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May 24, 2022

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This section of the Alphabetical Brain® Vocabulary website is designed to help parents and teachers (or any adult who cares for children) develop a balanced approach to making sure that they and the children they influence can learn healthy brain and mind habits. It also teaches the creative thinking skills and emotional control skills necessary to understand the new brain knowledge.

Today a child's success in life depends more than ever before on learning independent thinking skills and emotionally intelligent reasoning skills. It is vitally important to teach children how to determine the rational benefits and probable risks of their decisions.

Daily, children need to practice using their critical thinking skills and their critical reading strategies where the word "critical" means using basic logic and reasoning skills to evaluate new information.

Then children will be able to learn faster to master the basic facts and ideas related to the physical structures of their brains and the mental functions of their minds. And the more brain knowledge children learn about the new "brain facts and ideas" from brain science while they are young, the better they will be able to control their mental functions as they get older at all ages and stages of their development.

By understanding the new scientific evidence regarding brain structures and mental functions, parents and teachers can begin creating educational skill-sets to deal with personal or social family and classroom relationship issues, both good and bad. This foundational brain knowledge can provide you and your children with a big intellectual and emotional advantage for making all other decisions.

The brain knowledge on this website can give you the ability to make plans and achieve your goals by managing your emotions better. By using the linguistic context provided by the Alphabetical Brain® Vocabulary website, you can easily learn how the parts of your brain and your mind are connected and how they function dynamically and interactively.

The new core brain knowledge includes science information that applies evidence-based best-practices parenting principles and leadership skills to the process of learning. This new brain knowledge can help people control their own emotions better during social relationships and even social and political confrontations.

The significant bonus for using the new brain information is this:
    "What is good for the BRAINS of children
    is also good for the HEARTS of children."

Children need to exercise regularly, eat nutritious foods, challenge their brains on a daily basis by solving difficult problems, either alone or by collaborating with other children or adults, and develop the habit of consistently sleeping 8-10 hours nightly.

For example, if parents and teachers give their children the advice of scientists who study sleep and health needs of children and adults, both children and adults would be able to live happier and longer lives. For example, to focus on sleep, parents and teachers can use the link in the following information box to the book, Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker, a UC Berkeley professor and sleep expert. And to focus on general health issues, parents and teachers can use the link to the book, Timeless, by Louis Cozolino, who is a professor of psychology at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles with two other important books to his credit:

Unlocking the Power
of Sleep and Dreams

by Matthew P. Walker.
Scribner, 2017 (i-viii, 360 pages)

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Nature's Formula for
Health and Longevity

by Louis Cozolino.
W.W Norton, 2018, 2008
(i-xiv, 351 pages)
[1st ed. published under the title:
The Healthy Aging Brain --- Sustaining
Attachment, Attaining Wisdom.]

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Matthew Walker wrote:
    "After two decades of my own research efforts, combined with thousands of studies from other laboratories around the world, we have many of the answers... These sleep revelations, together with many similar discoveries from my fellow sleep scientists... offer all the proof you need about the vital importance of sleep:"
You can see Walker's list of 12 Tips for Healthy Sleep at the link in the information box. [Note: The list of tips were reprinted from the National Institute of Medicine's Medline Plus (Internet). Bethesda, MD: National Library of Medicine (US); Summer 2012. Tips for Getting a Good Night's Sleep.

This list is also available at:
You can start teaching your children to "love to go to sleep." You can train children lifelong sleeping skills using the mindfulness approach. It can be done within the social context of unconditional loving kindness and the advice of sleep experts like Matthew Walker who described in his book how he "loves to sleep."

But you are the leader and there are no other authorities who have such a profoundly important opportunity to establish healthy sleep habits for your children. You can teach children how to avoid sleep disorders while they are young and most impressionable. This can give them a wonderful gift that will keep on giving forever. The alternative is knowing that, if sleep skills are not taught well, then almost nothing else will matter as much for their long-term health and longevity.

With respect to the Louis Cozolino and his book Timeless it is important to remember that the well-known medical concept of homeostasis or balance of body systems is called "flow" in modern psychology. This kind of balance in your feelings and moods can become one of your ultimate goals for mastering your own health and longevity. This is because reducing negative emotions, especially extremely negative emotions, and increasing positive emotions is a well-known health skill that you can aqpply in your adult life and teach children to learn during their youth.

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As a parent or teacher, you can have a strong positive impact on the lives of children if you lead by example and consistently do the right things to help them grow in dignity and self-respect. This kind of character education refers to the ethical principle known around the world as the Golden Rule.

This universally promoted humanistic ethical rule may be the most important mantra/meme in the history of humanity:

"Do to others
what you want them to do to you."

To be clear, this website is designed to motivate parents and teachers to adopt rational liberal humanistic values as their core behavior for influencing children and teenagers. This includes teaching respect for secular democratic laws and the appreciation of diverse cultural ideas and behaviors. And it promotes a revulsion of all kinds of racial prejudices, both implicit (sub-conscious motivated behavior) and explicit (conscious motivated behavior).

This proactive positive attitude toward teaching children how to cope with prejudicial behavior is particularly important when threats of violent physical or emotional behavior or violent behavior is involved.

This means that it is important to teach children to recognize how racial discrimination and the various prejudices all need to be challenged continually. Both parents and teachers can organize open secure family or classroom discussions about human rights and dignity for all children and youth regardless of their lifestyles.

For example, it is important to have family values which are clearly enunciated often. This can remind children that there is a right and a wrong way to behave with respect to family values and personal relationships. The family or classroom standards of correct conduct need to be reinforced frequently to strengthen the conscious understanding of children and their ability to recall them when appropriate.

Parents and teachers need to provide younger children with continuous reminders of the right way to treat others and the best way to spend their time. Good parents and teachers know that being good role models is their lifelong task.

Inevitably, children must learn how to use their creative imagination skills and their logical reasoning skills to defend both their family values and personal ethics. Also it is important for children to understand the historic reasons for learning secular civic values and personal ethical values as they grow older and wiser in accordance with their maturity levels.

Parents and teachers need to remember that there is a difference between people with modern open minds who have "growth mindsets" and people with traditional closed minds who have "fixed mindsets".

People with fixed mindsets are often motivated by habitual childhood beliefs frozen in the past. This makes it hard for them to use logical reasoning skills when thinking about the meaning of life and the true existential humanistic causes of human nature. But they have to deal with this challenge as their adaptable brains and minds develop through adolescence.

All serious social issues can be discussed and argued (without anger) within the family or classroom settings. Such practice sessions or rehearsals in the family and the classroom settings can give children a better understanding of how to maintain their own attitudes toward others.

For example, self-centered bullies, whose meanness is often brutal, is caused by various mental illnesses, such as borderland personality disorder, or pathological narcissism, or schizophrenia. Nevertheless, by applying critical thinking skills and critical reading strategies, children can be taught to be prepared when they have to deal with bullies and others who may have prejudicial attitudes and habits.

Knowing the difference yourself can give you the ability to have an open mind and be curious about the future. Closed-minded people usually have traditional faith-based religious ideas devoid of logical humanistic explanations. The personalities of such people were usually manipulated by internalized childhood socialization or acculturation training as children in their home or churches. The childhood conditioning often includes political and religious attitudes, which rely heavily on habits of fanciful magical thinking instead of rational logical reasoning.

See the following information box that connects publication data for four great books, All I Really Need to Know I learned in Kindergarten and Maybe — Maybe Not, both books by Robert Fulghum , a popular Unitarian minister/author during the 1980s and 1990s, and the books Mindset by Carol Dweck and Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler. The last two authors are professors and research scientists at Stanford University.


Uncommon thoughts on common things
by Robert Fulghum,
Villard Books, 1988.
(i-ix, 196 pages)
[Subject Term = Life]

Click or Tap to Outline and Reviews

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Second thoughts from a secret life.
by Robert Fulghum.
Random House 1993 (249 pages)

Click or Tap to Outline and Reviews

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The New Psychology of Success
by Carol S. Dweck.
Random House, 2006,
2016 updated edition (i-xi, 301 pages)

Click or Tap to Outline and Reviews

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Unleashing Students' Potential
Through Creative Math, Inspiring
Messages, and Innovative Teaching.

by Jo Boaler.
Jossey-Bass/A Wiley Brand, 2016
(i-xiii, 292 pages)

Click or Tap to Outline and Reviews

To learn the new brain vocabulary, parents need to teach their children modern critical thinking skills and critical reading strategies and reinforce them frequently. In this context, the word "critical" means having the reasoning skill-set to evaluate the content of the new information which a child is thinking or reading about at the time he or she is first exposed to it.

It means not taking new information for granted without using reasoning skills to evaluate the content as being true statements with supporting factual evidence. In short, it means not blindly or mindlessly accepting the new content of information as true when it actually is false.

The new brain information is especially urgent when teaching children to maintain a critical attitude toward negative influences from "news feeds" from social media or apps or online commercial and business contacts or unsolicited email spam. Also it is important to teach children how to turn off most notifications.

Humanist parents and teachers need to use their Intellectual Intelligence (IQ) and their Emotional Intelligence (EQ) to reason effectively with children. They need to create a fulfilling philosophy of life for themselves at the same time they teach children the same love of wisdom.

Social Intelligence [SI] is based upon modern humanistic secular principles for understanding a human mind's amazing functions in the context of evolutionary biology and cognitive neuroscience.

Specifically, children need to be taught the correct words that describe their mental functions in order for them to become more resilient concerning their lifelong safety and security needs as well as their personal independence and social belonging needs. See updated details about Abraham Maslow's Need-Hierarchy Theory of Personality by Scott Barry Kaufman:
    Scott Barry Kaufman's book, Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization was published by Tarcher/Perigee, in 2020. Kaufman claims that: "Self-actualization... paradoxically makes more possible the transcendence of self, and of self-consciousness and of selfness." Look for "KAUFMAN" in the link on the index of this website called Humanist Galaxy of Secular Science Stars.]
This is the time that the minds of children and teenagers are the most impressionable. Also, this is the time when they are naturally most curious about everything.

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As a humanist parent or teacher (or any adult responsible for teaching children), you need to create "balance" in your own life or in the classroom so you can cope with the challenges of being a role model by expressing responsibility for the children under your care. You have the adult willpower to create more resilience and less confusion in the minds of children, either in the family or classroom.

The goal of increasing "cognitive surplus" for children and for yourself means that you can prepare yourself for emergencies and also provide yourself with the basis for fulfilling future family interactions. In addition, you can choose to mindfully create "cognitive reserve" daily while interacting with children about many routine essential behaviors.

Conversely, you can reduce cognitive dissonance in your own life (as well as in the lives of the children you influence), by teaching them how to cope conscientiously (mindfully) with negative emotional feelings or traumatic social problems or the threat of such mental and emotional adversities.

Such serious problems can include emotional traumas or excessive stress caused by the continuous disruptive advertisements both online and on TV programs that expose children to hyperbolic cravings for consumable objects and unrelenting violence. Even being exposed to adult subject matter on cable and network TV programs can cause damage to children's minds. All of these artificial distractions — day after day and year after year — can become tragic menaces in children's minds.

You can increase your cognitive surplus and therefore emotional resilience by increasing the number of synapses (the density of the neuronal connections) throughout your brain and nervous system. You can do this by doing a variety of interesting and challenging new activities on a daily basis as well as by willfully reducing excess distress when possible. This includes regularly getting enough sleep, eating sensibly, and exercising moderately.

By emphasizing as many positive feelings as possible related to these activities, you will be using your natural willpower to optimize your flexible memory which is the source of your sense-of-self (secular self or self) as you face the future!

Children must be trained by their parents and teachers to satisfy their own age-related developmental needs for physical, intellectual, and emotional growth through the predictable developmental stages and the teachable moments of their young lives.

This task is much easier for children when they see their parents and teachers modeling healthy responsible adult behavior in their families and classrooms.

Also, parents with emotional problems, such as bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, or schizophrenia can become dysfunctional role models for their children instead of being responsible caregivers. Such examples of bad adult behavior can have lifelong adverse impacts on the mental and emotional development of children. This is because children who are witnesses to bad adult parental behavior learn negative habits from imitative behavior. Such constant bad adult behavior can damage the immune systems of children since they are easily injured by chronic traumatic family emotional stress.

In addition, the mind-numbing assault on the brains of children by the ubiquitous mass media and the addictive social media with their omnipresent advertisements and commercials can seriously damage the young minds of children. Memory problems can be caused by the steady continuous exposure to the mass media and social media. Excessive time consuming watching of irrelevant television can lessen the amount of time children have to devote to such positive growth experiences as reading books and having important family discussions about social values and personal ethics.

Unfortunately, movie advertisements and other loud commercials that demand the attention of children often compete with educational programs for the precious limited time children have during their childhoods for independent educational pursuits and deeper thinking. The limited time for freestyle education and play can be further jeopardized by the disruptive bombardment of noisy TV programs and addictive video games designed to capture the fragile attention of children through the constant disruptive blasts of loud music or bursts of flashing colorful pictures.

In addition, the education time for learning essential cultural knowledge can be further lessened by the decreasing number of face-to-face human contacts. Children are spending more of their discretionary time straining their eyes and necks as they concentrate on video games on their handheld devices known as "screen time" rather than playing with their friends.

Also, if children were not constantly pressured to waste so much of their precious time watching appealing but often unessential media commercials, they could become more enthusiastic about gaining an understanding of science, history, politics, art, and their own health. They might even become more motivated to understand how their brain' physical structures and mind's functions work.

Also, exposure to violent movie advertisements during TV commercials and film trailers can disrupt the healthy flow of normal daily activities and feelings of children. Loud advertisements constantly condition children to accept the preponderance of artificially contrived violence and unethical behavior just so businesses can sell more film or streaming tickets for maximum profits!

Commercials often portray criminal behavior, such as gun violence and exploding bombs, simply to shock viewers into paying more attention to the commercials. They are particularly insidious because they often have no socially redeeming value. They are simply made to divert the attention of children away from natural social contacts!

Commercials, especially movie commercials in the early evenings, often show brutal interpersonal conditions on TV or online as though they are normal adult activities. However, they simply glorify conflict and violence simply to make money from the violent abnormal dysfunctional social activities.

In summary, it is unfortunate that the brains of children are constantly distracted and that their young lives can be reduced to simplistic habits. This is in spite of the fact that they need to be developing an appreciation for the complexity of their own conscious self-awareness and the increasing complexity of modern global democratic civilizations.

Children are growing up in the most complicated communities with the most options in human history. But they are also the most confusing distractions and unexplained abstractions because of the general shallow education that many children get when secular scientific thinking processes (scientific method) are appropriate to discuss and genuine evolutionary history and racism are largely ignored in many private and public elementary schools.

Nevertheless, the new brain knowledge can provide the best protection for children's brains. Children are now the most vulnerable targets of misinformation and disinformation from adult propaganda businesses which seek maximum profit no matter how much damage ads do to the children. For example, there are many unethical and unscrupulous sales people and trolls online and in shopping malls who pose a danger to children. In the past, they tempted kids to buy expensive video game characters with greater powers in order to give the kids more chances to win more points in their video games without parents knowing until the bill arrived in their bank accounts.

Many businesses targeting children for profits are conniving and unscrupulous at the same time. And Putin's war against Ukrainians is even more deplorable and traumatic for children of all ages!

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The fundamental Humanist Education Principle is that parents and teachers need to give children the instruction and the reinforcements they need to keep their brains and minds and bodies healthy for a lifetime of challenges and changes. To achieve this important humanist objective, the new brain ideas should be discussed continuously in all families and classrooms.

This educational process can involve the use of "checklists" to empower children to keep track of their activities and responsibilities on a daily or weekly basis. Also, their achievements and plans and expectations can be discussed regularly in the family in constructive ways.

All family members and all students in both public and private schools can participate and contribute to the quality of community life by being encouraged to communicate and share brain facts. Brain facts can help children optimize their brain functions during the usual sequence of predictable ages and stages of childhood growth curves.

Now it is possible to teach the facts about the new brain vocabulary to all children, young and old at home or in classrooms. Then they will be prepared with clearly understood scientific facts and humanistic values about their brains when they enter nursery school or kindergarten. With that factual educational background, they will be able to comprehend more complex brain ideas and mental functions and how to control them by the time they graduate from high school.

For example, when started early in the family or classroom, children can easily identify the parts of their brain's physical structure and distinguish it from their mind's mental functions. Their primary mental functions can be thought of as "mental forces." And your natural "willpower" is your main mental force. This idea should be taught in all families and schools to teach children how to use the proper words to control their emotions and behavior.

This ethical principle assumes that children can learn to depend on the true brain knowledge about essential facts and skills and values that can add meaning to their lives. Fortunately, children can learn to rely on the true source of their thoughts and emotions, which is the interactive relationship between their working memory and long-term memory systems inside their bodies instead of being confused by false myths and inaccurate metaphors of alleged super spirits outside their bodies.

Specifically, children need to learn the difference between the silly fanciful depictions of reality portrayed in many movie and television shows, such as popular Disney fairytales. The point is that the source of children’s basic knowledge about reality should come more from their personal relationships with real people and genuine natural environments instead of from their artificial relationships with fictional characters and artificial landscapes depicted in movies and animated cartoons.

The usual steady focus on fictional characters and artificial landscapes is not adequate for developing human potential. This means that children should be taught early to distinguish true authentic human aspirations from the fake artificial pretend portrayals of fictional stories in many books, movies, and television shows.

Moreover, during the past 30 years, the new evidence-based brain knowledge has been verified over and over again. Now, parents and teachers can use the new brain knowledge with its specific vocabulary of brain words to teach children about their mind's functions (mental forces) and the progressive mindfulness skills necessary to activate their new brain knowledge. The new cognitive neuroscience knowledge really matters because it can empower people to understand how to activate their minds and optimally expand their mental functions.

And children should be taught to value their own physical bodies and interactions with real people rather than the fictional characters in movies or on TV. In addition, they should be taught to question the traditional religious and/or spiritual lifestyles of their parents and peers. In other words, children need to be prepared by their parents and teachers to resist the make-believe Hollywood versions of life. The fact that many children are eager to seek fame, even for 15 minutes, is a pathetic ridiculous goal when it is so much more important to seek companionship and knowledge about the real world.

Each new day, children can wake up and strive to learn more about the real world of cause and effect! Such a scientific humanistic altruistic optimistic ethics-oriented life can maximize loving kindness no matter what a child's personal and social challenges are. This value system provides a solid foundation for a child to become a greater trustworthy person within their family and friendship circles.

Furthermore, children need to learn that the new brain knowledge will give them an intellectual advantage and greater leverage in their natural competition with others in the future. By knowing the real source of their emotions and ideas, the new brain knowledge can help children learn how to control their thoughts and feelings better by using the most important brain ideas ever discovered during the past 12 thousand years of human history. Since the end of the neolithic era and the beginning of farming by humans, approximately 10,000 BCE, there has been no knowledge to match the importance of our present brain knowledge for understanding human nature.

In this linguistic context, the overall function of humanist parents and teachers is to teach children to make good choices based upon scientific and humanistic logical reasoning rather than blindly obeying traditional rules based upon obedience to the authority of various social elites.

Parents and teachers can make mental notes or written lists of the number of times they have to remind them to stop focusing too much on screens and start making more face-to-face contact with family members and their friends. This kind of checklist or "bullet-journal" thinking is very important for parents and teachers as they instruct children within the family or the classroom.

After children learn the new brain knowledge, with its specific brain vocabulary, they will be able to become leaders during the rest of their lives in whatever professions they want to master. The new brain knowledge provides the best protection for children since kids are the most vulnerable targets of dangerous business interests. Many dangerous commercial temptations lurk online or in mini-malls everywhere.

Children need to rehearse positive lifestyles and make important decisions about how they can use their free time to learn better ways of studying and playing with others. You can teach children to think mindfully about the consequences of their past decisions. Then they will learn to be more responsible for their decisions by using their own creative imaginations when they think about any mistakes they may have made in the past and what corrections they have made or can make for the future.

Parents, teachers, and other child care specialists can encourage children to do collaborative thinking about important past decisions within the context of loving kindness every day. They can imagine successful outcomes for whatever activities they think will make them happier and wiser in the future.

In addition, this secular humanistic "whole brain" linguistic context has a mindfulness frame of reference. It can give you a reliable way to guide the behavior of your children and to evaluate the results of your parenting practices.

This educational process can involve the use of "checklists" to empower children to keep track of their activities and responsibilities on a daily or weekly basis. Also, their achievements and plans and expectations can be discussed regularly in the family in constructive ways.

For example, the young brains of children need to be protected from the daily exposure to the incessant advertisements in addition to the unlimited video games on their computers, TV sets, phones and other hand-held devices. Parental-child discussions about the threats to healthy brain development can be scheduled at regular weekly family interactive sharing meetings or seminars. At these meetings, you can repeatedly teach children not to be distracted by the mass media and social media advertisements and online shopping choices.

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SUMMARY: This website can help humanist parents and teachers educate children about the scientific understanding of their brain structures and mental functions. It is the best way that humanist parents and teachers can integrate the new brain knowledge into family communications and school classes to produce responsible and resilient humanistic children.

RECOMMENDATION: You may print this essay and read it and edit it by adding or deleting brain ideas. Then you can read your edited version by using an effective reinforcement schedule such as the flash-card technique or the spaced-repetition method of memorization — or both. This can speed up your learning of the new brain ideas and their interactions. Such deep introspection can strengthen your willpower and increase your self-esteem and dramatically change your adaptable self-identity.

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You Are Your Adaptable Memory!
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Introduction - Section 5 - Details

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