Narrative from O. Fred Donaldson’s book Playing By Heart : “I was kneeling on a school playground in South Africa surrounded by young Black children who are amused, excited and curious to see, touch and play with the tall white man on the ground with them. From the back of the group the smallest boy squirmed through the others until he crawled into my lap. He reached out and wrapped his tiny arms around me as far as they would go and held me tight. He didn’t ask much, just for me to be there with him. We stayed together until the bell rang and the children ran to the school. He didn’t run away. He stayed for a moment and hugged. The he quietly walked away. When I returned to the school one of the staff asked me if I knew anything about the little boy in my lap. I replied that I knew nothing about him. She said that he was brought to the school after he was found tied up in a black plastic bag and thrown away. I turned away and looked through tears back out onto the playground. What are the secret lessons that children like this little boy have to offer? How did he come to me so openly? I felt from him no anger, fear, revenge; instead I felt belonging, love, a yearning for peace. This way of peace is inherent in children’s original play.”
PRESSURE created by Joan Jaeckel and Wendel Meldrum
“ I was kneeling on a school playground in South Africa surround ed by young Bla ck children who are amused, excited and curious to see, touch and play with th e tall white man on the ground with them. From the back of t he g roup the s mallest boy squir med thr ough the others until he crawled into my lap . He rea ched out and wra pped his tiny arms around me as far as they wo uld g o and hel d me tight. He didn’t ask much , just for me to be there with him. We stayed together until the bell rang and the children ran to the school. He didn’t run away. He stayed for a moment and hugged. The he qui etly w alked away. When I returned to the school one of the staff asked me if I knew anyth ing about the little boy in my lap. I replied that I knew nothing about him. She said that he was brought to the school after he was foun d tied up in a black plastic bag and thrown away. I turned away and look ed through tea rs back out onto the play ground. What are the secret lessons tha t children like this little boy have to offer? How did he come to me so openly? I felt from him no an ger, fear, revenge; inste ad I felt belonging, love, a yearning for peace. This wa y of peace is inherent in children’s original play.”
“ Play will be to the 21 st Century what work was to the last 300 years of industrial society – our dominant way of knowing, doing and creating value.” ~ Daniel H. Pink
PRESSURE It can turn a lump of coal into a brilliant diamond. Or a brilliant child into a lump of coal.
30% of high school students do not graduate from high school.
We may recycle to help save our planet, but are we willing to learn what it takes to help save our children?
Why are children shooting up schools …. and not malls & movie theaters? How are advertisers able to capture the hearts and purchasing power of children?
“ No Child Left Behind” is leaving children behind. "I can't stand giving kindergartners timed standards tests and watching tears trickle down their cheeks. It's just not right." ~ letter to the Los Angeles Times; unidentified teacher who is quitting
How much have parents bought into the pressure to have their kids fit into the consumer culture over basic developmental needs? Knowledge and respect for a child’s basic developmental needs …
… is the missing link - - between realizing our potential as a species and staying trapped in the confusion facing us now.
“ Pressure” is a 90 minute documentary that gives you this missing link. You’ll go on a scientific ride into the body, brain and heart of every human child. It compares what nature has planned for a child to grow with what our cultural biases have led us to believe.
… und zo … let’s define pressure … Jumping in periodically to simplify the scientific will be our animated host -
Zumtimes eet’s goot und zumtimes eet’s not zo goot. Pressure iz zimply a force exertet in a direction. 50 50 80 20
In every child zere’s an inward pressure driving ze child to eat, to bond to walk - in short - to grow up. Zis eez “Nature’s Plan.” The pressure from within . Ze pressure from without eez all the forces that interact with - und zo shape - ze child’s idea of who it eez. Soh. Let’s say zis balloon eez a child. Nature’s Plan Education Religion Media Government Business Family Health
Und zo … you can take any human baby and it vill grow up to fit into whatefer culture eet vas raised in. Und zo, ziss ‘ culture’ , eez zah variable pressure.
But, every child eez designed to follow … ‘ Nature’s Plan.’ Nature’s plan eez za constant.
- Young adults 18-21 - Teens 14-17 - Pre-teens 10-13 - Elementary school children 6-10 - Pre-schoolers 4-6 - Toddlers 2-4 - Babies 0-2 The core of Pressure takes a look, scientifically, at each stage of childhood from birth to 21 and beyond so we can experience a child as it unfolds according to Nature’s Plan. We contrast that with … START HERE
… how different aspects of our culture meet or do not meet the growing child. Three-year old brains One, healthy. One under extreme pressure.
So, what is a child anyway? Our guides through each age of childhood are the Smith-Wilsons, an animated couple ideally voiced by Will Smith and Jada Plunkett Smith. They ask questions as they spar with one another’s point of view. They are the voice of every parent and also present a launching point of inquiry. A baby is somewhere between a little adult and a ah … ah … a pudding, right? Do you think a baby has thoughts? Can it reason?
Pressure takes the science that contains the inner mappings of children’s brains and bodies, their evolving bio-chemistry, social/bonding requirements, biological timing imperatives of learning language, social needs and play, showing … … how we are working with this design to enhance healthy development and how we are usurping this design for other purposes.
“ Biology is a staple at most American high schools. Yet when it comes to the biology of their students – how their brains develop and retain knowledge – school officials would rather not pay attention to the lessons.” “ Can first graders handle French? What time should school start? Should music be cut? Biologists have some important evidence to offer. But not only are they ignored, their findings are often turned upside down.” ~ Newsweek
“ Some scholars and policymakers see clear downsides to all this pressure. ‘Around third grade’, said Holly Hultgen, Principal at the Lafayette Elementary School , ‘some of the most highly pressured learners ‘burn out’.” ~ Newsweek
“ Disney. McDonald’s. Barbie. Sesame Street. Nickelodeon. Nintendo. These brands and a handful of others are truly world class, for they have found a hidden place in a child’s heart and formed a bond that the child holds dear.“ ~ Ever-Cool by G. Del Veccio
“ Our usage exceeds our knowledge base. We’re learning what these drugs are to be used for, but let’s face it: we’re experimenting on these kids.” ~ Dr. Glen Elliott, UCSF Psychiatric Institute
“ Brain scientists tend to be reluctant to make the leap from the laboratory to real life, hardcore teenagers. Some feel a little burned by the way earlier neurological discoveries resulted in Baby Einstein tapes and other marketing schemes that misapplied their science. It is clear, however, that there are implications in the new research for parents, educators and lawmakers.” ~ TIME
“ We put our children in high pressure environments, seeking out the best schools we can find, then we use the constant praise to soften the intensity of those environments.” ~New York
“ No computer can teach what a pine forest feels like. Sensation has no substitute.” “ A prudent society controls its own infatuation with ‘progress’ when planning for its young.” ~ Atlantic Monthly
“ Last year, in an official statement that summarized current research on the adolescent brain, the American Bar Association urged all state legislatures to ban the death penalty for juveniles.” “’ For social and biological reasons,’ it reads, ‘teens have increased difficulty making mature decisions and understanding the consequences of their actions.’” ~ American Bar Association
“ We know that frontal lobes, which manage both compassion and thought, don’t fully mature until age 30.” ~ Stephen Hinshaw, University of California “ In light of what has been learned, it seems almost arbitrary that our society has decided that a young American is ready to drive a car a 16, to vote and serve in the Army at 18 and to drink alcohol at 21.” ~ TIME
“ A person who focuses better taking Ritalin can be ‘like a horse with blinders, plodding along. He’s moving, getting things done, but he’s less open to inspiration.’” “ Some researchers now wonder if would-be-Einsteins and Edisons will choose different career paths because their creativity and drive are dulled by ADHD drugs.” ~ Wall Street Journal
“ If 20 million people were infected by a virus that caused anxiety, impulsivity, aggression, sleep problems, depression, respiratory and heart problems, vulnerability to substance abuse, antisocial and criminal behavior, retardation and school failure, we would consider it an urgent public health crisis. “ ~ Bruce D. Perry, M.D., PhD. Director, ChildTrauma Institute : Author, The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog
“ Yet, in the United States alone, there are more than 20 million … children vulnerable to these problems. Our society has yet to recognize this epidemic, let alone develop an immunization strategy.”
“ Mom and dad were wrong. The future now belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind. The era of ‘left brain’ dominance – and the Information Age that it engendered – is giving way to a new world in which artistic and holistic right brain abilities mark the fault line between who gets ahead and who falls behind.” ~ Daniel H. Pink, author or A Whole New Mind and Free Agent Nation
“ A Whole New Mind reveals the six essential aptitudes – Design, Stories, Symphony, Empathy, Play and Meaning – on which professions success and personal fulfillment now depend.”
“ The final lesson of plasticity is that a human brain, given good foundations, can continue to adapt and expand for a lifetime.” ~ Jane Healy, PhD. Author of Your Child’s Growing Mind
“ Perhaps this quality, above all, is the one we should strive to preserve in all our children.”
“ The idea that Charles Darwin himself believed that the final climb to human civilization required the enactment of … ~ David Loye, author of Darwin’s Theory of Love
… the principle of love far above the survival of the fittest … comes as a surprise.”
“ I do not mean a metaphysical definition of soul or spirit. To engage those questions would take us into the realm of belief and dogma. While entirely appropriate for philosophy or religious education, basing curriculum on any particular definition of soul would inevitably divide us and violate the world view of one group or another.” ~ Rachael Kessler, author of The Soul of Education
“ For this reason I use the word ‘soul’ to call for attention in schools to the inner life: to the depth dimension of human experience: to students’ longings for something more than an ordinary, material, and fragmented existence.”
“ Because later levels of learning are built upon earlier ones it is critical that the earlier ones are allowed to become firm and extensive before a child is moved or is pushed to the next. The best learners at whatever age or stage of development are those that are best prepared to handle change.” ~ O. Fred Donaldson, author of Playing By Heart and founder of Original Play
“ The qualities of spontaneity, wonder, creativity, imagination and trust are best developed in early childhood play.”
“ If children don’t have the time to play, this may, indeed, result in a failure of the frontal lobes to fully mature and sets the neurological stage for frontal lobe/limbic system dysfunction known as ADHD.” ~ Thomas Armstrong, author of The Myth of the ADD Child and The Best Schools: How Human Development Research Should Inform Educational Practice
“ Play actually modifies brain structure and functioning by creating new synaptic connections in the neocortex.”
~William Crain is a developmental psychologist and author of Reclaiming Childhood: Letting Children be Children in Our Achievement Oriented Society “ I served on the school board for nine years. During that time the nation’s top political and educational leaders urged the education ‘reforms’ we hear so much about today – greater academic demands, longer school days, more technology, and greater pressure to boost achievement.”
“ All of this overlooks the inherent strengths, ‘Nature’s Plan’, for childhood. The child as a natural dramatist, as a curious naturalist, a born artist, as poetically bent and a linguistic genius”
Suddenly I realized that a cell’s life is controlled by the physical and energetic environment and NOT by its genes. It is a cell’s “awareness” of the environment, not its genes, that sets into motion the mechanisms of life.” ~ Bruce Lipton, PhD, author of Biology of Belief
“ I believe that the stresses of the increasing human population will be responsible for pushing us up another rung on the evolutionary ladder. We will, I believe, come together in a global community.”
“ From the beginning of life, the brain requires that the characteristics of each new possibility must be demonstrated for us by someone, something, or an event in our environment.” ~ Joseph Chilton Pearce, author of THE BIOLOGY OF TRANSCENDENCE
“ There are no exceptions for this need for modeling.”
“ What if we stopped scanning the horizon with our binoculars and began instead examining our own decision making and behavior through the most powerful of microscopes?” ~ Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Blink
“ I think that would change the way wars are fought, the kinds of products we see on the shelves, the kinds of movies that get made, the way police officers are trained, the way couples are counseled, the way job interviews are conducted, and ….” … the way we raise our children …