How do we learn?

Kids learn by observing the people around them, their parents.  This is a direct reason to why kids learn to resent the things that their parents do, be it a tick a mannerism or some catch phrase that they use.  It is boredom of the same old thing which turns into resentment because it won’t stop.  This is also a direct reason why kids claim that they will never be like their parents and then end up doing exactly the same things.

You can tell me I am wrong about the following, but this is based on my observations, things I learned in school and various other places where I have picked up on human behavior conversations, books and talks.

When babies are born they are doing many things all at once.  They are growing quickly both mentally and physically.  In doing this, their brain kicks in and starts observing the things that are going on around them so they can figure out how to survive.  This is a basic genetic behavior that is built into most animals that spend time with their parents, yes humans are animals deal with it.

This means that the content of what babies observe has a huge impact on what they do when they are older, because everything they see and learn at this time is building the basic imprint of who they are and how they will act.  Every human reacts differently to the same circumstances, which partially goes back to this imprint I am talking about, but also can go back to the basics of their genetics.  When a person is just a baby, they have no memories or past experiences on which to base what is happening, this means that every synapse or path in the brain that is created is a reaction to stimulus and the architecture for how these paths are laid are based solely in the chemical and physical makeup of the child.

You might be asking, “What the hell is Matt talking about?” or “Where the hell are you going with this?” I will explain.

I have been thinking about how people behave, more a thought experiment and casual observations of people around me that anything else. It absolutely amazes me how people, including myself, do things and react to situations completely differently.  When I come into a situation, my first reaction is to be afraid or angry (fight or flight with a human twist).  I have had to re-teach myself to calm the hell down, observe what is going on, and make a real decision as to what is happening.  Many times this means that I seem like I am just being quiet, what is really going on is that I am assessing the situation.  My gut reactions and decisions about things can be correct, but I don’t trust them so I stop myself and make myself realize what is really going on.  I have seen myself go from the kid who would react as if everything was a personal attack on him to someone who is able to realize that is not the case and turn what could have been misinterpreted into what it really is.

I know I am talking in generic statements, but back story really is irrelevant.

Back to where I started this post, with kids it is important to realize that while they cannot communicate and cannot show you that they know what is going on, they are absorbing all of it.  Their brains and bodies are making decisions for them, setting up connections and managing the chemicals that are produced in order to get their bodies to some state of normal operation in their environment.  If the child is in an environment that is stressful than their bodies will compensate for this and everything they do in their lives will be based on this.

The theory that I am proposing here is not a judgment of parenting skills, environments, or anything else.  I am just trying to make you think about what was going on with yourself when you were a kid.  What was the environment you grew up in? What things were you taught that have had an impact on you as a person?  What are the things that you do involuntarily that later on you ask yourself why you reacted that way? What have you done and taught yourself about who you are and how you react to situations that has made your life better?

Like I said before, for me my initial reaction was something like anger to most everything.  This is a horrible way to live.  I have had to really learn to stop and pay attention to what is really going on. This means that when people are angry with me it is my responsibility to figure out the real reason why they are angry instead of reacting to the words they are using with me.  Most times, I am able to diffuse a situation and get a resolution much faster when I do this.  On top of getting the issue resolved, I have been able to use this thing I have taught myself to forge relationships or better relationships with people who I otherwise would never have continued talking to any further.

Ask yourself the questions I posed earlier.  Really look at yourself and how you react to situations over the next week.  Try to figure out where those reactions come from and see if you can make your situation better by adjusting your approach to those situations.  Please tell me what you think about what I have said here and whether or not my words have made a difference.

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