That Think You Do
















No, I would not give you false hope (On Mothers and Children)

Some readers may recognize this blog’s title as the opening line to Paul Simon’s “Mother and Child Reunion”. Research indicates that how mothers and children get along is determined very early in pregnancy. The fetus receives signals from the mother’s body regarding how well she’ll be able to provide for her offspring during life.

In other words, if you’re pregnant and you don’t take care of yourself the fetus gets a biochemical signal that health, etc., isn’t important and that biochemical signal changes how the fetus develops.

A mother who doesn’t eat well sends a signal that food will be scarce so design a body that will store calories for lean times. This leads to childhood obesity and other disorders.

A mother who doesn’t exercise regularly signals for a lethargic lifestyle.

A mother who doesn’t see to her needs sends signals that she won’t see to the growing child’s needs.

Whoa!

I’m not surprised by this information. I’ve long believed that families create energies and those energies are inherited. I recognize how metaphysical that might sound and I don’t mean it to be such except in the sense that I have no other language to express it. Basically, if a parent has a bad attitude about themselves, their health, their psychological and emotional well being, that bad attitude gets passed down to their children.

That’s the nurture part of Nature versus Nurture.

I also know lots of research is demonstrating that traumatic events (especially repeated traumatic events, such as abuse of any kind, including bullying) can shape a developing brain towards the negative. A victimized child gets wired early on to believe they are a victim. It takes lots of therapy, lots of work and lots of willpower to change that belief when the child is an adult because, by the time adulthood is reached, that wiring is “fixed”. Like wiring in a house, you need to tear down the wall to put in new wiring.

This is the first time I’ve seen evidence that Nature is strongly influenced by Nurture. It also works the other way. This also demonstrates that Nurture — how we raise our offspring — is strongly influenced by our Natures — our beliefs about ourselves.

A reporter on a regional news station (Boston, MA, area) said he believed people should be tested before being allowed to have children. They need a license to drive, to have a gun and so on, so shouldn’t people need a license to have a child. His statement came after a story about a particularly abused child.

Personally, I agree with him although I wondered what kind of feedback his offhand remark received.

In any case, make sure you’re healthy — emotionally, physically, spiritually and physically — if you want a healthy child.




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Eat Better or Be Stupid, Your Choice

Disney has made public that they won’t tolerate junk food — high sugars, high carbos, low protein, poor health — advertising on their media channels or products in their parks and resorts, on their cruise ships, …

The reach is impressive. The same is happening in school systems nation wide.

It’s also not surprising that Disney (and others) would make such a move. The amount of press letting us know how poor our dietary habits are is amazing. Thank goodness the insurance industry has realized that its cheaper to insure people with good dietary habits than people with poor dietary habits. And thank goodness the food&beverage industry has figured out how to make money off of (relatively) healthy foods&beverages.

I mean, you don’t think there’d be this media oriented public outcry if such wasn’t the case, do you?

Knowledge of the devastating health affects of poor diet, too much sugar when we’re too young, so on and so forth has been in the scientific literature for quite some time. It’s nothing new. It only seems to be new because companies have figured out how to make money off it.

Jaded? Moi? N’est-ce pas!

But Did You Know that Poor Diets Make You Stupid?

Okay, a bit of an overstatement. I’m taking a cue from the insurance and food&beverage industries to make old knowledge seem bright, shiny and new.

Never-the-less, it has been established that high-calorie diets lead to poor memory function and a host of other concerns. Most striking was that just a brief foray into fats and sugars can cause a little disorientation — the next time you want a beer and pizza, get it delivered. You may not be able to find your way home.

Memory problems and disorientation tend to manifest rapidly. Cognitive loss also occurs although it takes longer. Imagine knowing something’s wrong but not being able to remember what to do about it. And all this occurs long before high calorie foods appear as body weight gains.

Forget “Once passed the lips, forever on the hips”, we’re talking about “Once passed the lips…I can’t remember the rest.”

So the next time you want to sit down with a bag of peanut M&Ms or a half-gallon of ice cream, get a couple of celery stalks instead.

If nothing else, at least you’ll remember where you put the M&Ms and ice cream. Eat the M&Ms and ice cream first and you may not be able to find the celery.


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The Lady on the Table

During some recent travels we stayed at a B&B and spent some time having tea and cookies with the other guests and Innkeepers.

The Innkeeper, a wonderfully brassy woman who’s led a varied life, asked if we’d mind if she made her weekly call to some friends in France (we were in Nova Scotia) and we said of course, go ahead, not a problem at all.

She then put her laptop on the coffee table, opened up a video-conference call package, and we heard a familiar “ring-ring” followed by a child’s delighted laughter.

The innkeeper made some funny faces and clapped her hands and cried out “Bonjour!”.

We heard more childish laughter, tiny hands clapping and a giddily happy shriek of “Mama, Mama, la dame sur la table!”

“I’ve watched that child grow from belly to birth to that babe on the screen.” She turned the laptop so we could all see the family gather an ocean away. Some of us waved. The child and mother so far away waved back.

They spent about ten minutes catching up on life and then the call was over.

“How did you folks meet?” I asked.

The woman and her husband had toured Canada and spent a night at the B&B. When they got home she realized she was pregnant and that their night at this B&B had been the night, so she emailed the innkeeper with the news.

“Wow. Neat.”

They made an agreement to stay in touch so the innkeepers could watch the child grow.

We smiled.

“Does the little girl know who you are?” I asked.

Of course she does. What a silly question. “I’m the lady on the table.” So named because once a week a laptop is placed on a coffee table in a home somewhere in France and a video chat client is opened and the miles melt into smiles and children’s laughter.

Happy holidays, everyone. Here’s to hoping there are only smiles in childrens’ futures.


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RVMsmallfrontcover.jpgSign up for The NextStage Irregular, our very irregular, definitely frequency-wise and probably topic-wise newsletter.
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Have you read my latest book, Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History? It’s a whoppin’ good read.

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Take to the Road

How do you determine if someone is more or less likely to produce healthy children? Is there one, single factor that tends to outweigh all others?

Strangely enough, there is. And if someone had mentioned what it is to me offhandedly I would be skeptical.

Truthfully and with the research in front of me, I’m still a little skeptical.

Until I think about it.
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Stop Making Babies and Save the Planet

Most readers know I’m a cross disciplinary, translational researcher.

What…you didn’t know that?

Well…let me give you an idea of what it means…

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Sing Me to Sleep That I Might Learn Thee Loves Me

I wrote about how the sounds we make affect our mating potentials in I Love the Way You Say That and Sing Me a Little Song. Those posts dealt with how women and men respond to the sounds their partners make. This post deals with a time the sounds we make are extremely important; when we’re with our children.

Mothers around the world sing or hum their children to sleep. Fathers around the world may not sing and often, when a mother or mother surrogate isn’t available, will hum, coo or otherwise vocalize to their children when it’s time to nap (and if they do sing, excellent!).

Those young minds are both amorphous and agile. Just because their eyes are closed don’t think they’re not listening…or learning.
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