ALPHABETICAL BRAIN™ VOCABULARY
HUMANIST FAMILY BRAIN STUDY

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INTRODUCTION - SECTION 4 DETAILS

HOW CAN HUMANIST PARENTS AND
TEACHERS EDUCATE CHILDREN
TO LOVE THEIR BRAINS?

July 6, 2020

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

Understanding the new evidence from cognitive neuroscience is essential for creating a modern secular humanistic philosophy of life for individuals and families. The new brain knowledge can be used to deal with any personal or family relationship issues.

The new knowledge includes brain information that applies to science-based best-practices parenting principles and leadership skills. This is because it helps people control their own emotions in social situations by using their informed willpower to challenge or change traditional social customs. This is the essence of free will: to be able to choose between cultural alternatives within the social fabric.

The bonus for using the new brain information is that what is good for the brains of children is also good for the hearts of children. Children need to exercise regularly, eat nutritious foods, get enough sleep (8-10 hours consistently), and challenge their brains on a daily basis to solve difficult problems themselves or with the help of others in a collaborative or participatory way.

This new "brain mindfulness" approach to the human brain can motivate behavior associated with rational liberal humanistic values such as respect for diverse kinds of behavior and ideas but not criminal behavior. Also it can promote a revulsion for all kinds of prejudice, both implicit and explicit.

This may involve showing respect and empathy even for people with implicit biases. It is worth trying to advocate humanist values with bigots until you realize that they may never understand the errors of their intellectual blindness. Their prejudices can relate to agism, employment discrimination, ethnicity, gender bias, racism, or sexual orientations.

All of those potential future social issues can be discussed and argued within the family or classroom contexts by applying critical thinking skills and critical reading strategies. They provide a framework for using one's creative imagination and logical reasoning skills.

Essentially, modern research has shown that there is a difference between people with open minds who have "growth mindsets" and people with closed minds who have "fixed mindsets," regarding deep seated habituated childhood beliefs about the meaning of life and the causes of human nature.

Knowing the difference can give you the ability to have a robust "growth mindset" based upon personal choices instead of being limited to a "fixed mindset." The cause of fixed attitudes is usually due to traditional cultural ideas devoid of scientific explanations. They are usually internalized by childhood acculturation training that includes political and religious attitudes that rely on habits of magical thinking.

See the following information box for publication data about two great books, Mindset by Carol Dweck and Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler. Both authors are professors and research scientists at Stanford University.


MINDSET:
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

MINDSET:
The New Psychology of Success


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MATHEMATICAL MINDSETS:
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

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



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 skills to evaluate the content of new information a child is thinking or reading about at the time he or she is 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 as true when it is actually false! This critical attitude toward new information is especially urgent when dealing with information from social media feeds and online contacts.

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 and then teach children (often simultaneously) by using modern principles of cognitive neuroscience to argue for understanding brainpower in the modern secular evolutionary context of human history.

You need to teach children this vital lesson for lifelong safety and personal independence while their youthful brains are most curious about almost everything.

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instantly go to:
BRAIN MINDFULNESS
FOR HUMANIST FAMILIES


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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 the 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. You can deliberately choose to create "cognitive reserve" every day while interacting with children about many routine behaviors.

You can do this by increasing the "density" of the neuronal connections throughout your brain and nervous system by doing a variety of interesting and challenging new activities on a daily basis. This includes getting enough sleep each night, eating sensibly, and exercising moderately. By emphasizing as many positive feelings related to these activities as possible, you will be using your flexible willpower to optimize your adaptable self-identity 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 kids when they see their parents and teachers "modeling" healthy responsible adult behavior within their family and classroom.

Conversely, the idea of reducing cognitive dissonance in your own life (as well as in the lives of your children), refers to the need for parents and teachers to teach the children they influence how to cope with negative emotional feelings and traumatic social problems conscientiously.

Such serious problems can include emotional traumas or excessive stress such as disruptive TV and online advertisements and TV and online movies celebrating violence. Even being exposed to adult subject matter on cable and network TV programs can cause damage to the minds of children. All of these continuouse distractions --- day after day and year after year --- can in their own peculiar ways become menaces to the minds of children.

Also, parents with emotional problems, such as bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder, 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 learn a lot from imitative behavior and their immune systems can be injured easily by chronic traumatic emotional stress.

In addition, the mind-numbing assault on the brains of children by the ubiquitous mass media and the addictive social media and the omnipresent advertisements and commercials can seriously damage the young minds of children. The steady continuous exposure to the mass media and social media can cause memory problems. And it can lessen the time devoted to the reading of books and having important discussions about social issues.

Also, exposure to violent movie advertisements during TV commercials and film trailers can disrupt the healthy flow of normal daily activities and feelings for children because they condition them to accept the artificially contrived violence and unethical behavior just to sell more film tickets and streaming profits.

Commercials that portray criminal behavior, such as gun violence and exploding bombs, simply to shock viewers into paying more attention to the commercials are particularly insidious because they often have no socially redeeming value. They are simply made to divert attention! They show brutal interpersonal conditions on TV or online as though they are normal adult activities which glorify conflict and violence simply to make money on the violent human behavior.

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 attention by evocative music and bursts of loud sounds.

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 brains work!

Unfortunately, when the brains of children are constantly distracted, their lives can be reduced to simplistic habits. This is in spite of the fact that they need to be developing an appreciation for the increasing complexity of modern global civilization. Children are growing up in the most complicated communities with the most options in human history, but also the most confusing distractions and unexplained abstractions because of their shallow educations.

The new brain knowledge provides the best protection for children since kids are the most vulnerable targets of misinformation and disinformation. 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.

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HUMANIST EDUCATION PRINCIPLE
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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.

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 known 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 named "brainpower" or "willpower" within specific social contexts, such as family or school, by using proper words to control their emotions and describe responsible 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 metaphors of alleged super spirits outside their bodies.

Specifically, children need to learn the difference between the silly magical 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.

They 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 version of life.

The idea that seeking fame is a worthy goal --- even for 15 minutes --- is ridiculous!

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, they need to know 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, around 10,000 BCE, there has been no knowledge to match the importance of our present brain knowledge for understanding human behavior.

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 mental functions (mental forces) and the progressive mindfulness skills necessary to activate their new brain knowledge. Cognitive neuroscience knowledge really matters because it can empower people to understand how to activate their mind's maximum functions.

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.

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. As they learn to be more responsible for their decisions by using their creative imaginations to think about any past mistakes they might have made, they can think mindfully about the consequences of their past decisions.

Parents and child caretakers 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 could make them happiest and wisest 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.

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.

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.

Today, when 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 them how to determine the rational benefits and probable risks of their decisions. Children can practice using critical thinking skills and critical reading strategies to learn and master the basic facts and ideas related to their brain structures and their mental functions. The more knowledge they learn, the healthier their brains will become and the better their mental functions will work!

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.

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.

WHY THIS MATTERS: This website can help humanist parents and teachers educate children using the new "whole-brain" thinking approach to the scientific understanding of brain structures and mental functions. It is the best way for humanist parents and teachers to integrate the new brain knowledge into family life and classroom education to produce responsible and resilient children.

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Printable Form
SECTION 4:
HOW CAN HUMANIST PARENTS AND
TEACHERS EDUCATE CHILDREN
TO LOVE THEIR BRAINS?

(for your own editing
and memory consolidation)


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RECOMMENDATION: You may print this pdf version and read it and edit it by adding or deleting ideas. Then, you can read your edited version of these ideas according to a reinforcement schedule. This strategy can help you take advantage of the power of the spaced-repetition method of memorization. Such deep introspection can strengthen your willpower and change your adaptable self-identity to increase your self-esteem.

REMEMBER ALWAYS:
You Are Your Adaptable Memory!


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instantly go to:
INTRODUCTION - SECTION 5 DETAILS
WHAT IS THE GOAL OF THE
HUMANIST FAMILY BRAIN SURVEY?


or instantly return to:
INTRODUCTION - INDEX SUMMARIES

ALPHABETICAL BRAIN™ VOCABULARY

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