5. IMAGINE YOUR MENTAL WEALTH
What you need to know and what you don’t want to know
Excerpt from the book IMAGINE THE FUTURE YOU by Ada Brownell
You came into this life “empty-headed.”
When we were kids, my brother used to tell me he could look into one of my ears and see out the other. Then I had an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of my brain so I could do a firsthand story on the latest technology.
I started the newspaper article with “My brother was wrong. There is something in there.”
What I mean by “empty-headed” is that no stored information existed in our brains when we came into this world. New brains are like a blank sheet of paper, although fantastic stored data governing our neurological systems and instincts operate even while we’re still in the womb. What God “programmed” into us commanded our arms, legs, fingers, toes, and so forth to move even before birth. Instincts God installed in our DNA prompted us to suck, swallow, cry, and feel hunger, as well as caused the various inner parts of our body to function. Babies arrive with a brain download to literally cry for love, care, and being held, and they won’t thrive without these things.
When we were a few months of age, we learned to coordinate movements so we could reach for things because our muscles and brains developed that capacity.
Nevertheless, we all needed outside stimuli to use the potential from the brain. Children who are given no attention often don’t learn to sit, walk, or talk.
We learned our language skills by imitating. If Mom kept saying “Mama” over and over to us, soon we worked our mouths and tongues around, using our vocal cords so we could come up with a fairly good imitation. Sometimes the child says “Dada” first and learns later what it means.
If the parents speak Chinese, the child obviously will learn Chinese instead of English, and children of Spanish-speaking parents communicate in Spanish or whatever language is spoken in the home.
All through childhood, children imitate what they see and hear. Adults imitate other people—at least in some degree—all their lives. For instance, we like to imitate the experts on everything from sports to dancing, to gardening, to playing or singing music, to doing tricks on a bicycle or skateboard.
But imitation isn’t all there is. At some point we think for ourselves.