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BALANCED CHILD DEVELOPMENT IN THE LIGHT OF NEW CHALLENGES

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REVIEW OF THE BOOK
Published in Polish language by IMPULS, 2009

The increasing social pathologies, manifested with aggressive behavior on the streets and in the schools, as well as the growing number of suicides among children and teenagers, forces the adults to take a closer look at the causes of such process and to start from the beginning – the quality of upbringing and early school education, which influence the behavior, self-image, worldview and the creation of healthy personality in a child/young human being.
Being adults (parents or teachers), we are sometimes not aware of the fact that disorders in balanced child development may be caused by ignorant upbringing and interference in a child’s natural development. This causes gigantic and unpredictable effects, not only individual (health and life), but also social and global – influencing the family, the society and the world. A teacher or a parent deals with a living, very impressionable, organism and interferes in another person’s identity and dignity. Thus, the future of each individual and the entire world depends on their influences. A condition which must be met in order for adult influence to be positive is the awareness of its effect on the future life and health of each child, or young human being, as well as assuring such quality of education/upbringing as soon as possible, so that no therapy is needed in the near future.
We adults, however, are already aware that the current education, including upbringing, requires a reversal of the deteriorated environment (vide ecological damages and their consequences, resulting in the need to repair the world, which is discussed on the international level during the so-called Earth Summit conferences), as well as the regeneration of what was “ingrained” in our minds and children’s minds by ignorance (violent, aggressive models shown in detail on TV). A wide range of surfacing individual pathologies – physical (in the form of psychosomatic and so-called civilization diseases), mental and social (including alcoholism, drug addiction, violence, various other addictions – to cigarettes, medicines, food, shopping, as well as environmental pollution), reveal an individual’s instability, which is a consequence of improper upbringing and education. This situation demands an approach to upbringing which is not only educational, but also therapeutic.

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BALANCED CHILD DEVELOPMENT IN THE LIGHT OF NEW CHALLENGES

  1. 1. Ewa Białek BALANCED CHILD DEVELOPMENT. The application of psychosynthesis in upbringing, prevention and therapy SUMMARY The increasing social pathologies, manifested with aggressive behavior on thestreets and in the schools, as well as the growing number of suicides among childrenand teenagers, forces the adults to take a closer look at the causes of such process andto start from the beginning – the quality of upbringing and early school education,which influence the behavior, self-image, worldview and the creation of healthypersonality in a child/young human being. Being adults (parents or teachers), we are sometimes not aware of the fact thatdisorders in balanced child development may be caused by ignorant upbringing andinterference in a child’s natural development. This causes gigantic and unpredictableeffects, not only individual (health and life), but also social and global – influencingthe family, the society and the world. A teacher or a parent deals with a living, veryimpressionable, organism and interferes in another person’s identity and dignity. Thus,the future of each individual and the entire world depends on their influences. Acondition which must be met in order for adult influence to be positive is theawareness of its effect on the future life and health of each child, or young humanbeing, as well as assuring such quality of education/upbringing as soon as possible, sothat no therapy is needed in the near future. We adults, however, are already aware that the current education, includingupbringing, requires a reversal of the deteriorated environment (vide ecologicaldamages and their consequences, resulting in the need to repair the world, which isdiscussed on the international level during the so-called Earth Summit conferences), aswell as the regeneration of what was “ingrained” in our minds and children’s minds byignorance (violent, aggressive models shown in detail on TV). A wide range ofsurfacing individual pathologies – physical (in the form of psychosomatic and so-called civilization diseases), mental and social (including alcoholism, drug addiction,violence, various other addictions – to cigarettes, medicines, food, shopping, as well asenvironmental pollution), reveal an individual’s instability, which is a consequence ofimproper upbringing and education. This situation demands an approach to upbringingwhich is not only educational, but also therapeutic. The current political and economic reality and the related globalizationprocesses all over the world require a perspective on education which takes intoaccount the global picture of the world and the human being. Similarly, scientificdiscoveries from various fields and the substantiation of the holistic approach to thehuman being and the world require a change of the entire educational system – whichhas to include the whole upbringing process, starting with preschool education and theentire school system, all the way to training teachers at universities. Moreover, thesystem has to also embrace the progress of modern knowledge in various fields ofscience, especially medicine, psychology, ecology and pedagogy, which set new areasof interdisciplinary activity, including the spiritual aspect of education. This issues anurgent challenge to the university personnel. The task is to prepare such a program ofteacher training which, above all, will support the teacher and the student (the child) asa person – support their “humanum” sphere, and lead to full personal development,
  2. 2. supporting the development of all spheres of personality (physical, emotional andintellectual, as well as the will and the spirit). This program should also support the teacher’s self-revision, motivation to workin this profession and satisfaction from it, authority and prestige among the students,as well as charisma, which attracts the students and reinforces their positive traits. Itshould also prepare the teacher to promote and express through themselves a universalsystem of values, to educate in order to achieve balanced development, health, peace,morality and ethics. Nowadays, the teacher works in an environment, which is often pathologicaland, at the same time, unwittingly creates it (by distancing themselves from thestudent’s personal problems and adverse situations occurring in their environment).Meanwhile, the teacher is not equipped with tools to work in such situations or withself-defense mechanisms. They also cannot defend other “still healthy” students from“succumbing” to pathology. An attitude which involves loosing one’s nerve is not agood example of authority – it results in an ineffective transfer of knowledge. Thus, there is an urgent need to prepare not only the essence of pedagogicaltheory, based on a new, holistic, humanistic and spiritual paradigm and perception ofthe human being and the world, but also on preparing new methodologies, especiallyrelated to upbringing and teaching. Upbringing and education are the most vital personal experiences in everyone’slife. Both processes lead to self-discovery, they prepare one to adult life, dealing witheveryday problems, discovering one’s talents and revealing them to the world,building proper relations with others, respecting the environment one lives in andsaving it for future generations. They are fundamental to school education and they areverified by social functioning of a person within a community. The family and theschool are the source, while the society and the world are the reflection, or a mirror, ofproper or wrong policy and strategy of upbringing and educating an individual child(human being). In this context, upbringing and education become the responsibility of a singleteacher and the entire teacher community, as well as “the teachers’ teachers”(university researchers), which is also responsibility for the state of the world. And itis at school in particular, that the fundamental Hippocrates rule should apply – a rulethat has so far been used only in medicine – “primum non nocere – first of all, do notharm,” as harm can be done, in fact, to all individuals around the world. Sincerelations are the key, every single action influences the entire “web of life,” includingbiological, physical, psychological, social and cultural relations in phenomenon of life. The development of a child, in order to be complete and balanced, must concernevery aspect of its personality, from supporting the body, senses, feelings, mind,imagination and will to the spiritual sphere. The entire process of upbringing,according to modern science, is “somatic” – it influences the psyche, and as aconsequence, the body (which is the main “receiver” of verbal information and a placewhere reaction to this information takes place), as well as mental health and otherbody functions which enable it to be in the world (feelings, imagination, intellect,intuition and will) and form relations with others and the world. It also supports thecomplete personal fulfillment in the world, aiming at the self-revision of the entireperson. Thus, it is related to the humanization of the upbringing process (what iscalled the subjectivity of a child), addition of the spiritual aspect, as well as parenteducation (creating a system preparing for “aware parenthood” – i.e. supporting thechild’s personal and spiritual development from the youngest age to maturity). As aresult, the child, already at home, will see that it is understood, as is its own life
  3. 3. program, while the parents will understand better the reason behind their actionsduring the upbringing process, which is the support of natural (contained within)biological plan (as if it was a plant seed) and requires the creation of psychologicalatmosphere aimed at proper, healthy child development to its fullest potential. Thanksto the above, the child, step-by-step, will find a base for harmonious growth, firstwithin the family and then at school, which will help it discover its own place in thesociety and the world in the future. The child, starting from the young age, will also bemotivated, internally and externally, to discover its talents, learning to respond toconflicts within itself and with others, as well as build healthy relations. The child willalso be able to turn its future work into its life’s passion, which at the same time wouldbe the need to contribute to others’ lives. Moreover, this demands that the upbringingprocess focus on the person – its quality, complete development and fulfillment in life. Balanced development means aware support of the entire body’s growth andsecuring all of its natural, physiological needs, from the biophysical and psycho-spiritual perspective. It means education for the future – to prevent future treatment ofeffects, when it is too late. A modern human being needs a new, spiritual perspective, because the previous,one-dimensional (perceived only as a set of organs, systems and behaviors) humanbeing is an incomplete, not fully realized, vision. Such reductionistic approachpresents a great risk of moral abuse. Balanced development is related to harmonious cooperation of the entire humanbody. Thus, it requires awakening of what is asleep and adjusting of what is unbridled.All these activities resemble the work of a gardener, who keeps a perfect model of acertain plant in their mind and helps the plant to bring out its true beauty by creatingappropriate conditions for it to grow and blossom. Thus, the holistic education is now a task, and at the same time, a challenge forthe school. This challenge must be met by preparing the teachers (the tutors), as wellas upbringing and educating the children. If we want to discover ourselves, our spiritual part and the spiritual dimension ofthe world, the primary imperative is to turn towards those psychological theorieswhich include this aspect of human life in all fields related to human activities,especially pedagogy. An example of such theory, which at the same time is practice, ispsychosynthesis, created by an Italian psychiatrist and neurologist, Dr. RobertoAssagioli (1888-1974). Psychosynthesis is a positive concept of the human being during the dynamicprocess of their development in the evolving universe. It aims at facilitating thisprocess by making it more lively and balanced through aware cooperation with thelaws and forces of nature, which are present in the human being. Above all, it focuseson the upbringing/education of each individual, according to its fundamental rule:“when it’s on time – it’s education; when it’s late – it’s therapy,” but it also helps intherapy (when such needs arises, and then in the re-education), in the etymologicalmeaning of the word “educare” (Latin): “searching within” and bringing it out, as wellas “going towards” fuller development. The word “synthesis” derives from Greek and means “putting everythingtogether.” Synthesis is a combination of various parts, which creates a cohesive whole.In theory, psychosynthesis combines psychology with philosophical and religiousapproach, although it remains neutral. A result of such synthesis is a comprehensivetheory of human nature and, at the same time, a wide range of techniques, which canbe applied in various fields of consultancy related to the human being, and which is,above all, extremely vital in upbringing and education.
  4. 4. The keynote of this psychosynthesis-based book is the support of balanceddevelopment of a child (a human being). It is education for the future – to preventfuture treatment of effects, when it is too late and, at the same time, making one’s ownpsychosynthesis an everyday process of individual organization and integration. Ireferred to some elements of developmental psychology, described in various studiesand appearing in literature over the years, in order to use them as a basis for presentingthe scope of influence the psychosynthesis methods have on child development duringits various periods (its various functions and behaviors). The book presents the theory of human development based on thepsychosynthetic approach, which leads to their “blossoming,” – it attempts tounderstand the nature of the human being from within themselves, their meaning ofexistence, their predispositions, as well as their possibilities of becoming known to theworld, thanks to proper influence of upbringing at home and at school, which meansthe educational reason behind actions taken. In the case of psychosynthesis, the tutor, regardless of whether it is the parent orthe teacher, becomes a guide who is to lead the child towards such development of itspersonality, which will allow it to lead personal life in a happy, positive andsatisfactory way, build healthy relations with others, awaken its potentials, as well asto help the child perfect them (itself). Through their own psychosynthesis, the tutor isto show the child the path of self-education, stimulate its creativity and find motivationwithin the child to utilize its predispositions and talents in life and for others. Theiraim is to prepare the child to self-realization in the world – to blossoming. This book is a pioneer work in a field which has so far been extremely neglectedwhen it comes to school education – that is, upbringing, which is particularlyimportant from the social point of view for humanitarian reasons, influencing eachhuman being, the entire society and the world. It is the first attempt at integratedapproach to upbringing – holistic support of health and harmonious development. Itpresents an inventive approach, as it combines the newest achievements in the fields oftheory related to child development, and an original approach, as it usespsychosynthesis and medical knowledge of the Author to take a look at thedevelopment from holistic perspective – a look at both health and illness (pathology),the former understood as physical, mental and social health during all stages ofpersonal development. It is, thus, a synthesis of knowledge and life, a theoretical andpractical approach, supported by numerous publications from the last ten years, whichintroduce the principles of psychosynthesis and include “self manuals” – “guides toself-education,” an education called for by professors W. Pasterniak and A. Szyszko-Bohusz. It presents the relation between theoretical solutions with specific educationalpractice, verified and included in particular methods, described in various publicationsof psychosynthesists. It refers to a variety of literature works published by me withinthe last nearly 10 years, describing the theory and practice of psychosynthesis andaimed at tutors/teachers – lesson plans for pre-school and school teachers, as well asacademic staff. This book is my contribution to such upbringing which prevents the need oftherapy in the future.
  5. 5. CONTENTS 1. Foreword 2. Upbringing: what it is and what is can be 3. The idea of upbringing: balanced development and health 4. Understanding the child’s true nature 5. Introduction to psychosynthesis 6. The laws of psychodynamics – psycho-energy laws 7. Basic concepts of upbringing / education based on psychosynthesis 8. The complexity of personality 9. The approach of psychosynthesis to sub-personality 10. The holistic theory of human development 11. Upbringing the able and the ablest children 12. Psychosynthesic approach to child development 13. Upbringing which supports a child’s balanced development 14. The role of tutor in supporting a child’s balanced development 15. Methods and techniques helpful in psychosynthesis-based upbringing 16. The role of tutor – personal fulfillment 17. Afterword 18. Bibliography 19. Summary 20. Contents 21. SUPPLEMENTS: Continuing education cycles for teachers The program of healthy upbringing in the family, the school and the world Further reading

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