Nurture!

Limiting red zone development

I have been reflecting on why the childhood mind persists into adulthood to become the red zone.

The childhood mind is in the driving seat for the first ten years of our lives and, obviously, has no awareness that another mind state exists – the adult mind – when it begins to emerge from about age ten.

To cause the childhood mind to give up control our organism has a trick up its sleeve - existential anxiety. This means that as the adult mind emerges and becomes aware of its existence, very quickly it becomes aware of the possibility, indeed certainty of its non-existence.

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This thought that we are going to die presents itself to the childhood mind and provokes anxiety – existential as it is part of our very being - which in turn triggers the fight/flight mode and the childhood mind tries everything to avoid the thought, but the thought remains. Many adults can remember crying themselves to sleep or desperately trying not to go to sleep, for fear of not waking up again, around this age.

It is at this point that the adult mind can become more and more in control IF it is properly nurtured. Nurturing here means to be in the presence of at least one adult who practices encounter with them, allowing the adult mind to flourish.

This is necessary, but not sufficient.

If the childhood mind has received training along the lines of ‘if you do exactly as you are told you can avoid punishment’ then when existential anxiety arises the childhood mind can double down and focus exactly on doing what it is told. This was the basis for nineteenth century education for most children and is the route to superstition and various forms of fundamentalisms today and, of course, allows the childhood mind to persist into adulthood.

So, to allow our children to grow as nature intended, they need to be nurtured, be in the presence of adults practicing encounter, throughout childhood.



I should like to continue to make an offer to any school that might be interested. I am very keen to run seminars or presentations to share and test these latest ideas with schools. These could be 30-45 minutes at lunch time, discussions with a faculty (e.g. RE), a leadership team or any other combination. I am trying to do at least one per week for the remainder of the year. If you are interested, please get in touch – jcorrigan@gr8education.com or 0418 432 316.

John Corrigan