Attuning Your Right Cortex
is a new column or section of our newsletter that I am devoting to
musings on arts education. There will be one short musing with a link
blog for additional comments.
Then there will be a "Do Try This at Home!" tip for creative play with
your child. Musing
- Attuning with Your ChildI
was recently reading the SSCreativeseeds book of the year: Play, How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates
the Soul when I came across this paragraph: "At age three
or four months of age, if a child is well fed and safe, and a mother's
emotional state is one of openness and calm, when parent and child make
eye contact they initiate a harmonic meeting of the minds. As they gaze
into each other's eyes, the baby will radiate a compelling smile and
the mother will automatically respond with a surge of emotion and verbal
and bodily joyfulness - and smile back. He will make little sounds, a
babble, or light laughter and she will respond in a rhythmic singsong
voice. This is universal across all cultures around the globe. What's
going on in the brain is even more amazing. As they lock eyes, both
mother and child are synchronizing the neural activity in the right
cortex of each brain."
Ok, I will stop there, because that is
where I stopped, put down my book, and tried to remember how it felt to
synchronize the neural activity in the right cortex of my brain.
Nothing came to me, and I panicked as a trickle of sweat rolled down my
cheek on that sizzling July night. I missed it. It never happened. I
never attuned with my children.
But then a miracle happened. That very night - during a spate of requests for "Fly Me To the Moon", my son surprised me by asking for an old favorite, "Su La Li". I always tell my classes how, just days old, he stopped nursing and turned his head when I sang this song to him. This was because he had been hearing it for months in the womb as I sang to his sister. And now, in this fitful moment of parental right cortex systems failure, he reassured me that we must have attuned.
And I realized, if we don't attune when we sing songs from the heart to our children, ain't nothin' gonna tune.