The Opportunity Of Childhood

Questions such as, “What can we do for our children,” “How can we improve their mental capacities?” are questions every mother and father ask themselves.

The negligence that causes the most harm throughout a person’s life is the negligence of the opportunities of childhood. For our child to attain the levels of intellect we desire, we are required to provide a planned, principled, and informed intellectual education. Which parent would not want their child to achieve higher levels of intellect than they possess? We cannot just leave this to schools and teachers, because the stage before they start school is extremely important in regard to the child’s intellectual development, just as it is in regard to many other aspects.

The required education for our child to become an individual who thinks, evaluates, synthesizes, and makes inferences is the “childhood period intellect education.”

John Dewey says, “Only idiots would believe that creative individuals are born with inherent abilities.” This saying indicates how important environment is and the extent of how significant the duties and responsibilities are, that fall on parents and educators.

The period in which a human’s brain and nervous system develop the most rapidly is the first five years. The most intensive part of their learning takes place during this period. The experiences obtained during this period are of utmost importance for the development of a healthy personality, their ability to use abilities productively, the shaping of their understanding of beliefs and values, and their accountability.

Researchers claim that our children learn two thirds of everything they will learn throughout their lives between the ages of three and six. On the other hand, according to another study conducted (Bloom, Benjamin S., Stability and Change in Human Characteristics), in regard to the distribution of individuals’ cognitive development according to age, until the age of 17, revealed the following results:

Between the ages of 0-4: 50%,
Between the ages of 4-8: 30%,
Between the ages of 8-17: 20%.

These studies clearly set forth everything that has to be said to parents.

The mysterious medicine that develops and strengthens the brain?

The results of a study, which states that it is possible to develop and increase the functioning of our brains, claims that, “the primary medicine that develops, strengthens, and increases the functioning of our brains is memorization.” It says that brain cells can achieve the highest level of activation through lots of memorization. They indicate that, “There are hundreds of millions of neurons (basic cells) and a few trillion logistic cells that help and support these neurons in the human brain. Currently, we are only able to use a portion of around 2% of these cells. It is within our power to develop, increase the functions of, and develop the reasoning aptitude of our brains, which we believe to be a marvelous source of energy.” They say, “The process of memorization activates the connections between brain cells. One cell in the brain has 10 separate connections. All of these connections can be activated. The communications through these connections take place at a mind-bending speed that we cannot express using the methods of our time. The more memorization is done, the more developed the communication network within these connections get, and the brain’s power of reasoning increases to that extent.”

“No brain that has become sick due to overworking has emerged up to this point, but many brains that have atrophied due to laziness and underworking and have lost their functions have been observed.” The proverb, “A rolling stone gathers no moss,” also expresses this fact. Just as the stone stays moss-free by constantly being in motion, the brain is strengthened and stays robust by constantly working. It has been discovered that children who gained the ability to memorize and were able to memorize some things in their childhoods were more successful in later years, especially during school time.

Memorization is not genetic and is a trait that can be acquired through practice and repetition. There are big similarities between the brain and muscles. Just as the muscles in our bodies can be developed through sports and exercise, the most significant exercise for the development of the brain is memorization. This is because children are forced to utilize their brains to their maximum potentials during memorization. Just like this, a child may make more use of any of the functions of their brain and strengthen it.

The best way to get children to enjoy memorization is to turn it into a game. There is nothing that children cannot be made to do by making them think that they are playing a game. Children perform more successfully at memorizations that take place within games. Initially, very short couplets and aphorisms may be used as starting points. As they progress, this ability of the children, who learned to memorize and grew accustomed to it with simple terms, may be further developed by teaching them poems, tongue twisters, and ballads. Memorization of rhyming and melodic sentences (ayahs) from the Qur’an may be as pleasurable for children as a game.

The most important factor in the inculcation of the ability of memorization in children is their parents’ familiarity with the child. Parents who know their children well will have a firm grasp on what their children would enjoy and by what they would be bored. Every individual is different from everyone else, with their intelligence and behavior. It should not be forgotten that different practices, conducted throughout the duration of mental development, will have lasting effects in each one of them. For a child who likes to read, reading will become prominent for their mental development. For a social child who does not like to read, his conversations with and accompaniment of other people will be an important factor in their mental development. A child’s lack of success in one area does not mean that they are mentally retarded or stupid. The right way is for their levels of intellect to be increased through areas they have inclinations towards. Therefore, it is important for children to be known well and for methods appropriate for them to be preferred.

It is known that learning a second or third language is also very effective in a child’s mental development and strengthening. Learning new languages can also be regarded as memorization. Study results have revealed that the first 7 years are the golden periods for learning new languages.

The child is not even aware that they are accumulating a lifetime’s worth of capital for their adulthood during this childhood period, their most serious endeavor is playing and they are busy with that. However, the most unfortunate individuals are parents who are aware of this but do not ensure their child’s acquisition of the available capital.

After all that is stated, as parents, we must ask ourselves this question. “When we only have one chance, why are we wasting our children’s potentials, withholding the second-language that can be learned and memorizations that can be done, dampening their self-confidence and blocking their creative characteristics?”