Ever see that youtube video of the bike they remade so when you turn the handlebars one way, the bike turns in the other? And nobody could ride it? Even though intellectually you understood what was going on, your body was so trained to react in one way that your brain couldn’t override it? When I saw it, I (arrogantly) thought that after a few minutes I would be able to ride that bike.
I’m living a little bit of that right now with this eye thing. Can’t see out of one eye temporarily, so half the world is blank. But if I turn my head just 2 inches to one side, I get full view of what’s in front of me. But my body is so trained that even though I keep reminding myself to turn my head a little bit… it’s face meet doorway, head meet hanging planter… I know, I KNOW if I turn my head, I can see. But still I can’t do it.
Is this what our kids go through? They’ve been “trained” that the world acts one way their entire lives. Then they come into our homes, and we tell them the world works another way. Intellectually, they can see that maybe yes, it does work that way. But fighting that first response in nearly impossible to do, at least over a short term basis. We expect our kids to “see” the truth of what we tell them, have an epiphany of sorts, and understand. And maybe, intellectually, they do. But the body is has been trained to react before the brain. It takes a long time to undo that training. If I can’t, a grown adult, in a non stress situation, can’t do something so simple as to turn my head 2 inches when I walk so I don’t run into anything…. how can a stressed-out, traumatized kid be expected to react with brain first and react differently than how they’ve always reacted to life issues?
Kind of eye opening to me, no pun intended, for my kid. Maybe he’s not just being stubborn. Maybe there’s just so much body first reaction that it never gets to his brain. Maybe we’re missing a step, maybe we just need more time… whatever it is, it might not just be him being oppositional and fighting us.
Food for thought.