Renowned developmental psychologist, researcher and author Dr Dawna Markova shares her journal entries. Topics include: children, education, parenting, self worth, and maximizing human potential and capacity. Dawna's visionary ideas and compassionate wisdom have made a difference in hundreds of lives.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Real Self Worth

Real self worth
I would like to suggest that understanding one’s inherent self-worth—knowing what specific value you bring to the larger community—is essential in today’s complexity. You can praise Isabella from morning to night, tell her she is Daddy’s darling and beautiful. This in no way prepares her one small self to feels as if she matters and can make a difference in a world teeming with six billion people. On the other hand, if Isabella knows her gifts and talents--that she’s quite talented at helping others resolve fights; that her sense of humor can make a crying friend heal; that she can take herself from frustration to wonder by walking around; that playing the piano can melt her anger into honey; that she is very talented in innovative thinking which will help her design herself and others out of scary situations—then she feels as if she is unique and belongs to a world that needs her.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Thinking Trends: Ingenuity VS Standardization

America’s greatness was derived from our capacity to think imaginatively. We have drawn on our capacity for ingenuity and innovation. Standardization does not produce ingenuity or innovation. If you think about it, in fact, it can only result in the disintegration of imagination. I am remembering Lego’s, the small red and white plastic blocks that David used to play with for hours on end, creating creatures and crafts, large and small. There were no diagrams or instruction for Lego’s back then. All that was needed was an endless supply of those blocks and a child’s imagination. A friend told me recently that Lego’s hadn’t been selling too well, because children were used to kits that told them what to create and gave them specific direction on how to create it. The company decided that to keep up with the competition, they’d have to follow the trend. Now, you child can buy a different kit for each craft he or she decides to build, complete with instructions for where to put each block. Same little red and white plastic Lego’s. All that’s left out is the imagination.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Learning- Seekers of Excellence

“Learning emerges from our individual and collective abilities to tap existing human capabilities and transform the forces that interfere with their expression.” Maya Angelou

As a learning junkie, nothing is as compelling to me as the light that is emitted from a person when learning is occurring. It has always been my handhold in the darkness. For sixty-two years, I’ve followed that glow from playgrounds to corporate boardrooms, from Harlem to the Hague. I’ve pursued it through graduate degrees in psychology and education, through the professions of classroom teacher, psychotherapist, trainer of trainers, educational consultant, corporate consultant. It doesn’t matter what labels were attached to me--what has always drawn me forward is my desire to be around that radiance, to foster it, to encourage it and study the conditions that generate and direct it.

Learning is so much more than a transfer of information. It can mean wholeness, empowerment, actualization, liberation. Observe any young child any place in the world and you will find a seeker of excellence built into their DNA. They embody this inherent impulse in their rampant curiosity about themselves and in their world, the way they naturally follow their interests and rhythms, seek out and risk experimentation, honor their dreams and daydreams, consider mistakes as information rather than something wrong. Children have taught me that learning is discovering that something is possible.

Parenting-Giving your child the best in a Crazy, beautiful, complex world.

“Young people are resources to be developed not problems to be solved.’” Michael Resnick, Univ. Of Minnesota

I believe in “us strategies.“ I believe that passionate parents can help their children live up to their potential rather than down to their deficits. I believe all of us can give children the best by bringing out the best in them.
I could not have written this when I was a parent. I had to wait until I was a grandparent, until I had seen enough and done enough, and struggled enough to realize that my granddaughter cannot flourish unless all grandchildren do. Now I can say to you, dear reader, what my grandmother said to my parents, “What you must do is help your children love to learn and find their spot of grace. In this way they will be able to develop their gifts and share them with the rest of us. You must help them recognize and honor the different gifts of others who are also unique and needed. ” This is what each of us can do so our children will feel as if they matter and as if they belong to this crazy, complex, world.