Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

"A picture is worth a thousand words."

When I saw Silvia Simpson's (of Silvia's Photography)  photograph of my daughters (above), I new it was time to start creating my vision of Sensational Children. The picture just screamed, "SENSATIONAL CHILDREN"and everything that needs to be done to make sure children remain sensational!

Dr. Gabor Mate writes about how the disfunction of the world can be mirrored in an individual (In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts). When I learned about my son's disorder, sensory processing disorder (SPD), I recognized much of what was lacking in society's common practice of child rearing….Sensational Children (for me) was always more than "just" advocating SPD. It's about treating all children with the respect they deserve.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to practice mindful parenting and consciously download (into our children) information that will serve our children? Much of what we do arises from automatic programming that bypasses conscious awareness and may even run contrary to our intentions. Decisions that we may believe to be freely made can arise from unconscious emotional drives or subliminal beliefs. They can be dictated by brain mechanisms programmed early in childhood and determined by events of which we have no recollection. In the real world, choice, will and responsibility are not absolute and unambiguous concepts. People choose, decide and act in a context. That context is determined by how their brain functions. Brain development is influenced by conditions over which the individual, as a young child, had no choice whatsoever (summarized from In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts). If we are responsible for the programs that are downloaded into our children, let's download healthy ones.

Through my parenting workshops, parents will learn the skills for supporting their most important work; their children. I'm certified to teach Positive Discipline, and the Bringing Baby Home and Emotion Coaching Programs from the Gottman Institute. I would love to teach them all….all the time….but as a parent myself, I'm balancing my love for sharing these wonderful concepts with others to implementing them with my children. And implementing them takes most of my time. My children need me. And my experience as a parent can only add to my usefulness as a facilitator.

Our children need us to be mindful of our parenting, they also need time to connect with others and time to unwind, time to integrate their experience while they play out what they hear and see; time and a safe place for their creativity to blossom. I want to create a space for children to do just that; and as a life-long artist, I can't think of any other place than my art studio. Elliot Eisner, Art Education Researcher and Scholar, says, “The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source.”  Through creativity, our children learn adaptability, what Dr. Shimi Kang (writer of The Dolphin Way) admits is the number one skill our children will need in the 21st century. Sensational Children would not be complete without Sensational Art. But I'm not sure what that will look like yet.

As I work through the licensing criteria (for my whole vision of Sensational Children), things keep changing. Doors close, but there are still so many open. The process of bringing my vision to life is not a straight path; it's organic and changes. As Steve Jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.” I trust my vision will take the shape it needs to; also, I trust that my journey (itself) will spark (in many) the realization that raising children (that children themselves) are THE MOST IMPORTANT WORK.

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

Sensory processing disorder (SPD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects at least one in twenty children. Children with SPD don't process or experience sensory information the way other typical children do; therfore, they don't behave the way other children do. They struggle to perform tasks that come easier for other children. Consequently they suffer a loss of quality in their social, personal, emotional and academic life.

The Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation is dedicated to continue their research into the knowledge and treatment of SPD, so that, as Lucy Jane Miller writes in her book "Sensations Kids", "the millions of sensational children currently "muddling through" daily life will enjoy the same hope and help that research and recognition already have bestowed on coutless other conditions that once baffled science and disrupted lives."