the area where our daycare center is located, an upper middle class area, have their children attend our day care for enrichment and exposure in just the above skills.

MEDICINE

In the science of medicine, Larry Dossey, M.D., is an authority on spiritual healing and is responsible for introducing innovations in spiritual care to acclaimed institutions across the country. He has found scientific evidence for the healing power of prayer and talks about Era III Medicine in his latest book: Reinventing Medicine. He calls Era III “eternal medicine” because it deals with body/mind/and spirit.

Dr. Dossey presents double blind, randomized, controlled studies which showed that people who were really sick like in the coronary care unit got better when they were prayed for unbeknownst to them. There are as many as 150 studies showing that statistically speaking, there is an effect of distant intercessory prayer on human health. A number of these studies have been conducted at world class hospitals like Stanford and Mt Sinai School of Medicine.

Dr. Dossey goes on to say that when one gets into a meditative, prayer-like, contemplative state of mind several things happen in the body which are health giving: the metabolism slows down, the immune system is refreshed, blood pressure and heart rates subside, blood lactate level falls, and oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production are diminished.

If a parent had any doubts about whether they should pray with or teach their children to pray, these studies along with what the UB says about prayer should convince them that this practice is a MUST for a life long skill:

“Prayer is not a technique for curing real and organic diseases, but it has contributed enormously to the enjoyment of abundant health and to the cure of numerous mental, emotional, and nervous ailments. And even in actual bacterial disease, prayer has many times added to the efficacy of other remedial procedures.” [91:6.2/999]

IMMUNOLOGY AND PSYCHONEUROIMMUNOLOGY
Aristotle said: “The soul and body, I suggest, react sympathetically upon each other.”
There has long been suspected a connection between a state of mind(thoughts and emotion) and a state of health>

The science of immunology has come into its own realm over the last 25 years with the research which created the field of psychoneuroimmunology – the study of the connection between disease in the body and the emotions and thoughts in the mind.

researcher Paul Ekman of the University of California, SF “…has shown that people who willfully contort their facial muscles into expressions of happiness, fear, or anger will soon come to feel happiness, fear, or anger.” Pg. 113 Another immunologist, Nicholas Hall and colleagues reported findings that acting is more than an act. Depending upon whether an actor was acting a depressed role or a comedy role, influenced the responsiveness of immune cells called T and B lymphocytes. “The data suggests a correlation between a role being played and immune responsiveness.:. pg. 113

Q…How could this affect parenting? Ashley Montagu, the anthropologist, said to “Act as if you are loving” when asked how one could become a more loving person.

COMPUTER SCIENCES
have shown how we can be CONNECTED with each other around the world, increasing communication and information intact; studies have also shown the dangers of this world for children. Screen addiction has become a recent phenomena – children that are obsessed by screens – not just TV anymore – the computer screen holds the attention just as much if not more.
Studies have shown that more than 2 hours of any kind of screen for young children may be retrogressive to the development of the brain which needs to use the senses and movement to make more dendrite connections.

This phenomena is usually seen more in the boy children than in the girl child. I can spot a 5 year old screen addict when they enter our daycare center and can’t find anything to do in a huge environment with hundreds of enticing activities, but they know where the computers are and they can’t keep their eyes off them. I have had to put three 5 year olds over the last year on “cold turkey” to break the addiction so that they can function and relate normally, using their imaginations to create play with blocks, to express themselves through the arts, and to build friendships with others through talking and relating.

But the research also shows how valuable it is to have a computer in the home now for the improvement of school work, for typing homework, and for research for papers. More and more colleges are requiring that students bring computers as a requirement for entering. It is important that parents keep up on this fast track science, but of course they can’t read all the journals and magazines that come out about computers and its affects. The information has to be culled for them so they can read a short version and make decisions based on values for their child.Another aspect that research is showing with brain deficiency studies.

SCIENCES OF MANAGEMENT, LEADERSHIP AND ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURES
From the worlds of management, leadership and organizational structure have come several outstanding books: 1) 7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen Covey
. Mr. Covey, a professor of organizational behavior and business management has “…taught millions of individuals and families and leaders in business, education, and government the transforming power of principles or natural laws that govern human and organizational effectiveness”. He has found that these principles operate to bring organization to family structure. Families should incorporate these into their system.

An example of management science which can be applied to the structure of family life is:
To develop a family mission statement, just like organizations do. Questions to ask as this mission statement is put together by the family are: What is the purpose of our family? What kind of family do we want to be” What kinds of things do we want to do? What kind of feeling do we want to have in our home? How do we want to treat one another and speak to one another? What things are important to us as a family/ What are our family’s highest priorities? What are the unique talents, gifts and abilities of family members? What are our responsibilities as family members? Who are our heroes? What families inspire us and why do we admire them?

Many of these are similar questions as a corporation might ask as they form their mission statement. This is 1 of 7 such habits for family management.

Parents can look at some of these principles and incorporate them into family structure. One example of this is dispelling the myth that rigid, controlling hierarchies is the most cost effective and efficient way to run a company (or a family) Quantum physics has found that the chaos theory ……..

QUANTUM PHYSICS

Margaret Wheatley in Leadership and the New Sciences takes scientific theories and applies them to management and leadership principles. She looks at three branches of science – quantum physics, self-organizing systems, and chaos theory.

In the quantum world “….relationship is the key determiner of what is observed and how particles manifest themselves. Particles come into being and are observed only in relationship to something else. They do not exist as independent “thing.” “These unseen connections between what were previously thought to be separate entities are the fundamental elements of all creation.” pg. 10

AN APPLICATION: “In chemistry, Ilya Prigogine won the Nobel Prize in 1977 for his work demonstrating the capacity of certain chemical systems (dissipative structures) to regenerate to higher levels of self-organization in response to environmental demands. In the older, mechanistic models of natural phenomena, fluctuations and disturbances had always been viewed as signs of trouble. Disruptions would only more quickly bring on the decay that was the inevitable future of all systems. But the dissipative structures that Prigogine studied demonstrated the capacity of living systems to respond to disorder (non-equilibrium) with renewed life. Disorder can play a critical role in giving birth to new, higher forms of order.” Pg 11

Let me give you an example from a live lab: a teacher is in charge of a room with about 20 kids playing various games – ball, house, dancing to music. He looks around just in time to see a kid, one who is always in trouble, knock down a fort built by a group of 5 kids. The teacher sends this kid out of the room….he is in trouble again, for the 10th time that day. I see this and decide to stir up more trouble, knowing that further chaos would ensure and great energy would be demanded from me. I called the kid back in and the other teacher and he and I talk. He talks about what the other boys have done to him. He is not an isolated bad guy in this situation, although that is the way we tend to look at these kids who “always get in trouble”. We call a meeting of the other 5 boys and this kid. I ask them to show me in slow motion what actually happened. They enacted it and the only rule was that they had to all agree, including the kid who was the “bad guy.” This took another 15 minutes, but as the reenactment occurred it became obvious that the bad guy was not in it all by himself….as we worked through the chaos with shouting disagreements, corrections, going over it again and again until all agreed with the scene, order and understanding began to come forth from the chaos. We found out that what began in play turned into no fun. We found out when and how that happened. It was a chaotic system, not an isolated event with one kid the bad guy. It ended with 6 boys sitting down telling each other what they didn’t like about what the others did, and what they did like. The only principle was that they had to work on it till they agreed with the scene. After 45 minutes of chaos, energy, the 5 boys had a much enlarged understanding of how they were ganging up on this one kid who was the “goat” and in order to get some attention was willing to be so. As we finished this session I admonished them to go forth trying to do better. No agreements. A few moments later they had included John into their game and all were helping him understand the rules. The other teacher and I left the room with tears in our eyes as we were awe struck by the way cooperation came forth from chaos.

In family systems, one of the greatest sources of deep problems is the inability of the family to go into the chaos and let the process happen such that order will be created out of the chaos. Chaos is frightening. We don’t like it; it is unpredictable; we have no control over it and we can’t necessarily see the outcome. We can come to understand through the science of self-organizing systems a paradoxical truth: “…disorder can be the source of new order”. Pg. 19

“Evolving harmony out of chaos….” [117:7.14 is one of the aspects of a time universe that we will not see when we advance. We see this in families. We get accustomed to a child going through a certain phase – say a toddler. We have all the equipment, the routines, the right size of pajamas, the pre-school, the toddler has learned the rules, sort of, but never really – is always trying to play around the parameters of the rules, but for a few moments, or days, or months, all seems to have been brought in order. The food stays on the tray; we have learned to set the milk back. But that is not the way of the universe – “Every living thing expends energy and will do whatever is needed to preserve itself, including changing.”

Systems scientist Erich Jantsch writes: “within that ‘globally stable state’ a living system is constantly changing. It is ‘a never resting structure’ that constantly seeks its own self-renewal” (1980, 10) pg. 18 If the child is to grow it must change, even go into periods of chaos like they seem to go through when they go from babyhood to toddler-hood – (the terrible twos) or from
In the Newtonian paradigm, how the world works is explained by an examination of the parts: things are taken apart and “by comprehending the working of each piece, the whole can be understood. The Newtonian model of the world is characterized by materialism and reductionism – a focus on things rather than relationships….” pg. 9

“In new science, the underlying currents are a movement toward holism, toward understanding the system as a system and giving primary value to the relationships that exist among seemingly discrete parts.” An”… ancient Sufi teaching captures this shift in focus: “You think because you understand one you must understand two, because one and one makes two. But you must also understand and”. (Donella Meadows, a systems thinker 1982,23) pg. 9

PARENTING CURRICULUM

The need for a parenting curriculum was mentioned earlier. A Science of Parenting would be a big piece of that Curriculum. If it were elevated to the realm of a science, more people may be compelled to study it like they study astronomy or biophysics or psychology. Sciences are overlapping – biology is combining with physics; theology is meshing with quantum physics; neurosciences are intertwining with the sciences of nutrition. When parents understand that at least 1/3 of parenting is a SCIENCE that can be studied, understood and applied to every day life with children, then they will be able to ground their “love”. All parents “love” their children, but this feeling can be moved from the realm of sentiment into the arenas of science with actualities which can be applied to the rigors of every day life.

What if we took the pertinent information from the research of the applicable sciences, which is just one part and incorporated it into a larger structure for a model of SPIRITUAL PARENTING

OVERHEAD
: Since we are told:

“This recital of the affairs of a neighboring planet is made by special permission with the intent of advancing civilization and augmenting governmental evolution on Urantia.” (812/72:12.3)
I would like to suggest that it could be to our collective advantage to begin to speculate on what the “parental schools of child culture” would offer – to begin to offer suggestions for building one model of a curriculum for the parents or parents to be on our planet who want to educate themselves, and who have spiritual values and loyalties.

DIAGRAM
Q.. What factors might be involved in such a model based on some of the universe principles from the UB?

The greatest benefit from our personal and parental lives can come from an examination of our life – bringing to consciousness what we believe, what we live by and for, what our ideals and goals are, where did we come from (origin), where have we been (history), and where are we going (destiny)? If we were to incorporate this triad into a model for a parenting curriculum, we would be studying the fields of genetics as they would apply to our examination of our own personal origin and asking such questions as: 1) Are there any diseases which my child could inherit? 2) What seem to be some of the inherited talents or gifts? 3) What do the studies show about the inheritance factors of disposition and temperament? In a parenting curriculum, aspects of genetics could be pulled out to help parents then study their own particular genetic line.

Concerning their own personal history – parents or PTB(parents to be) would examine their own lives – going over their own history – looking at the environment, physical, mental and spiritual, which made them who they are today; looking at their own parents parenting styles; looking at what influenced them over the years, what decisions they made which contributed to their health, even perhaps what foods they ate and how they were educated. Looking at our history could be a big help in becoming more conscious of the physical, mental, and spiritual environment we would choose to provide for our children rather than doing it on how it was done to us, or what feels good, or what the media tells us we should do.

And the third part is to look at our destiny. We believe that we are on a journey to Paradise, to stand perfect in front of our Father; we believe that we will see our loved ones some day; we believe that the spiritual is more real than the physical; etc. We believe that we are parenting our children for forever.

DIAGRAM
The Urantia book gives us universal patterns throughout the revelation which can be applied to almost any area. And they usually are in the form of triads
Let’s look at three triads which could form layered parameters for a SPIRITUAL PARENTING CURRICULUM:
1) TRUTH, BEAUTY, GOODNESS 2) SCIENCE, PHILOSOPHY, RELIGION 3) BODY, MIND, SPIRIT. .

A Mighty Messenger who “recently visited” a world in the first stage of light and life tells about how the public activities of this world are financed – by the tithing technique – ten % of each person’s income was disbursed as follows: 3% for the promotion of truth – science, education, and philosophy; 3% devoted to beauty – play, social leisure, and art; and 3% dedicated to goodness – social service, altruism, and religion. What appeals here is how truth, beauty and goodness are described.

We in the Urantia community are presented with a cosmology which can have a powerful effect our parenting, and not only do we have added privileges – that of knowing we are raising sons and daughter of God, but we have added responsibilities – it doesn’t just come naturally, not most of it anyway. Our parenting is encompassed by an eternal paradigm. Much of what we read in the UB can be applied to parenting. We are given formulas which raise questions. For example on page 43 we read:
“Health, sanity, and happiness are integrations of truth, beauty, and goodness as they are blended in human experience. Such levels of efficient living come about through the unification of energy systems, idea systems, and spirit systems.”

Through study and preparation we can learn how to bring up our children to live “efficiently” in health, sanity and happiness. We can learn how to unify the energy, idea, and spirit systems. In order to pass what we learn onto others I believe we must form a framework for doing so.

If you are interested in working on such a framework – A SPIRITUAL PARENTING CURRICULUM you can reach me through email: slb@linkzone.com

You can join the family life chat list of the Fellowship: To join send a message to Majordomo@ubfellowship.org. In the body of the message put

We are also look for people who are willing to contribute to the family site on the Jesusonian website: To look at this go to www.jesusonian.org/Jesusonian activities. Scroll down to Site Contents then to Selected Sites and then to Family, Cornerstone of Culture.

 

 

The Science of Spiritual Parenting: Part 2

 

SPIRITUAL PARENTING
and
NEURO-SCIENCE

Part II

Part I published in the last edition of the GGC newsletter, began a 3 part exploration of synthesizing information from research in the field of neuro-science with some guidelines for parents from The Urantia Book. The goal is to attempt to help parents and teachers gain more concrete understandings of how to provide an environment for our children which is conducive to their balanced growth. Last time we talked about how we are programmed for RELATIONSHIP and CONNECTION, beginning in the womb with our relationship and connection with Mother, proceeding outward into the Community though Father. We are hard-wired, so to speak, for connections.

The question often at the top of our minds and souls is, HOW CAN WE PROVIDE ENVIRONMENTS FOR OUR CHILDREN WHICH MIGHT ADD KINDLING TO THE POWERFUL SPARK OF THE SPIRIT?

How can we prepare our children for the reception of TRUTH? We are given a formula:
It is to the mind of perfect poise, housed in a body of clean habits, stabilized neural energies, and balanced chemical function – when the physical, mental, and spiritual powers are in triune harmony of development – that a maximum of light and truth can be imparted with a minimum of temporal danger or risk to the real welfare of such a being. By such a balanced growth does man ascend the circles of planetary progression one by one, from the seventh to the first.@ [110:6.14/1210]

What might we look at to understand balance?

Neuro-science tells us there are 3 parts to the brain which have to do with THINKING, FEELING, and DOING. These three structures are devoted to thinking, emotions, and action. They unfold in utero in 3 stages, each being unfolded during a trimester: first the reptilian brain unfolds; then the Mammalian brain unfolds during the second trimester, and finally during the third trimester, the human brain unfolds, which has to do with the development of the right and left hemisphere of the brain. At birth all 3 brains are working. These 3 cycles continue for the rest of our lives, each cycle or stage of development building upon the former one. If there is a hole in the development needs or a wound in the former cycle, it will affect all other cycles, and the effect, which may be a seemingly small one in the beginning, will just continue to become more noticeable.

At each stage of childhood we can ask: How are we providing our children with stimuli, experiences , and avenues for expression which encourage them to think – take in information, classify it; to feel and express their feelings verbally and non-verbally; and to take action – to create, to explore, to build, help – TO DO?

It is a well coordinated plan in that we have 3 parts to our brain and the universe recognizes the need to teach to all three parts. We are given only a hint in a couple of sentences about two educational systems which are built on these three innate functions. Five hundred thousand years ago at the Prince=s headquarters in Dalmatia: A Fad sponsored the Dalamatia plan of teaching that was carried out as an industrial school in which the pupils learned by doing, and through which they worked their way by the daily performance of useful tasks. This plan of education did not ignore thinking and feeling in the development of character; but it gave first place to manual training.@ [66:7.1/751] At the other end of the spectrum in the mansion worlds the advanced cherubim conduct the morontia educational system: A…such school are organized in three general groups of one hundred divisions each: the schools of thinking, the schools of feeling, and the schools of doing.@ [48:5.6/551]

. What does this mean for our toddlers, our school agers, our high school and college youth? Let=s look at some concrete examples. With babies and toddlers it is easy to goo back at them, to give them safe toys of all different kinds of plastics and bright colors, and to allow them to crawl and walk and run, to hold them and let them feel our love. But maybe we ignore the tremendous potential for taking in information and classifying it with language symbols (thinking). When we are telling a toddler about the big black doggie, let us consider extending the ability to think by saying: That black dog is a Labrador.@ They can not say this back to us, but their brain is programmed to take in the language and store it for use later. This is the beginning of THINKING. When we talk to an unhappy toddler about his/her feelings, we are likely to use limited language: You are unhappy or mad or happy and glad.@ Perhaps we could be more specific and help the toddler extend their ability to express their feelings (some day) in more specific language: You are frustrated; you feel lonely; you feel content and comfortable. And then let us be sure we create situations where they may feel exhilarated like freely running without being stopped. And in the realm of doing, instead of just surrounding them with bright colors of plastic things, most of which feel the same, we could let them play in a pile of leaves (preventing them from eating the pile), or put some brown earth clay in front of them to feel the squishyness (preventing them from eating it)…you get the idea.

For school agers (5 years – 12 years) we can make sure that they are doing more than just sitting in desks taking in abstract information that may be irrelevant to them. If the child comes home with the 100th ditto, this one about money with little pictures of pennies, dimes, nickels, quarters drawn, the main teachers – the parents – can get out the real stuff and let the child feel it and count it. I have heard of some families who cash their whole paycheck and lay out the money along with the bills and show the kids in concrete reality how the money looks when it comes in, and where it goes. This is adding the realm of DOING to the realm of THINKING. And part of the money could go to a charity adding the realm of FEELING good about helping others.

When we climb mountains or go to rivers or the desert with our children, we give them a chance to FEEL these environments instead of just read about them in books. When we take them to help feed homeless people at a shelter we give them a chance TO DO something about their desires to help others. When we turn off the TV and play chess or monopoly, we challenge them to THINK, instead of be passive receivers of information.

There is no end of examples for youth of all ages. The most important thing is for us to realize the importance of BALANCED growth – to set them up for traversing the psychic circles which can only be done in a balanced way. And that neuro-science is telling us we are programmed, hard wired, for this kind of balanced, progressive development. Knowing this makes it more concrete for us to understand how beautiful is the patterning of the universe and that we can work right along with these patterns as we raise or teach our children.

In the third part of Spiritual Parenting and the Neuro-Sciences we will talk about how neuro-science has shown us the connection between head and heart LITERALLY!! Tune in to the next edition of the Golden Gate Circle newsletter – Developments. It would enrich my understandings if you would be willing to interact with me – questions, ideas, problems, or conflicts. My email: slb@linkzone.com.

In God’s cosmic family,

Sara