Did you know that the right side of your brain grows before the left side? By the time a child is 3 or 4 years old, this already takes place. The left side of the brain, on the other hand, doesn’t become completely functional in children until they are around seven years old; this is one of the reasons why the first seven years of a kid’s life are considered to be such an important phase in the development of the child.
The left hemisphere of the brain is responsible for functions such as language, mathematics, literacy, analysis, and telling time. The part of us that is rational, calculative, and plans ahead like a busy bee is what keeps us rooted in the real world and in both the past and the future. Empathy, intuition, imagination, and creative thinking are all functions associated with the right hemisphere of the brain. It is the place where we get lost in thought, dream, make connections, and feel most alive. By using the functions of the right hemisphere of the brain, we are able to enter a state of being in which time and place are rendered irrelevant. The left hemisphere of the brain is more concerned with the results or product, while the right hemisphere is much more concerned with the process; for the right brain, the journey rather than the goal is what is most important.
However, there is one more component that is very important to grasp: the right hemisphere of our brain provides the connection to our limitless sense of being. Being is fundamental; as a result, right brain development occurs first. The left hemisphere of the brain is mostly concerned with action. In contrast, young toddlers who are dominant in their right hemisphere are happy to just be.
When we have this understanding, we can better comprehend why play is so crucial in the learning and development of children, as well as why we need to be extra cautious with the quantity and timing of academic agendas made for children and with how much emphasis we place on product, or what children have completed at school, as opposed to process, or who they are becoming and what they feel as they explore the world. It is important knowledge for anyone working in education, as well as parents, to know that the right side of the brain develops first. This is because it relates to what is considered to be developmentally appropriate. Literacy and numeracy instruction given to youngsters less than seven years old may actually be detrimental to the children’s still-evolving brains. Children might develop what is known as “learned stupidity” if they are unable to utilize their academic brains in the ways that are being requested of them. They come to the conclusion that they are unable to learn, which causes them to abandon their natural drive to do so.
The incessant pressure placed on youngsters to succeed academically is a sign of a culture that is predominated by the left brain or that has forgotten about the great playground that the right brain provides. It is an indication that we feel safer inside the literalness, control, and certainty of the left brain, far more so than in the unquantifiable and enigmatic nature that the right brain ties us to.
You are not able to quantify the qualitative features of creativity, empathy, or intuition, but you are able to quantify the activities previously described that are related to the left brain and focused on practical details. However, the more we instill in youngsters a preoccupation with things that can be quantified, the more likely it is that those children will grow up believing that they fall short of expectations.
Let us not forget that life is less about the accomplishments we make in this world and more about the skills that the left brain is so good at. Instead, living is about being present and connecting with the people you care about, as well as those you don’t even know, in the same carefree way that children do:
A person once shared the following in an email: “As I was walking to the library this morning, I saw on the sidewalk a tiny boy, maybe two years old, with his mother. As I got closer, the youngster looked up at me with eyes that were so vibrant and present, and when I said “Hi,” he knelt down, picked up a wet leaf from the ground, and offered it to me. As I got closer, the child looked at me, his eyes so alive and present. Oh, the riches and the splendor that are found in this world!”
This is a talent that the right side of the brain has. While the left brain divides up existence into its component parts, the right brain brings people together. Because of this, infants do not have the ability to differentiate between themselves and their surroundings. There is just one!
These sage little instructors remind us, courtesy of their right brain, that life is about enjoying the little things, about enchantment and surprise; that it’s about being present with another, offering them your gentle ear, and hearing between the lines rather than just what is being said, which is what logic grasps. With the assistance of the right brain, we are able to access the unseen regions of our own hearts as well as the hearts of others, as well as the hidden aspects that provide significance to life.
The right hemisphere of the brain is, in a sense, the playground, or at the very least, it links us to the playground. Let kids spend as much time as they want in this most natural state by letting them do things like doodling, being curious, being amazed, and using their imaginations. People who have a healthy right brain are better able to employ the resources that their left brain provides in a constructive manner. That is the function of the left brain’s logical side: to support the activities of the right brain. Being supports doing. If we want to be happy and make a real difference in the world, we must first take care of ourselves as the fertile ground from which our ideas, details, and actions will grow.