Make no mistake about Mistakes, everything is food for learning: Anat Baniel, chapter 6: Variation
We are going through, Monday by Monday, Anat Baniel’s brilliant book, Kids Beyond Limits. She starts with three chapters about unleashing brain plasticity and the miracle of the human brain to create transformation in any child, especially special needs children.
She then lays out Nine essentials, with explanations, scientific backup and practical exercises for parents to do with their children. More to the point, I’d say, she invites nine ways of playing with your children that will create connection instead of the usual dead ends of “trying” to “fix” them, by repetitious drilling of what they can’t do, or don’t really want to do, or are increasingly frustrated in doing.
Here are the essentials,
Movement with Awareness
Wake Up to Life
Awareness of Movement is the Quickest Path to Now and to Brain Plasticity
Luxuriate in the abundance of present reality
Enjoy Abundant Possibilities
Noticing differences in the fundamental unit of intelligence
Do less and achieve more
Turn the small into the Great
Make the impossible possible
The Learning Switch
A brain is one of the most miraculous things in the universe.
Let’s use it
Dreams and Imagination
Dream big and they will follow
Awareness in the Moment
If you are awake, they can wake up.
Newness can only come from the Now.
And now, back to chapter six, which is essential three: Variation.
It’s as simple as this:
if everything is the same, the brain ( and person) doesn’t know anything.
Look at a tree.
If you don’t know it’s different than the sky, you don’t know the tree exists.
This is obvious, but all babies learn this. ALL BABIES LEARN THIS.
That’s why they all like:
This is your nose.
This is your ear.
This is your mouth.
Different parts of them.
When they can notice that, they are awake and using intelligence.
THE FUNDAMENTAL UNIT OF INTELLIGENCE IS THE PERCEPTION OF DIFFERENCES.
Ask most teacher what learning is and they’ll fumble around right and left.
When you tell them it’s bringing an awareness to the students of a difference that makes a difference a light bulb goes on. ( Usually. Unfortunately, there are some dumb teachers out there. And if you aren’t one of them, don’t be insulted)
Variation is how you feed this brain food to your child.
Anat has a beautiful example of a young boy who was in a cast for months and months and didn’t know the difference between his hips and his legs and his back and his head.
She shows how quickly he woke up by his brain being woken up to small differences.
WE WANT THE CHILD/ YOUR CHILD TO HAVE A BETTER BRAIN.
Not to do this and that better.
With a better brain, everything gets better.
Children are not dogs or horses.
They don’t need to be trained and drilled.
They need to be woken up to their incredible possibilities once they start to notice more and more differences.
Anat has five sections of suggestions for parents.
Read the book. Buy three copies of the book. See the link to the right.
Roughly, they are:
1. Tugging Gently at the Edges of Movement
Which is take something your child can easily do, and create fun and interesting variation.
Come in for lessons and see how rich, amazingly rich this can be.
A recent mother whose daughter made great gains remarked on how “everything now is a place for learning and growth for my daughter.” ( see, Big Gains in 5 days)
2. Trust Small Changes
Like is says, small is what the brain can recognize. It’s not yoga class where you want to show off for the teacher, or your ego, where you want to see BIG gains, but their brain, which every time it learns, gets to be a better brain, to solve all problems, moving, thinking, feeling, living.
IT’S ABOUT THEIR BRAIN, WHICH EVERY TIME IT LEARNS, GETS TO BE A BETTER BRAIN, TO SOLVE PROBLEMS IN MOVING, THINKING, FEELING AND LIVNG
3. Follow your child’s lead
This ties in with the Son Rise philosophy completely.
If the child is interested, their attention will be there. If attention is there, brain rewiring takes place.
Rote and uninterested movement can make a donkey or a child stronger, but the brain, the brain.. ah, tis a waste of a brain.
4. “Mistakes” are in your mind, not the child’s reality ( my paraphrase to improve the book)
Take any action as a chance for playing with something new.
5. Getting Good at Variation
You’ll get smarter as you help your child get smarter
6. Discovering the Differences
In here a great example of how she teaches children with reading difficulties to feel the difference between a straight line and a dot and a wiggly line on their face or arm.
This is writing, reading: de coding different shapes of lines.
This is brilliance.
Read the chapter. Read them all.
De code your own brilliance.