Social activist and former First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt was widely quoted for the saying,
Great minds discuss ideas;
average minds discuss events;
small minds discuss people.
I am painfully conscious that these days, as a stay-at-home mum wrapped up in tutoring my 17-year-old daughter, I don’t have much in the way of ideas to discuss with my partner, except perhaps how to deal with a defiant, fiery and mathematically gifted teenager or my recipe of the day. But bless him, he always asks me how my day went and is always genuinely interested in the minutiae of my very small life.
So I make an effort to read up on subjects peripheral to his main areas of interest. I sat here, in the sunny balcony overlooking the French villages clinging on the rock face, reading.
After our usual conversations (and squabbles), he asked of me, “Read to me.”
And so I read him a paragraph from this book:
Connectomes are maps of the human brain, aiming to connect its structure to function and behaviour. Scientists have long suspected that features of human mental behaviour – from general abilities like intelligence to afflictions like depression and schizophrenia – correlate to specific features of the brain. However, to date they have lacked the precision tools necessary to fully investigate these hypotheses. Once equipped with the ability to construct human connectomes, scientists will be able to effectively address fundamental questions about how human brain physiology correlates to abilities and behaviours.
Here’s my interpretation of connectomes and why it is so important to wire our children’s brain positively – with love and kindness – in childhood:
A few weeks ago, I wrote about lying in bed in my grown-up children’s house, looking at the solar-powered globes outside the slats, amongst the flowers of the hanging baskets. In the moonlight, those globes looked as if the whole universe is contained within their spheres.; they were utterly magical.
She, my daughter, got the subconscious love of solar powered globes that contain the universe within them from my mother. My mother’s garden, an enchanting place of my children’s childhood, is filled with globes such as the one my daughter sought and bought for her London home.
She was our first daughter, and we scrimped and saved and bought her fairytale dresses. She still wears fairytale dresses, looking like a princess in her busy, practical London life, working in a small firm of interior designers and living in a small flat with angel statue and universe globes in the garden. They become her, the enchantment of her childhood years, that she wears them with grace and serenity.
How you wire your child’s brain becomes his or her de facto adult programme. Speak with love and gratitude to children, and they will become adults who bring joy and kindness to their loved ones in future with their words. Complain and show your dissatisfaction throughout their childhood years and they will grow into discontent adults who speak with harshness and cruelty.
It doesn’t require science to tell you this – how you speak to your children becomes their inner voice. Speak Love.
Related article: Raising a magical girl