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No Parroting Allowed!

Learning Emergence by Asking Questions



Emergence Group Babies

"Separating From Children"

Questions for the Week of February 5, 2007



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When asked, "how do you best learn?" most people usually respond with either a technique, like, "in a classroom," or by naming their favorite sense, like, "I learn best visually." Unfortunately, this implies most people define "learning" as the ability to parrot the correct answer.

What is wrong with this? We believe that "parroting the correct answer" creates parrots, not students; dullards, not Einsteins. So how can we create more Einsteins? We believe, by asking questions which are intended to provoke the student's own questions. More important, we see this as the best way with which to reawaken in students the love of learning.

This week's topic is, "Separating From Children." Would you like to awaken your love of learning about this topic? You can, simply by reading the teacher's questions and then, by asking yourself, "what questions did these words just provoke in me?"

"Separating from Children"

Well, Aidan is asleep and Jack is at a play date with his cousin, so I have high hopes that I will get these questions done. To bring you up to speed, Aidan came a week and a half early at 7 lb. and 3oz. He was just under 20 inches long. He has lots of black hair and a dimple in his left cheek just like Jack and Daddy. Jack adores him and wants to hold him and look at his poopy diapers. Overall, many things were and were not at all what I had expected. Dangerous thing, having expectations where unpredictable humans are concerned.

Expected: Aidan looks just like I pictured him. I could picture him at various points throughout my short and relatively painless labor. Before the bliss of my epidural, I experienced some contractions which were actually good. I watched them go up and down, on the monitor, like a sine wave. Like a P-Curve even. I also watched the clock and sat / squatted, and this helped immeasurably! When I had to lay down on my side or back, the pain was much worse. After the epidural, I was able to picture the cervix opening up like a flower in bloom (Inetta's image, good one Netta!) and could talk to Aidan. I told him to come out now, Daddy and I have been waiting for you! Aidan came out and began to nurse as soon as they handed him to me!

Unexpected: Aidan is different from Jack in that he just is. I can't explain it. I did not expect my reaction regarding the newborn experience between my two sons to be so different. I think that I am more conscious of Aiden and of his needs than I was with Jack. Moreover, his needs don't upset me as often. Not that they don't distress me. But I am better able to still see my own needs in the face of his. Of course, at times, they do conflict. But I am not reacting out of shock, more like I am making a conscious choice to take care of my crucial needs (eat, use the bathroom) in the space of a few minutes, and then I can attend him much calmer. It helps that my mom has been handling the house, the meals and Jack for the most part. There in lies my trouble. I figured Aidan would be easier because he is my second child, and I generally feel more confident.

The Teacher's Questions (asked by Jen F.)

  • Is it possible to stay conscious in the presence of a one (Aidan), a three (John) and a four (Jack) and still not become overwhelmed as a two?
  • How can I learn to picture meeting my own needs (e.g. time for myself to do things without children, such as yoga, work, continuing ed classes) and still be able to take care of everyone who needs me.
  • Is it ever going to be all right that I am forever separate from my children? I am aware of the sleep deprivation playing havoc on my mood; I still feel the disconnect of the birth moment when Aidan left my body and became his own person. Being alone is not nearly as crushing as it was when Jack was born. But I still hurt. All the disconnect in my life is painfully vivid right now, from everyone in my home, to the neighbors and friends that have "let me down" over the past few months. I feel most alone at night when Aidan cries and cannot be consoled (for all of a few minutes and then he looks at me and stops crying, it is really cool).
  • I know my job is to prepare them to leave me one day. I somehow can't picture it feeling all right. How can I? (I can picture my sons going off to college, moving to their own home, and getting married and feeling very proud. But right now, all I can think about is how tired I am and how the hell will I take care of them, keep them safe and healthy and take care of my own needs.)

Sample Student Response Questions (asked by Ed)

  • What is pain and how is it experienced? Are all needs painful? Is the actual experience of "need," "pain?"
  • Why do we experience our needs so intensely? Are they really all that important? If so why?
  • How can we build our ability to consciously experience our unmet needs, while in the company of others?
  • Is it possible to satisfy the needs of more than one person at a time? Three people? Four?
  • Is it possible to find the fractal in a group’s needs and address that? Like finding a thread of similarity?
  • How does something become a need, and where does the energy go when it is satisfied?
  • Is a need that is not consciously satisfied, a short circuit in the person? Is that how every symptom is a BLocked need?
  • Will consciously experiencing having our needs being satisfied help make us less needy?

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