Early childhood is a time of rapid learning for the mother which occurs in tandem with the rapid changes in your baby. Just like pregnancy, some of the changes are gradual and some occur in unexpected spurts, but unlike pregnancy, the changes in your baby are all happening in front of your very eyes. Whilst some areas of develop-ment are due to the programming of genes and the unfolding circumstances of nature, many others are functions of your own parenting interactions and skills. Childhood development includes the many facets of physical development, intellectual development, emotional development, social development and spiritual development - all of which are subtly intertwined.
Each child is born with different innate abilities and disabilities, talents and deficiencies and it is the role of the parents to help develop the best all-round unfoldment of their child's human potential. This growth can happen in only two ways - unintentional or intentional. Unintentional learning or accidental growth can help a child evolve to a certain level, but only as far as that child's level of awareness or that of their guide allows. Natural evolution is a slow, trial and error approach.
Intentional growth on the other hand, is brought about by conscious input from others of a higher awareness than the child. It utilises known truths, previous experience and the wisdom of maturity. And this is the true role of the parent - to purposely "feed" their child their best developmental opportunities available.
Appreciating the role of a human being's development in the tantric terms of energy and consciousness can help us to understand what is happening in a child at any particular time, and what are the most appropriate ways of dealing with changes in their growth. To watch a baby grow in energy (body and brain development) and consciousness (personal and external awareness) is a powerful reminder of the true nature of all human beings. The process of development we witness a baby going through is the same one we went through ourselves and are still going through. Evolution is not a static thing but a continually transforming process. Early childhood is an ideal time to reflect on the raw nature of this process without the complexities of maturation getting in the way. In young children we can clearly
see the very basics of human structure. Their lives exemplify the essentials of human existence.
Parenting can remind us of the parts of ourselves we take for granted or think we have grown through. It is like a revision course for our own lives, an ideal time to pick up lost pieces, make amends within ourselves. It can take us back to our own childhood and allow us to relive it with a higher awareness, albeit through our children's lives. This of course can have both good and bad consequences. The good possibilities can cause us to share with our children all the best experiences of our own childhoods, the bad can cause a repetition, a transference of our own unfulfilled childhoods. In early childhood, we have a wonderful opportu-nity to teach our children from a wiser, less instinctive framework than they currently know. And in early parenthood, we also have a great opportunity to learn from seeing in our children the simplicity of living.
Any parent or teacher, can only ever take their child or their student as far as they have been themselves. They can only help others up to their own level of awareness. So when helping a child develop to their best abilities, we need to sharpen our perceptions and broaden our own perspectives. The first step in achieving this is realising that we are still evolving, that we ourselves are still growing up, that our parenthood is an opportunity to continue that personal growth.
Quick Reference List
Of Early Childhood Development
In Table 6 on page 383, the common areas and usual time frames of childhood development are listed. Always remember that most figures on human development are only approximate or average. Many children's development will be outside these timings. Deviations are not necessarily indicators of developmental problems. Many factors, inborn and social, will affect the rate at which children's bodies and minds evolve.
Earlier than usual development does not necessarily mean you have produced a gifted child, nor does late development mean the opposite. Boys also differ from girls in some ways, and each child will unfold in their own unique way. These timings are included to let you know round about when to expect these things in your life so that you can be better prepared at the time.