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On Raising Children

the Emergence Explorer

Questions for the Week of May 1, 2006

these questions were based on the article
"The Conscious, Subconscious, and Unconscious, a New Look at an Old Metaphor."

Emergence Character Type Babies 9-AI-2

This Week's Questions

[posed by David A.]
  • What does the phrase, "before age-seven time" mean?
  • How can parents learn to recognize when their children have been injured?
  • What are the basic steps for helping our children to heal these injuries?

Do you know?

[Question 1] What does the phrase, “before age-seven time” mean?
[Answer] In Emergence Personality Theory, peoples' sense of how time passes can be roughly divided into two types, [1] before age-seven time and [2] after age-seven time. Basically, these terms refer to the two separate and distinct ways in which we human beings consciously witness the progression of our life events. And to the approximate age at which we develop the second type of witnessing. What's the difference?

Before age seven, children experience and record their life events as if their lives were being lived out scene by scene. Here, children experience each life scene as if it was unaffected by the previous scenes. Or by any future scenes.

In a way, these snippets of recorded life experience very much resemble the individual scene in movies, in that they neither begin nor end the story but rather are the building blocks of a larger life story. Which is exactly what children are doing in those first seven years. They are assembling a library of visual building blocks which they then later edit into a whole life story. A history of their movie, so to speak.

This focus on recording scenes begins to change at about age seven, which is the approximate age at which children learn to tell watch and clock time. Here, children, for the first time, learn to experience time as a sequence of scenes, rather than as separate and distinct, and seemingly unrelated scenes. Thus, at about age seven, children begin to assemble the scenes they have been recording before age-seven into multi-scene, life movies. This results in them, for the first time, being able to experience cause and effect, and this changes the way they experience everything in life, including everything they think, feel, say, and do. Especially with regard to "why" things happen.

No coincidence we call this later time, "chronological time." In essence, it implies we can logically experience time. And so we can. At least, whenever we are able to experience after age-seven time.

[Question 2] What is the significance of this phrase when raising a child?
[Answer] Parenting children before age-seven requires that you teach by association, in essence, that you use techniques similar to what Dr. Pavlov used in his experiments with dogs. By this, I mean, before age seven, children have little to no ability to learn from their mistakes. Why not? Because they cannot ask themselves, let alone answer, why they do what they do. Why not? Because they cannot tell time. Therefore, they cannot grasp how things unfold in time. Including how their behavior affects their life and the lives of others.

Most adults cannot imagine experiencing life this way. Ironically, they should be able to because most injuries occur before age seven. Therefore, most adults, regularly and frequently, experience before age-seven time, each time they regress while reliving their childhood injuries. Which happens to all of us, each and every day.

Of course, when we do, we lose all access to any knowledge we acquired after the injury, including our awareness of after-seven time. Pragmatically, this means, each time we regress, we lose access to our ability to infer logical causes.

Without this sense of "cause and effect logical time" then, we become much like pre-age seven children, in that we lose our ability to learn from our mistakes. Including that we can even see this loss of time consciousness happening. We literally cannot remember regressing afterwards. At least, the part which includes our loss of after age-seven time skills.

Know this is what makes us keep making the same mistakes over and over. And what proves beyond a doubt that we have regressed rather than been again injured. This in fact, is what makes "repeatedly reliving the same painful life events" an Emergence BLock Marker, the sure sign an injury exists.

The point is, before children learn watch and clock time, they cannot learn from their mistakes, other than to associate good or bad feelings to them. Thus, parenting pre-age seven children requires parents develop teaching techniques which appeal to their children's sense of association rather than to logic. Translation. Reward and consequences work before age seven. Appeals to reason and logic do not.

One last thing. Parents who believe they are doing their pre age-seven children good by asking them to make their own choices are potentially putting them at great risk for injury. Why? In order to understand how to make choices, children need at least some sense of chronological time. Otherwise they simply guess at what they want, most times to simply please their unknowing parents. Unfortunately, because most parents never learn to see this happening, most children incur many, many injuries to their ability to make choices. Which is why most adults regularly and frequently make poor choices. And never know why.

Finally, know this topic is huge, and one which would require a whole book to answer comprehensively, if then. Thus, the brief answer I just offered is meant more as a door opener for more questions than an answer itself.

[Question 3] What is a baby’s first experience at birth? Does an injury take place?
Yes, David. A babies first experience is to get injured. And this is the basis of The Layers of Aloneness, our personality theory.

What is this birth wound like? It is simply that babies (and mothers) experience a rapid sequence of connect, alone, need. In other words, they rapidly and without choice transverse Layers 10/9, 8, then 7. In effect, babies and mothers remain connected (remain in Layers 10 / 9) until the instant in which they physically separate. In this instant then, pretty much everyone in the room stops breathing for a moment. Except for the baby, who has yet to breathe for the first time.

I call this moment, the "Still Point" moment, in that it literally resembles what it would feel like if the world stood still.

In the next instant then, in the instant wherein the baby begins to breathe, the baby and everyone else in the room move into Layer 7, the Layer of Need. Here, everyone feels strong urges to do something; to help, to comfort the mother, to cry, or to touch the baby. That no one notices these events is not surprising. They occur under great stress. And they occur extremely rapidly.

Moreover, because we all get born, we all have this injury. This, in part, is what makes seeing it happen to a baby next to impossible.

What I'm saying is, we have all been programmed with the sequence of this experience, the experience of [1] connect to [2] alone to [3] need. Moreover, it can take a person a whole life time to learn to consciously choose to experience the heart of this experience; the Still Point moment, even a serious mediator.

Ironically, we all visit this very moment, many times each day. When? Every time we go into shock abruptly. Few of us ever learn to see this moment for what it is though, as the shock of the birth wound prevents us from seeing it.

Finally, know that the most important thing of all to know about the birth injury is that it programs into us the pattern by which all other injuries occur. Everything from what we see as being primarily physical injuries, all the way up to and including all of our spiritual injuries. Moreover, while we cannot heal the birth injury itself, we can heal our access to noticing it happen. This noticing, in fact, is the basis of everything we do in Emergence, from our theory of the mind to our talk and paper therapies.

[Question 4] What do parents experience at their child’s birth?
As I just told you, parents, and every other adult present, experience a baby's birth injury right along with the baby. They literally resonate with the baby, similarly to how when two similarly sized bells are in proximity, one bell ringing can cause the other to ring even without it being touched. Moreover, because all those who witness the birth are witnessing a being who has yet to have any BLocks, what they witness in the baby is the pure essence of our humanity. In other words, by witnessing a baby being born, we witness the essence of our whole personalities, including the essence of every single wound we will ever incur.

[Question 5] Why is it fruitless to explain concepts to a 2 or 3 year old?
[Answer] Let me start my answer by telling you a story.

Like you, I grew up Catholic. When I was seven, I made my First Holy Communion. Prior to this year, the Church had considered age seven children too young to make Communion. Why? Because they believed they were too young to discern right from wrong. In their language, they were too young to commit a mortal sin. Which was their way to refer to life-time-sized wrongs.

In the year I made Communion though, this changed, in that the Church decided that children at age seven could tell right from wrong. And thus, they were responsible for their sins. Imagine! This meant they saw age-seven children and older as capable of receiving First Holy Communion. And culpable for their sins, both mortal and venial. Something which sane people, Catholic and no Catholic alike, now question. And rightfully so.

My whole point for telling you this story is this. The Catholic Church named what they decided, "happens to children at age seven. They named it, the "Age of Reason. And despite the obviously misguided attributions of sin to these young children, they were, in one respect, very right. Age seven is the age of reason, as they put it, the onset of consciously knowing chronological time.

Now consider what the word, "chronological" means. "Chrono-logical." It means having a "logical" knowledge of "chronos." And what the heck is "chronos." The Greek name of "Father Time."

As for your question about learning concepts, know that most concepts require students to have a sense of chronological time. Teaching concepts to a two or three years old is fruitless then, in that while they may learn to parrot your words back to you, they will never actually grasp the concepts. At least, until they reach the Age of Reason. Age seven.

[Question 6] How can we teach our children to visualize?
How can we teach them to visualize <grin>? David, it would be more accurate to ask me, "How can we get them to teach us to visualize."

Children live in the visual world. Why do you think they walk around so wide-eyed all the time. In fact, watching peoples' degree of being wide-eyed is a very useful tool, and a great way to know how visual they currently are. Why? Because our physical responses and psychological responses mirror each other. What I mean is, you can roughly tell the visual intensity of what is on the screen of a person's mind by how wide-eyed they are. We literally act as if we looking at something out in the real world.

No coincidence, children frequently are wide-eyed. Therefore, it is not them who need to learn to visualize. It is us, the frequently narrow-eyed adults.

[Question 7] At what age should we want our children to visualize / picture?
[Answer] As I wrote in the previous answer, young children have no need for this instruction. They visualize far better than we do. After age seven though, as children increasingly experience life as strings of logical sequences rather than as life images, they begin to lose their screen-of-the-mind, visual acuity.

After age seven then, children will increasingly benefit from any attempts we make to teach them to visualize. No surprise, Elementary School teachers frequently use visual aids. And that children frequently love them. Why we stop doing this is beyond me other than to see it as the proof for how visually unaware we adults become.

[Question 8] What is the value in reading to our children?
[Answer] Everything in the human mind is stored in visual threads of similarity, what Nineteenth Century personality theorist Pierre Janet called, "automatisms." In essence, these mental threads are visual snippets of a child's life experiences, which then become the raw materials with which each and every adult constructs their sense of life. This sense of life is, in essence, a series of life movies, each directed and edited by the person, them self.

So what is the value in reading to children? Reading to a young children stimulates their visual abilities, including their visual recording and recalling abilities. Translation. Reading exercises children's very ability to learn. It also helps them to remain alive and excited about the wonder in life. Which then motivates them to want to learn everything from reading the history and science of our world to personally searching for a meaning to their lives.

Reading is very important. So important it should never stop. Not even for adults.

[Question 9] Is it more important for children to understand the pictures or the words in books?
[Answer] The pictures. The words are mere captions for life. The pictures are life itself. Then again, without captions, we cannot communicate to each other. Nor, even, to ourselves. You see, we communicate to ourselves largely by hearing words in our heads. In other words, we experience the pictures then assign meanings largely by captioning these scenes. Un captioned scenes usually have little meaning. At least little useful meaning. Except, of course, for picture of things which are beyond words, things like the Grand Canyon and watching babies being born.

[Question 10] What are the basic steps for helping children to heal injuries?
[Answer] Of all the things you've asked, this question is the most complex. And the one that requires the most learning and practice. In essence, you must [1] learn to recognize "over" and "under" reactions to otherwise ordinary life situations, [2] learn to "allergy test" children to determine their exact key or keys, [3] learn to help there children to experientially return to a representative wounding scene, and [4] learn to stay maintain an active connection to these children, while at the same time slowly and gently helping them to emerge from whatever shocking instants these wounding scenes contain.

The good news is, most parents can learn to do these four things, given they are willing to learn by experiencing these four things for themselves. And given they have a good guide for this learning process, a guide who can teach you to blamelessly witness your own suffering.

[Question 11] How can parents recognize when a child has an injury?
[Answer] They can learn by first learning recognizing the onset of when their child goes into shock. This best happens when parents first learn to recognize the onset of shock in themselves, and then, by learning to see this same thing happen in their children.

How can we learn to see this onset? By learning to set aside why-logic explanations for our painful life events. Which will then reveal the essence of these events, which is always the same thing; the sequence of hyperawareness, startle, shock. The wounding sequence.

How do you learn to see this whole sequence? By learning to watch for over and under reactions. First, in yourself. Then in your child. For instance, I recently had a father tell me, he believed his year and a half year old son had an injury in and around having his diaper changed. He knew this because his son was over reacting to having his diaper removed. Once the diaper was off, everything was fine. It was just having the diaper removed that keyed the boy.

As both parents are familiar with the basics of Emergence, they then successfully helped this little boy to heal what might have been a very potentially difficult to heal injury. Why? Because it turned out that the boy was reacting to being on his back and having his legs lifted while his knees were pulled back. At the very least, this would have biased him against doing things which required him to use this particular body movement, everything from sit-ups and leg raises to having to crawl under a car or a sink to fix it.

Makes you wonder how many folks have this very injury. And feel sad about how most parents never learn to see their children's injuries, other than to see the symptoms.

[Question 12] Why do toddlers become so attached to an object (i.e., to a blanket, book, doll, or ball).
[Answer] Wow! Deep question. To begin with, I will assume you are referring to young children and not to ten or twelve year olds.

For these young children then, these objects become other "beings." In other words, all young children practice a form of shamanism, a practice which centers on deliberately seeing all things on the Earth, both organic and non organic, as other living beings.

Why do this? Because, while we arrogantly believe we are the only intelligent life here on Earth, we certainly are not. Babies and shamans know this all too well. As we age though, and as our visual acuity dims, we lose this knowledge. Along with our ability to connect to things other than to beings how look like we look. You know, to things with mouths and eyes.

Eventually then, because we lose our ability to connect to most other things, we simply write them off, at least as far as their having consciousness. In truth though, every single thing on the planet is infused with consciousness. We simply fail to know this because we lose our ability to connect to these things.

Shamans learn to override this part of human nature; the loss of this ability to connect, simply by deliberately choosing to personify each and every thing on the planet. In doing so, they get to connect to every single thing on the planet. And to feel the wonder and awe in everything on the planet. Which bring us, finally, to your question about why toddlers can become so attached to their blankets and dolls. To see why, you need to see how shamans come into being.

What I mean is, most shamans are born, not made. They are tortured into existence. Not taught into existence.

More specifically, the torture which creates most shamans is that they suffer great aloneness as children. This prevents them from developing normal connect-to-people skills.

As no human being can exist without these connections for very long, toddler shamans-in-training simply continue to personify the objects around them well into adulthood, everything from talking to trees and clouds to understanding animals and insects.

As for normal babies, blankets are a favorite nurturing "being" to babies. And when the baby's parents are absent, the blanket keeps the baby company. How can I be so sure? Ever peek in on a toddler, in bed and awake, and having a conversation with their teddy bear or "blankie?"

Sadly, despite the fact that most of us witness these kinds of scenes. few in any of us ever recognize it for what it is. In other words, the truth about human nature is frequently right in front of our noses. Most of us are just too arrogant to see it. Or too injured and lost in our self centered why logic.

Babies are great teachers. If only, we can see them as the great and wise teachers they all are.

Emergence Character Type Babies

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