Tag Archives: #TheNewPhysicsofChildhood

Calling All Teachers!

For those familiar with Paulo Freire’s book Pedagogy of the Oppressed (New York: Continuum, 1970), the story below illustrates the tragic results to the individual from a very personal perspective:

From Ch. 17, The New Physics of Childhood: Replacing Modern Myths with Simple Strategies (I-Universe, 2009)

“FOR TEACHERS

The following story of “La Niñita” is an introduction to what powerful influences teachers are in a child’s life:

La Niñita

‘I was five years old, I was in kindergarten. From the beginning, school became troublesome for me because I was always looking out the window, instead of listening to my teacher. One day, while daydreaming of wonderful things, I had a fabulous idea.

After school, I ran home to work on my big project, a special play for my class. I felt happy because this play had a part for all of my classmates, leaving no one out. That was the most important thing.

I worked hard that weekend. I made costumes for my classmates out of paper bags my mother gave me. Mommy smiled. She was proud of my play and my costumes. I was a big girl now, I was in kindergarten.

Monday morning, I walked to school with all of the costumes wrapped and folded into two big paper bags. I ran to my teacher. I showed her my project. I told her all of my classmates were in the play!

My teacher’s face was like a stone, she did not look at my costumes and she did not look at me, she just stated, “We don’t do that here.”

Those five shocking words put much of my innocent and uninhibited creativity to sleep that day, changing my life forever. Just five words, five powerful words loomed in the back of my subconscious from that moment on.

Thirty-two years later, then a woman of thirty-seven, I created, acted, produced, and directed a production, purposely to include the forgotten teenagers in my community. These teens had no place to go or activities to enjoy. At the end of the production, I stood on the stage with these forgotten teenagers and in a flash, remembered that moment from my past.

The feelings were very intense as I finally manifested my dream as a five year old! Without realizing it, I had started to heal that wound from my childhood.

Today, I acknowledge that it will take many years of work to return to the uninhibited creative state I experienced as a five year old. Being around children helps me remember. For me, this is the beginning.’

Imagine what could have become of not only this little girl, but countless others, if she had had the support from the adults in her life to pursue her interests. She needed so little, just awareness and sensitivity on the part of the adults in her life, the parents and teachers who missed the opportunity to nurture her creative potential. Please choose your words carefully and take care not to do this to any child. Our precious children need the adults in their lives to help them blossom into whatever they are supposed to become. When adults recognize the signs and provide them with a supportive environment, children can create a world in ways only they can imagine.” by Christina Ivazes, aka Granny Pants

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Filed under Books, children, Education, mentor, Myths, Parenting, teaching, The New Physics of Childhood, Writing

10 Things You Need to Know But Probably Don’t Want to Hear!

OF COURSE YOU ARE TOO BUSY TO READ THIS WHOLE POST!   

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Empowering Healthy, Capable Kids Takes Conscious Parenting!

HOWEVER, whether you are expecting your first child, or have a child of any age, I CHALLENGE YOU TO TAKE THE TIME TO READ IT ANYWAY! At times, the truth can sting a little, or even a lot, but isn’t better to know when it comes to the future of our children?   

1. If you live in the U.S., your child probably needs at least 2 more hours of outdoor activity a day in order to function normally (physiologically, mentally, emotionally). Children of every age need physical activity for 4-6 hours a day and the OPTIMUM is to have most of that activity outside, even in the cold (with adequate clothing, of course). When a child starts school, their body does not automatically reduce its need for physical activity. In fact, many of the behavioral, physical, and emotional issues of children today are a direct result of this physical, outdoor deficit! Don’t even think about medicating a child for any behavioral or emotional issues until they have had these OPTIMUM needs met for several weeks. Dramatically increasing outdoor physical activity (in a safe environment) will almost always guarantee positive results with challenges such as insomnia, attention, lowered immune resistance, emotional outbursts, physical  fitness, strength, large motor skill development, and overall life satisfaction.   

2. If you have a baby from this point on, any investment you can make that allows the mother (or yourself) to exclusively breastfeed baby for the first 6 months (no water, food, or formula), is the No. 1 best investment for both a baby and mother’s health. Exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first 6 months is the recommendation for OPTIMUM infant health by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the American Pediatric Association, and other health organizations, YET, all over the world, this recommendation is not being followed, especially not in the U.S. where even though 73.9 mothers start out breastfeeding at birth, only 13.6% of babies are    

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No doubt about it: the best!

exclusively breastfed at 6 months of age http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/data/report_card2.htm. This staggering statistic correlates with the rise in many childhood illnesses and allergies. Even mothers who breastfeed lower their own risk of breast cancer and diabetes, while also losing extra baby weight easily (as long as they are not consuming empty calories). http://grannypantsspeaks.wordpress.com/2009/10/22/excerpt-from-the-new-physics-of-childhood/ Instead of providing the minimum standards with processed, incomplete formula and heating it with a microwave oven, let’s start our children out with the OPTIMUM nourishment and disease prevention.    

3. Insisting that caregivers and/or you hover over your child to protect them is creating generations of wimpy kids! If you think giving your kids what you didn’t have for yourself is all good, you may be fooling yourself! Whenever an adult does something for an infant, child, or teenager that they can do for themselves, the underlying message is, “I know you can’t do this, so I will do it for you.” When these actions repeat throughout a child’s life, starting in infancy, children become dependent on others to make them happy. They do not experience the intrinsic motivation of autonomous accomplishment. They need the continual approval of others and they often have low-self esteem because they are not challenged to learn, to try, to fail, to adjust, to try again and to succeed!  Experiences of success with minimal interference by adults create confidence and independence. They develop with plenty of alone time to learn to play, to satisfy oneself and to accomplish difficult tasks. Infants learn these lessons, even as they sit in the yard or on a patio, observing nature by themselves, or by playing with a single toy by themselves. Attention and reinforcement are important components in parenting children that helps them feel loved. Equally, children need to experience their own ability to make themselves happy by increasing autonomous successes that allow them to become capable, confident, and self-motivated adults someday.   

4. If you feel that your household is out of control, your kids may be the ones in charge, not you! Children need parents who are leaders and mentors, not overly permissive best friends. Being a parent means running the family and training children to be functioning members of society. This is not the job of a child. Children are not supposed to choose their own schedules, pick out their own food from the grocery store, decide what and when to eat, when to go to sleep, or how much exercise or tv time they get, or whether or not they participate in the upkeep of the household they live in. The job of parents is to make sure children have the proper household routines for OPTIMUM sleep, hygiene, eating, exercise, homework & free time, proper, nourishing food,  proper respect for others, manners, accountability for behavior and age-appropriate contribution to the household. If a parent is not providing these needs for their children, the children will become disruptive to the household-plain and simple.   

5. Quick fix meals may actually be hurting you and your kids in ways you aren’t even aware of! Unfortunately, parents need to read the labels when they are shopping, no matter where they live because manufacturers are adding ingredients to foods continously. Sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners should not be a part of any baby or child’s dietary consumption, yet they are included in many foods for babies and children today. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM ) The escalating rates of diabetes and obesity around the planet are a clear example that more diligence is needed from parents everywhere. Microwave ovens are also a seriously questionable method for heating ANYTHING for a baby or child. On the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services website of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), this is the statement they have regarding the health risks of microwave ovens, “Much research is underway on microwaves and how they may affect the human body.” http://www.fda.gov/Radiation-EmittingProducts/ResourcesforYouRadiationEmittingProducts/Consumers/ucm142616.htm. Will microwave ovens be another BPA nightmare as the FDA sits back and does research to substantiate the risks AFTER products are already being manufactured and consumed? Don’t make your child’s health a scientific experiment. Read labels, buy more fresh foods, including fruits and vegetables. Don’t buy foods containing sugar, and choose proven, safe methods of heating food. (Keep a tea kettle filled with water that can be heated quickly and a deep bowl or measuring cup to heat any liquids or foods by adding hot water to the bottom and inserting either the bottle or bowl. This  3 minutes or so may save your child’s health!)   

6. Creating peace of mind today by allowing kids to tune-out with technology could be destroying your family and your children’s intuitive and sensory-based communication abilities. When parents make numerous choices and non-choices to allow ways for their children to be pacified by technology throughout the day–so they can have peace of mind–children are losing the valuable minutes, hours, and days they need to prepare themselves for life in other areas such as physical creative, intellectual, emotional, and social   

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Technology- A Blessing & A Curse

 development. See each moment a child or teen is glued to a television, video game, or computer as a minute robbed from their development. When children and teens are plugged into music devices or cell-phones at all times, they are not learning to develop or fully listen to their own instincts and guidance. They are losing their ability to relate to and be aware of the world around them. They are losing their ability to communicate face-to-face. When anyone in a family is plugged into a device or allowed to use a cell-phone/IPod at the dinner table, they are systematically digging a wide communication chasm between family members that may never recover if it is underdeveloped. Why not create a tech-free zone for meals, a significant portion of commuting to school and other activities, after school, weekends and/or traveling. Of course, the kids will rebel at first, but in the end, they will have YOU and your conversations to reflect upon, not just a blurry memory of text messages and images on screens of people they don’t even know.   

7. Children identified with an illness, condition or disorder like ADHD, diabetes, migraines, etc. are debilitated by labeling. A label or an attachments does not really get anyone off the hook! Labels exacerbate challenges by limiting a child’s perception that they can have control of the many things in their life, starting with their attitude. The language that we teach our children either empowers or weakens their perception of their ability to create their own happiness and life satisfaction. First of all, if your child faces any physical, mental, or emotional challenges, refrain from using language like this, “Your diabetes” “Your migraines”  Shouldn’t children identify themselves and get more attention from things other than illness? Internal language produces physiological changes in the body, which either deteriorate or improve health. http://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Healing-Exploring-Frontiers-Medicine/dp/0553348698/ref=sr_1_18?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1265880453&sr=1-18 Whatever the condition of a child’s physical or emotional state, he/she will still need adults in their life to emphasize that “They are not their body!” They are a bright and shining spirit that is meant to experience joy in many forms. It is up to parents to find these experience for a child and build on them, not on the culture of victimhood. Regardless of any situation, we always have the ability to change our internal attitude! Physical and emotional states will improve when they are nurtured by positive experiences and empowering perspectives!   

 8. Marketing shapes a child in ways you may not even be aware of!  Limiting a child’s exposure to technology will also limit their exposure to dangerous life altering influences. The cumulative effects of advertising and product placement promote a “me” driven, materialistic culture which discourages the development of a child’s intrinsic motivation, integrity and compassion for others.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maeXjey_FGA   

9. Children are learning more about how to be from what they observe you doing than from what you say! Although this is not revelation, isn’t it funny that we ignore this fact quite often? How many times have you done   

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IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT YOUR CHILDREN TO BECOME?

something inappropriate like using profanity, but then tell a child not to do it later on? These little hypocrisies throughout the day add up over a lifetime. The way we  feel about events and other people, especially any contemptible or fearful feelings,  are felt by infants, children, and teenagers, even if they do not say anything. These strong opinions and feelings, reactionary behaviors, and even disrespect towards others (even employers) is affecting how they too will view others someday.  If you would rather sit on the couch and watch TV all evening, they probably won’t want to go outside and exercise. They too, will become couch potatoes someday. Pretend a movie camera is filming you and outsiders are reviewing you on your own quality of daily life experience. This is what your children see. Then, adjust it so they see     

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OR THIS?

the movie you want them to watch!   

10. You may think putting off your own nutritional, exercise, or sleep needs are okay for now, but you are wrong! Not only are children learning how to take care of themselves by watching your example, your health and state of mind also effects your ability to care for your  children.  If you are exhausted, it is difficult to be consistent and firm. If you are tired, can you really be present for your children? If you are sick, how available are you for anyone? Perhaps this means limiting outside commitments, especially in the early years of your child’s life. Over time, the cumulative effects of neglecting your own health can also lead to many debilitating illnesses that will in turn, rob you of valuable, quality time with yourself and your family someday. This includes quality downtime for yourself with your partner and yourself to just do nothing, like taking a vacation. Who wants to spend their vacation time sick because they waited too long ot take on, or never be able to make it to enjoy retirement? Do it for your kids and you will also be doing it for yourself! When a parent is at their fittest and healthiest and rested, they are better equipped to care for their children and actually enjoy the experience!   

All of these preventive strategies among many others are contained in my book, The New Physics of Childhood: Replacing Modern Myths with Simple Strategies  You can purchase the book at http://TheNewPhysicsofChildhood.com, and follow me on    

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Author, Christina Ivazes (aka Granny Pants) w/ Grandchild # 7 Hudson Cooper

Facebook at “Granny Pants’ Daily Parenting Tips”   

I welcome your feedback and experiences with any of these issues! I am also available for Parent & Family consulting. Email me about the needs of your family @ christinaivazes@chameleaproductions.com   

Granny Pants

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Filed under 1, babies, Breastfeeding, children, cooking, exercise, insomnia, La Leche League, nutrition, Parenting, prevention, teaching

A New Year’s Eve Surprise a la “Tina”

Tina; who is it? What is it? Why am I writing about Tina on New Year’s Day? Tina means “tin” in Finnish, plain and simple. However, the event I experienced last night was far from plain and simple.  

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A Blue Moon New Year's Eve over Koivula 2010

It happened on Koivula, a farm outside of the town of Kontiolahti in the Northeast Center of Finland, about 50 miles from the Russian border. By 10:00pm the kids were finally asleep, though this didn’t happen without a group effort.  While we were waiting for the last one to drop-off, someone cleverly dismantled the “tic-toc” clock so her one-year old awareness would not jump up at the next “tic-toc”.  As I anticipated what was about to happen in this traditional Finnish New Year’s Eve ritual, I relieved myself by producing a deck of cards to pass the time before the little ones slumber was secure. However, my efforts to play cards with my primarily Finnish speaking friends did not work.  Wanting to keep things lively as we guarded our champagne taking sip-by-sip to make it last,  I volunteered to have my fortune read by the one person who spoke fairly good English.  

This helped time fly by with fascination as I watched my past, present, and future unfold, fairly accurately, in fact. Then, the moment came for the real divination! It was time to do the “Tina”. I was completely in the dark about what we were about to do. I had never heard of this ritual before.  

The only ritual I knew that had to do with the future and The New Year was the one that my family does where we create our year the way we want it to be by making a poster of what we want to accomplish. (BTW-I still need to do this.) But, this Finnish ritual was very different, as I would soon find out.  

It starts with a little tin horseshoe about 2×2 inches.   

The "Tina" Horseshoe

You start with the "Tina" Horseshoe

Already we have a promising start because we are using a horseshoe, the symbol of good luck.  

Next, you need to make sure you have a metal bucket of cold water with paper underneath that is close to the heat source for melting the horseshoe.  

New Year's Tina Ritual

The bucket for cooling & shaping the tin

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Melting the tin horseshoe on an electric burner

Then, pipe up the heat source and put 1 horseshoe in the heat-resistant, flat-bottomed metal spoon.  

Melting happens fairly quickly, so be careful and pay attention. The tin will become a scorching, thin liquid.  

At the time the tin turns to liquid, THE FUN STARTS!  

New Year's

In My Finest Duds, I am pouring the tin into the bucket of cold water

 This is when, with great precision and the power of intention, you basically thrust the melted tin into the bucket of cold water, taking care that it makes it into the bucket while shooting the liquid to the bottom for the best effect.  

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Pull your unique cold water sculpted object out of the bucket & discover the coming year

Voila!!!!!! What have the ethereal powers created to symbolize your coming year? This is now the mystery to unfold with those around you, but it isn’t as simple as just looking at what you pulled out of the bucket in the palm of your hand.  

Everyone’s object foretelling their future New Year is completely different from the next. It is said that if you have a lot of pieces, that means a lot of money in the coming year. (I hope that 3 pieces qualifies for this prediction, because mine is actually in 3 pieces I have kept together for the sake of the overall design integrity.)  

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We're not done yet! This is my object

Looking at your object, your “Tina”  from all angles doesn’t quite hold the same divination of the future as the next step.  In this next and final step of the ritual, you find a blank space on a wall and a lamp or candle that can be used to focus on the object.  

Each person now takes a turn holding their “Tina” up to the wall, allowing a shadow to emerge, which is when the real fortune-telling takes place. Those gathered around share their ideas about what the object symbolizes.  

tina with shadow

Interpret your future in the New Year with the shadow of the "Tina" & the perspectives of others

 The process of interpreting the shadow of the “Tina” is so fascinating. It becomes a collective interpretation with a clear meaning that quickly evolves into a consensus at the end. And of course, the interpretation of the shadow is always positive because who wants to have a bad new year.  

Each person keeps their “Tina” in a safe place through the year until the next year’s ritual. Here are some of the other “Tinas.” I did not want to spend too much time snapping photos of the shadow interpretation process that needed focus, in order to respect the future of the person involved, not a photographer trying to get the best shot.  

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Another shadow left to interpretation

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Although unfocused, the "tina" beauty still comes through

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Sometimes you get more than one future!

This last photo shows how utterly unpredictable the “Tina” magic can be. These two completely differently shaped pieces came from the same throwing of the liquid metal and the receiver was more than happy with the results, as you can only imagine!  

In Japan it is tea leaves, in some circles it is cards or Tarot, and in Finland, it is “Tina.” Even with the subjectivity of this ritual, you cannot help but to become immersed in the power it holds to produce the possibility of an interesting new year ahead! We are all hoping for brighter futures and this is just one more example of whether you are in one of the coldest and most isolated areas of the planet, or in the middle of Times Square New York City, a new year always brings new possibilities.  

The real final step is to toast the bright future of each participant as they say in Finland, Happy New Year or Hyvää uuttavuotta!! (Which actually gets easier to say with every subsequent glass of champagne!)  

After we completed this “Tina” ritual, we headed outside just in time to toast the New Year, 2010 and watch the brilliant display of fireworks in the crisp, cold snow along with the Blue Moon that brought an end to the last decade and the beginning of the next! Yeah!!!!!!  I have to say that even though I missed my loved ones, this was a most spectacular and unexpectedly wonderful way to start 2010!  

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The Lucky Blue Moon of New Year's Eve 2010

What are your dreams and intentions for 2010???? Do you have a New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day ritual? For any Finns out there, please correct me if I made any errors or add more history and insight to this post!  

Granny Pants

*BTW- Here is another blog that describes the “Tina” http://tin-mhjk.blogspot.com/2009/01/blog-post.html  

*FYI- You are invited to explore the website for my book, The New Physics of Childhood: Replacing Modern Myths with Simple Strategies at http://TheNewPhysicsofChildhood.com  Author discount still applies!

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Filed under #Finland, #Suomi, 1, 2010, Granny Pants, New Year's Day, New+Years+Rituals, winter, Writing