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Lifestyle

April 13, 2014

Kids need to develop 'mindsight,' not just learn 'stuff.'

Dear Doctor,

We read your column on Chester Greenwood. Are there any readings or books which would help? We want to see our kids be themselves and creative, caring human beings.

Creative Parent

Dear Creative,

You are a breath of fresh air.

Allow me to share with you an author and some ideas he has developed. Dr. Dan Siegel is a psychiatrist who has coined the word “Mindsight.” He has numerous books, and you can catch a lecture or two on YouTube. He sees neurological development as having two major foci. One is external and has more to do with behavior. The other is internal and has to do with self awareness, knowing who one is and connecting with selfhood.

He thinks, and I agree, that school curricula are focused on the external. We tend to stress learning “stuff” and test with “standardized” instruments to determine how much “stuff” a child knows.

Granted, learning skills are important, but Siegel thinks we need an additional “three Rs.” These are reflection, relationships and resilience. My idea is not unlike what he sees. We have curricula that focus on mass production just like cars, corn flakes or sausage. We are educating our children using such a model. We need more “boutique” education using smaller classrooms and teachers who stress knowing one’s self as much as mastering math abilities.

Think about how you can encourage your children to reflect, become aware of themselves and develop “mindsight.” I will do the same and try to revisit your question in a future column.

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Dr. Larry Larsen is an Andover psychologist. If you would like to ask a question, or respond to one, you can email Dr. Larry Larsen at lrryllrsn@CS.com.

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