Aug 8

WHERE DO THE CHILDREN PLAY?

 

WHERE DO THE CHILDREN PLAY?

 

 

Now this question, that I recall from the Cat Stephens song by the same name (I prefer the Everton Blender version above 😉 ), used to resonate with me deeply in the context of children growing up in the heavily industrialised areas of England, where green areas were not yet the standard feature. I grew up in such an area and even though we had a long back garden where nuff ramping took place, other children were living in high rise flats (apartments), yes, like that of the Grenfell Tower in London. The box-like structures, with tiny balconies and multiple floors of concrete never struck me as child friendly places, but, for ‘convenience’, the Government could house multiple families in smaller spaces, packed in neatly like sardines in a tin. There is, of course, no need for me to highlight the potential physical dangers of such a town planning fiasco, but for those still standing, the question still remains…where do the children play?

 

SUMMER HOLIDAY FEVER!

 

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It’s that time where thousands of children are still out of school and parents are still hearing  those common words…”I’m bored”.  Many will be tempted to retort…”In my day, we would go outside to play and find things to do!” Then of course, there is the modern day definition of ‘play’ which involves electrical devices of all shapes, sizes and capabilities. So, getting your child outside may indeed be the biggest challenge. So, what has happened to play?

 

Play is a part of the healthy development of all children, wherever in the world they live. The exploration of their outer world, themselves and other members of their human family through play and touch are pivotal to their healthy association with their environment. One of my favourite sounds is that of children laughing, shrieking and shouting in a playground. The psychological ill-effects of children confined to spaces where they cannot play freely and/or restricted by adults telling them to ‘sit and keep still’ has perhaps been tested in some controlled experiment somewhere, but for now, let’s just use our common sense and deduce that such children may not develop/flourish in the same way as children given the freedom of boundless play. Fast forward to present day, where electronic gadgets have replaced jacks, skipping ropes, frisbees, marbles, footballs (made from all manner of creatively crafted items). Now, the physiological and neurological aspects of a child’s development are further impacted!

 

In light of the above, this short blog wants to draw focus to one place where some of the child-play neglect can be addressed, here in Jamaica…our kindergardens, prep and primary schools! Good God man! Children as young as 5 are being chastised for the fact that their cursive writing is not well developed enough (actual sharing with a parent I consulted with last week). The battle to ‘win’ some sort of competition has taken over the minds of many parents that want to be able to say that their child is academically advanced because they could read or write at age 3 or 4! In my opinion, no child should be asked to hold any writing implement, other than a crayon, until they are 5-6yrs old! My son was introduced to the prep school scene at the tender age of 2.5yrs. Had I known then what I know now, I wouldn’t have had him start school until he was 6yrs old! That is also the guidance I was given after the fact, by a seasoned and well respected educator in Montego Bay. Boys, in particular, need that time to play, explore and develop themselves in ‘natural’ order. Especially if they are bursting with abundant energy as my young prince was. Telling him and his peers to sit behind hard desks on hard chairs for hours upon end and (teachers) getting frustrated with them when they ‘move’ to express the kinetic energy building in their little dynamo bodies, is tantamount to torture. Yes I’m being a little dramatic here, but think about it. In my subsequent child development, learning therapy and psychodrama sessions with so called ‘problem’ kids brought to me by their concerned parents, it was often as simple as guiding the parent through a change of perception and inviting them to see their child through fresh eyes, without the opinion of the ‘school experts’ that slapped that ‘troublemaker’, ‘disruptive’, ‘unfocused’ or (worse) ‘dunce’ label on a child that was simply in full expression of their personality, giftedness and talents.

 

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In an environment where exam passes are still the gauge of an intelligent child that is destined for success in life, your child might just be one of those gifted geniuses that are made to feel worthless because of an outmoded system that starts by removing or limiting the best building blocks to a child’s character development….PLAY!

 

When I am conducting a Psychodrama or other developmentally supportive session with the children in teen bodies that have experienced trauma, play is one of the easiest ways to fully engage them. God knows…even I get lost in the soul freeing, escapism of that pure un-ADULT-erated world of play. Two weeks ago I was at the beautiful Tryall home of a family, where my dear friend was consulting with the parents. While I waited in the living room (as the rain had halted my beach plan) one of the children invited me to “come play with us…we’re playing Leggo Land”. I didn’t wait for a second asking. “Of course I will”, was my eager response. As I sat on the floor of the girls room, I was transformed from ‘big ooman’ to a live adventurer in this miniature world of leggo houses, leggo animals, leggo food, leggo people (of all colours and creeds!), leggo doctors and vets and leggo vehicles. For about an hour, I was transported to their regular child world and when their 5yr old brother got wind of the fact that there was a big person playing in the girls’ room, he was in like a shot, vying for my attention by jumping all over, wanting some rough and tumble action! He was soon simmered by his bigger sisters and convinced to enter the leggo world. Big people! Let me tell you something. When the bible tells us that we cannot enter the Kingdom unless we do so ‘as a child’….Mi believe! Lordy was I in the Kingdom that day!!!

 

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Why not try it yourself? Next time you get the chance, have a pillow fight with a youngster (tek time wid them though…no full strength strikes allowed J ), chalk out a hopscotch game on the pavement, get your stones and jump! Go out onto your well manicured urban lawn that only the sprinkler water dances on and play a game of tag (‘tick’ for the English based readers). The therapeutic benefits, after you have first released the constrictive thinking that says “I’m too big for this” will make your soul soar.

 

Let the children play…and allow your inner child to play with them!

 

Jun 5

CHANGE YOUR LIFE STORY…OR NOT.

 

CHANGE YOUR LIFE STORY…OR NOT!

 

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Over many years, as a result of multi-level conditioning/programming, I, like many of you would have arrived at the belief that the events of our lives are mapped out well before we arrive on the planet. Fate. Destiny. Call it what we will, we give in to the twists and turns of the life journey on the collective understanding that we cannot change the events in our lives. ‘Our Story’ is written in the book of life and we are mere spectators to the unfolding.

 

Well, after many years of observing and experiencing life intently, I no longer hold that belief. After all, ‘belief’ is simply a series of thoughts that we continue to think’…until we change them, right? So, if you will indulge me, allow me to explain why I know that we create our future, as ordained by our Supreme Creator, through our thoughts.

 

MIND OVER MATTER

 

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My interest in the human brain has revealed some amazing facts that continue to inspire me with awe. My deep fascination started when I trained as a Neuronet Therapist, as a means of supporting my son’s early learning. I also became a Learning Performance Specialist, sharing exciting brain facts and learning strategies with high school students across England and Wales. When I coach students in the practices of right/left hemisphere integration for better learning outcomes, I love the look on their faces when we apply the theories and prove that their shift in both thinking and specific right-brain integration practices, positively impacts their ability to learn and remember stuff! Once the students understand the correlation between their thoughts/mind practices and their grades, they are more ready to learn. Further, sharing with them that in one day, all the cell phones in the world cannot generate the same level of electrical impulses as their individual brains, usually gets their attention. Yes, I’m talking neurons firing! Giving off impulses as they connect with other neurons making up the billions forming networks in each of our magnificent brains.

 

BRAIN WAVES

 

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Now, imagine if these neurons, when firing, could emit ‘waves’ that travel outside of our physical bodies. Well, they do. Scientists have measured waves, akin to micro and wifi waves, from the brain of humans, feet away from the head of the subject. The same pertains to the human heart, but that’s a different story.

 

Imagine now, that these waves go out into the atmosphere and alter matter. Yes, that’s what I said. Changing matter external to the body.  Not only is matter altered, but matter is magnetized to you on the basis of the signals contained in the thought-waves. Literally mind over matter! Let this important point sink in a little, because the magnitude of this fact forms the basis of my assertion that YOU control and create your future life events, based on what you think, consistently, about any particular ‘matter’. Good or Bad. So, for example, if you wake up each morning and your first thought is ‘mi salt’…’nothing is going on for me’, it is important to know that your transmitted thought wave has gone ‘out there’ and will be matched with the magnetized confirmation of your statement. Have you noticed how the people that constantly state how sick they are rarely heal? The women that sing the sankey that ALL men are bad, generally repeat a cycle that affirms their belief and predominant thought, time after time attracting ‘bad men’.

 

It boils down to the fact that we are vibrational beings. Yes, we are full of vibes. The physics students amongst you will be able to relate to the fact that all beings and objects are matter, vibrating at differing speeds and frequencies. The human being included. So when someone says, they don’t like your vibe, it is a loose reference to the vibrational energy they are picking up from you within their vibrational zone. And visa versa.

 

LAW OF ATTRACTION

 

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Anyway, I’m not the first person to reach the above conclusions. Google is there for all of us to fatten our factual reserves. I simply chose to share this fundamental information with you on the premise that if it works for me, why not have others out there achieving balance in their lives through the ‘The Law of Attraction’? There are many writings and videos for you to listen/watch on the topic. I, for the most part, am paraphrasing what I have gleaned. In short, that we magnetise our life experiences based on the thoughts we entertain and the vibrations/waves we consequently send out into our universe. Watch the video called ‘The Secret’ and mull over the evidence presented.

 

You literally have to manage your thoughts on a daily basis to keep your life boat sailing smoothly. It doesn’t mean that life won’t rock your boat or the water won’t get choppy from time to time (those are the contrasts of life at play), but the key is, in recognition of what you don’t want showing up, is to adjust your thinking to smooth out the future journey.

 

Since we’re using the analogy of a boat. The other point is that we have been led to believe that life should be about struggle. What if we simply had to focus our minds and thoughts on what we WANT to see/happen/have and not sing endless sankies about what we wanted to eliminate. Close your eyes and place your thoughts (and consequent feeling) on abundance, in place of daily moans about being broke! Instead of lamenting the fact that you are single and can’t find a good man/woman…[after first ensuring that you are reflecting all the positive things you desire in a significant other],… emit those vibrations through positive thoughts of love and a mutually gratifying union. Feel it till it’s real! Anything you push against, fight or resist, creates a tension that creates more of what you are resisting against. Again, the law of attraction. Instead of fighting for peace, why not be peace? The wars on drugs, terrorism etc. in actual fact gives more energy and momentum to the very things not wanted. Why, because when the collective vibrations are emitted, the magnetism can only bring that to you/us/them, what is being focused on…e.g. war, crime…Trump!

 

GO WITH THE FLOW…DIVINE FLOW!

 

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So rather than rowing your life-boat upstream, allow your life-boat to go with the downstream flow, guided by our divine source, for smooth sailing. The Rastafarians call the inner higher self the I in I. We are indeed Spiritual Beings having a Human Experience. I like this perspective of reality as it celebrates the God essence in each and every human being, regardless of location or station in life. It also encourages us to be kinder to one another, resolving that EVERY life matters! So allow your boat to float merrily, merrily, merrily merrily, gently down the stream, rowing only when and where guided (compass = feelings and intuition, as they are free of human ego interference)…and life will indeed be ‘but a dream’.

 

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The mind is powerful! Our natural vibration is harmony of mind, body and spirit. Well-being, Modern lifestyles and dysfunctional cultures have unfortunately eroded this natural order and I, like many like-minded around the world, am passionate about guiding others to a more harmonious life. Happiness is our birthright!

 

So, since our thoughts (and feelings) do indeed become our reality, if you don’t like what keeps turning up in your life…change your mind and create YOUR NEW STORY!

 

ONCE UPON A TIME… 😉

 

Apr 4

ON PARENTING AND PERSPECTIVES

 

On a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon, after a beautiful day at the beach, I witnessed a minor disagreement that stole my attention. A young man, well let’s say around 32 years old, from my perspective…on a little boat, on its return voyage from Lime Cay to Port Royal…started an argument with the one-eyed, visually impaired (in the good eye), steerer of the vessel.

 

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What struck me only momentarily on the day, but came back to me with a thud just now, is that the oddity (in my mind) was not in the fact that the man steering the boat was not bearing the full credentials of a person I would choose to be steering a little boat with me on board, but in the fact that this young, seemingly ‘uptown’ man, with a multiracial audience of strangers, elected to argue with (distract!) our already disadvantaged steerer! Add to that, a group of four young boys that our argumentative man was accompanying, (three of whom appeared to be his sons). Yes, I completely overlooked the vision issue and was drawn in by the drama unfolding with our arguer. My thinking was, his children are on board and his presence of mind didn’t say…let me allow this man to focus on getting us all to dry land safely??!!! He was peeved and had to get it off his chest.

 

SOBERING THOUGHTS

 

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By this time I’m trying not to engage my Risk Manager brain cells, upon noticing that the randomly distributed life jackets were ‘clearly optional’, and working on containing my UK Local Government ultra-Health & Safety training, to the tune of many sections, subsections and clauses. Who insures the boat and its passengers? What inspections of the vessel take place and how often? As I mention that, there really are a minefield of responsibilities and potential legal liabilities that many businesses and their leaders are totally unaware of. Directors Liability Insurance, for example, might seem like a luxury to many, but with the onerous responsibilities laid out by the Companies Act 2004, that luxury might be more appealing if one juxtaposed it with the seizure of personal assets of Directors because of a ‘breach’. Directors, don’t start stressing…yet; carry on with the story…I’ll link you at the end.

 

ROCKING THE BOAT

 

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So, back to the boat. The young man, who I was now actively psychoanalyzing, took to chastising the Captain of the vessel, who had instructed him to dust the sand off his and his flock of 4 boy children’s feet/shoes before entering the boat. “This is the third time yu a upset mi yu know!” he started (which immediately gave him away as a Jamaican living in Merica. A home-based brother would have said ‘dis’…not ‘upset’. The latter is more in sync with a culture where adults routinely ask children, if their feelings were hurt. Not a routine inquiry of Jamaican parenting…from my experience and vantage point of course. Anyway, Mr Merica by now is on a full scale rant…“why do you do it?” he asks earnestly. “You didn’t ask anyone else to dust their feet off”. The third time, he kept repeating, that he was upset by the Captain and he is tired of it. Up to now our Captain is clearly trying to remember this dude from the droves of boat riders over the years, not helped I’m sure by the fact that he obviously could not swear to a 20/20 glimpse at Mr Merica. Despite some feeble attempt to throw off his aggressor with utterings about not remembering him from before, the verbal lashing continued, including the threat that Captain needed to check himself because he, Mr Merica, is noticing a trend that he doesn’t like. At this point, I wondered if I was the only passenger noticing that the complainer kept going on and on, despite the Captain shifting his focus to steering the boat. He went quiet for a few seconds, only to pipe up again with the same rant. I had deduced by now, that his sense of self-importance had been eroded and it had triggered old feelings that he just had to vent.

 

DADDY WISDOM

 

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In between rants, he also entertained us by guiding his sons on such topics as their need to forget about what they like doing and find a job that earns them lots of money. I bit my Child Development, motivate-kids-to-live-their-full-passion lip and looked away. I even resisted the urge to whisper in the ear of the little boy sitting next to me…”do what you love son, money can’t buy happiness”, but daddy would have seen the move and we were only about half way across the waters. Cutting the story/journey short, as we approached the dock, where a few yachts/boats were shored…notice I’m getting into my nautical terminologies, as I am not averse to coming down from the hills and boarding a yacht ;)…Mr Merica announced to ‘his boys’ (I’m sure those on the land heard him too)…”that’s the yacht that used to belong to your grandpa…my father” (honestly, he said that!). As I started the concluding paragraph on his psychoanalysis in my head, he went on…”it’s not working now though, that’s why grandpa had to sell it”. I sensed that all other silent passengers aboard the boat must by now have been waiting for the inevitable finale to the sole voice of the voyage. He finished the announcement with…”I’ll have one bigger than that one day boys…work hard so one of you can buy it for me”. My thought by this time was, I hope the children have a mommy/mommies whose sense of balance is sharper, otherwise this boat load of future fodder are going to need a great deal of daddy override to ‘adjust’ some of the seeds of wisdom he is planting in their fertile young minds. But then again. That is just my view of the situation…from my unique perspective. This approach to parenting, despite the strong ego, fueled by the drive to prove oneself and perhaps a tups of low self-esteem, might be just the ticket for these young men. Because that’s the other point. Each of us can only see the world from our singular perspective…anything else is tantamount to imagination.

 

PARENTING 101

 

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We often hear parents say that children never came with a manual, so perhaps it’s time for parenting guidelines to be prepared, including a compulsory mandate that all Parents must have common sense. Anyway…again my opinion, from my conditioned perspective. At a time when world leaders and citizens are losing the temperament to agree to disagree with opinions from perspectives of others, it is important for us to respect the rights of others to have and express theirs. We are all unique beings on this journey. I wonder what Mr Merica would write about his experience of that boat ride? Or the other silent ones on the voyage. Now that would literally be a whole different set of stories!

 

In conclusion, the important message I want to leave you with today is…if you’re going on a boat ride across deep waters, make sure you focus on the attributes of your ‘Captain’ and not the distractions of a serial ranter. One is more than likely than the other to sink the boat. (Notwithstanding my prejudice, our Captain turned out to be a master at his craft and got us to shore safely!).

 

ARE YOU A DIRECTOR?

 

Appointing a new company director

 

Oh yes, I almost forgot. Any Directors of companies out there, don’t miss the boat! ;). Ask Sarifa about securing a Directors Liability quotation for you… (can’t resist it)…before the ship sails! Or…wait, wait, wait…you run aground! [Mic dropped].