I am attempting to become a runner. I purchased a treadmill and try to make time in my busy schedule each day to run. Of course, the benefits to my cardiovascular system go without saying. The benefits to my brain are too many to list. But I’ve also really enjoyed the time to just think. No one interrupts (at least not toooo often), so I can think thoughts all the way through to the end of the sentence. I love it!
I wanted to write about an observation I made while I was on my beloved treadmill. This treadmill has a very nice digital readout of how many miles I’ve run, how many laps I’ve run, how many calories I’ve burned, how long I’ve been running and how my hair looks that day. Just kidding about the hair, but there is a LOT of information on this console. On a door several feet in front of me, I have put pictures that motivate me and remind me of the reasons running is important to me.
Many times, however, I find my eyes glued to the console. I am watching every calorie drop, every 1/100 of a mile pass and re-calculating in my head exactly how much further I have to run. I do this a lot. Occasionally, I look up at the pictures and remember why I’m running–looking toward my goals. I’ve observed about myself that when I just run with my head up and facing my goals, I am not as tired and can run further. When my eyes are fixed on every little bit of effort I’ve expended, I struggle to get my whole distance in. I want to take breaks or even stop before I’ve crossed the virtual finish line.
Doing a neurological program with our children can be a LOT the same way. If we are focused only on how much creeping we’ve done each week, if we are counting the steps until we can be finished, if we are only looking at the amount of effort and time we’re spending, we will get get tired, discouraged and want to stop before we’ve crossed the finish line. When we remember WHY we are doing the program, we can go further, do a little more, be more patient and finish the race.
So what is the difference between looking at what we’re doing NOW and looking toward our goals? It is perspective. Dictionary.com lists one definition of perspective as “the faculty of seeing all the relevant data in a meaningful relationship.” ALL the relevant data–that says to me that it is important to know how far we’ve come, how much further we have to go, how many times we’ve done a certain brain stimulation that day, etc. I need the information on my treadmill console and you need the information about what you are doing each day. This helps us measure our progress, tells us when we’ve done enough, and helps us set future goals.
But we need to go a little beyond measuring our day-to-day effort and put that data into “a meaningful relationship”. We need to remember the reasons WHY we are putting forth the effort to do a neurological program. We need to keep in perspective the value of the goal and remember the effort must be sufficient to meet that goal.
When I am in personal evaluations with clients, the goals we write are LOFTY. I give them the information they need to change the PHYSICAL STRUCTURE OF A BRAIN. This is an incredibly amazing goal. Please realize that scientists have had their careers ended and been ostracized for even suggesting that brains can change—much less actually accomplish those changes. You are not just providing random stimulation hoping something turns out right—you are providing targeted, specific stimulation and expect specific, positive results in the form of measurable improvement in function. You are trying to achieve something that will affect the entire life of your child—which will affect the lives of your grandchildren, and their children and so on. In the words of my children, this is a big deal.
So please consider each day what is is that you are ACTUALLY doing. Each day when you begin your neurological program, you are setting about to open up the vistas of the universe to your child. You are improving their ability to interact with the people around them. You are opening the doors for them to choose any field of study they would choose. You are improving their ability to effectively move their body through space and join in the wonderful world of play with their peers. Try placing some reminders around the house so you can see them and put your efforts into perspective. Then remember to look at them. It will help you win the race.