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Nature or Nurture – and Eureka!

You hear ever again the argument: is nature or nurture the most important influence in childhood, or is it both? Yes, of course both are important, and the more research that is done the more we find how much the environment a child grows up in, not just physical but even more important emotional, will influence the child for life. Yet something important is still missing.

In a roundabout way, it provided me with inspiration for writing about the ‘third year’ in early childhood (in previous blogs I have written about the first two years). It came together with something else:

We’ve all had such experiences: sudden thoughts, inspirations, helping us find a solution to something. It turns out the Eureka moments have greater insight and accuracy than lengthy analysis*. A puzzle – it would seem to contradict our modern rational order of things! Something inexplicable happens – something new enters. Continue reading Nature or Nurture – and Eureka!

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Learning to speak – one of life’s miracles

Learning to speak

Life’s greatest miracles happen in the first there years. That is certainly the impression you can have as parent. Birth – wow! The absolute miracle of this little being full of life. Then in the first weeks and months the eyes and facial expressions come to life, so full of love and trust – they are enthralling and enrapturing. Then after the first year, grasping hold of the physical body, the child stands upright and makes those first steps.

Following those first steps, another momentous stride takes place: learning to speak! At one year your baby will most likely just be experimenting with a few one syllable ‘words’, quite definite about what they mean but you may be scratching your head. How we’ve all listened in spell-bound charm as our toddlers emphatically say something like, ‘mmaah’, ‘daahh’, ‘nnaah’, twice, thrice, perhaps pointing to your nose to make clear to us unintelligent adults what is meant.

The profound significance of the mother tongue

By 2½ years we ‘suddenly’ become aware our child is speaking in sentences, giving expressions to joys, pains, observations – experiences of his inner self can now be communicated. Naturally this is still in simple form, but the foundations are there – for life. We adults have a hard time with new languages – all those vocabulary lists to learn, the verb conjugations, the intonations, etc. And it all comes naturally for the child. Continue reading Learning to speak – one of life’s miracles

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Of Walking and Wonder

There are always particular moments that stand out in the early years of our children that fill one with wonder, amazement and joy all combined. One such moment is those first tentative steps of the toddler, maybe around a year or a little more. You watch, eyes wide open, mouth dropping open in astonishment, as you see your little one letting go its hold of something, looking at you with eyes also wide open and sparkling, as if to say, ‘Here goes! I can do it!’

I still remember a remark in a physics textbook back in college days, in a section which analysed the mechanics of muscle movements. The writer had it all explained, adding a cynical comment on the illogic and ineffectiveness of the human upright design that it takes a whole year to stand. The implication: we should have  stayed on all fours. I suppose he wanted to sound cleverer than the forces that created us. I felt like saying, ‘I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to stay crawling!’ But he must not have had children, experiencing the awe and joy of such moments for the child, taking its first steps in front of you… Continue reading Of Walking and Wonder

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