Taking A Stand Can Be ScaryWritten by Lisa M. Hendey
Taking a Stand Can Be Scary Book Review –Lenny Loses His Lunch by Dan Taylor and Damon J. Taylor Reviewed by Lisa M. Hendey
“If all of your friends were going to jump off a cliff (or insert your own preferred outrageously dangerous behavior here), would you follow them?”
What parent hasn’t used this line at least once, or had it used on them? We all know about perils of peer pressure and want to guard our children against them. We also recognize that this can be one of parenting’s most difficult challenges.
In their new book, Lenny Loses His Lunch (Kregel Kidzone, May 2005, hardcover, 32 pages) authors Dan Taylor and Damon J. Taylor give parents of children ages five and up a fun way to discuss importance of taking a stand when faced with negative peer pressure. This newest tale in “God Can Use Me” series is a fun retelling of biblical account of Daniel in lion’s den.
Lenny is a lion, but not a very brave one. He tends to be a follower, choosing to participate in activities other lions pursue, even though they go against his own tastes and conscience. All too often, he crumbles under peer pressure of other lions and makes wrong choice.
Growing Good PeopleWritten by Dr. Randy Wysong
At age seven months in womb, humans begin language coordination in response to what they hear through mother’s belly wall. Some 52 muscles learn to respond to various phonemes (a basic language sound like 'b' in boy and 'm' in man) of language surrounding that belly. There are also studies showing that emotional state of parent imprints as do things like music and other environmental conditions. Nutrition, drug use and pollution spill right through directly to fetus via placenta and umbilical cord. Parenting begins way before bassinet.
At eighteen months, child has a brain 1/3 size of an adult but same number of neural connections. These connections are called synapses and relay information – outgoing from nerve cell through axons, ingoing by way of dendrites. It is number of connections of nerve cells that relates to intelligence, not number of neurons.
As brain grows, by age 6 we have about five times neural connections we do as adults. These trillions upon trillions of connections are there waiting to be imprinted by environment, parents and society. This is probably reason, some 2000 years ago, church started sacraments at ages 6 or 7. (It is remarkable how so many 'new' scientific discoveries were anticipated by intuitive traditions of, what we believe to be, unsophisticated minds of past.) Beginning at about age 12, fatty myelin sheath covering connecting neuronal tendrils not used, are literally dissolved, absorbed into cerebrospinal fluid. Thus 80% of neural brain mass present at age 6 is gone by age 14 as a result of disuse. Further belittling is fact that of remaining 20% of brain, we only use 5%. That means, of our full potential, we only use about 1%! (For evolutionary materialists out there, please explain to me how something as complex as a brain – infinitely more complex than anything humans have ever invented – developed so that 80% of it could dissolve and 95% of what remains go unused.) This 'devolution' of brain applies to neocortex, that big part of brain with all folds and grooves that humans are so proud of because that's where all our smarts (are supposed to) come from. The more 'primitive' parts of brain, 'reptilian' brainstem and limbic systems responsible for stimulus-response sorts of actions and emotion-cognition, remain intact and do not experience this loss. In other words, our ability for 'fight-flight' (running from predators), self-awareness (me, I, look at me), sex (fun stuff and children hatching), eating (wouldn't want to miss that) and road rage (essential in modern living) are never at risk, just our ability to be intelligent about all that base reptilian stuff is. Nothing new here, right? Is it not clear which parts of human brain are in full function today? Just watch a little television, listen to 'with it' music, go to some movies and pick up some of tabloids at grocery counter and you'll see human brain stem has suffered no melt-down. But that 3-pound blob on top of it, seat of intelligence, is evidently just filling up space.
What is primarily responsible for making and holding neural connections is not what we can beat into our kids with rules, instructions and performance pressures, but what they experience around them. At least 95% of imprinting a child receives, neither child nor parents are aware of. Who we are emotionally, ethically and intellectually at our core in our day-to-day routines as parents – not what we pretend or preach – is picked up by child as its most important lessons and is then 'neural connected.' So telling a child to be something we are not doesn't work. If we want better children, then we must be better people. This also speaks to importance of a loving and nurturing family nest. We learn love, in large part, by experiencing it. The erosion of family in our libertine society thrusts child into a peer group for imprinting. This begins with technological births in hospital wards, then continues with isolating infants in their own bedrooms, pseudofood in bottles with nipples, television, day-care, broken homes and on to public schooling…you know, 'modern' way to rear kids. The premature unfolding of development is accelerated through exposure to adult themes pressing in from everywhere in our society. Menstruation is beginning in 8-year-old girls (partly result of hormone-type pollutants in food), there is an outbreak of pregnancies in 9-year-olds, and violent sex crimes among children under age of 10 are becoming common. Children are being thrust into full operational adult thinking way before they are capable of handling it properly. That is why some 70% of teenagers are functionally illiterate: they may be able to learn, but cannot grant meaning. They have not been properly imprinted, don't have sufficient life experience for context and don't have neural connections.