I recently viewed a moving video that had me gasping in astonishment. During the video, attached here for your amazement, a 6-year-old has much to teach her mom about the power of, and desperate need for, self-regulation. You will hear her in her own way demonstrate exactly what I mean when I talk about The Zone (the “4, 5, 6, 7,” that brings relief to the “0-10ing” we do most of the time). Just as the 6-year-old shows us in the video that she understands how to live healthy and well, my own son has been teaching me.
When he was 4 years old, nonchalantly while naked in the bath, my son announced out of the blue, “I know I start it, mom. But YOU get into it! Don’t get into it, mom. Just don’t get into it.”
When he was 5, eating breakfast one morning, I was running around trying to get us both out the door. I kept checking in with him about what he needed to do. “Do you know what you’re going to wear? Do you need to bring anything to school today? Have you decided if you’re going to Peter’s after school?” All of a sudden, he snapped and exclaimed, “Stop talking!” And as he grabbed his head he added, “It hurts my brain.”
I was stopped dead in my tracks because I understood. That was the 5-year-old version of what I speak about with my audiences all over North America. We insist on so many words at all the wrong times. When any one of us is under stress, scared or feeling overwhelmed, the last thing our brain has the capacity to do is make sense out of words. I sure hope we start getting this, whether we’re parents, educators, or any other adult working with others.
I agree with one of my spiritual teachers when he reframes the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” He says, on the contrary, “It takes a child to raise a village.” I know for sure my son is raising me, and all I want to say is, “Thank you.”
Check out a podcast I did this week with a fantastic host in New York who interviewed me on how to heal the effects of stress and trauma: