Vidya G
  • Vidya G
  • San Jose, CA
  • United States

This conversation is closed.

What we can learn from babies?

Babies are the perfect beings when they are born. As time passes, the world puts a rust on them through caste, society, beliefs and regular upbringing.

How can we maintain their genius without contaminating them by putting them through the factory line of our society and strapping away their genius.

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    Apr 3 2012: Faith, is what we can learn from babies. Even though the baby is unaware of the mothers milk, the baby exercises faith, in the mother.
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      Apr 3 2012: Nitin - Thanks, this comment couldn't be any more timely. Sometimes we need reminders from the universe and thats exactly what you did buddy.
    • Apr 3 2012: Thanks Nitin ji for putting it up. Faith and trust are most challenged, and need of the time.

      With regards

      Manish Kumar Aggarwal
      The Mindfood Chef
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    Apr 3 2012: To look and listen without saying much.

    To accept being gushed over without speaking.

    To be trusting of those who provide the things we need.

    And Vidya, your second question "How can we maintain their genius without contaminating them by putting them through the factory line of our society and strapping away their genius"....sounds like another conversation alltogether.
    It is a GREAT question!!!

    It reminds me of the quote: "You are born an original, don't die a copy"
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    Apr 4 2012: From babies, I learn simplicity. They only need food and to be with those who love them. If we could make our decisions based on these simple needs, we would be much more fulfilled and bountiful in spirit.
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    Apr 3 2012: language learning!
    l am from china, and I am 30 years old.
    I want to learn English,and master it.
    so i can learn some thing from babies.
  • Apr 3 2012: Babies bring us closer to nature. Makes us feel the miracle and magic of creation. As a computer scientist, I am carried away into the technology world. The birth of my daughter has rekindled my child hood days when there was magic and wonder in every small thing.
  • Apr 3 2012: Congrats for being a new Mother.

    1. Their complete world is FAMILY

    2. They listen.

    3. Their pain and pleasures exceptionally perishable. They can feel pleasure in the pain after a little time and same of pleasures.

    4. They are the mirrors of what you do, feel or speak.

    5. They can sense the presence and feel the touch; they understand & reciprocate the feelings and emotions

    6. They remind me about the hard works and exceptional deeds of my parents, what they have done for me to develop me as, 'what am I today'.

    7. Every reason to stay happy, easy and evolve.

    8. A chance to live another childhood again.

    9. By birth we all are similar, be similar all the away to your journey of this life.

    My gratitude to all these angles and mothers who carry them selflessly.

    With regards

    The Mindfood Chef
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    Apr 2 2012: To smile, to cry and not to keep our mask on and suppress our feelings !!
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    Mar 30 2012: Natural Breathing! Diaphragmatic (or belly) breathing versus shallow chest breathing that we've learned through years of stressful and unnatural conditions. Such unnatural breathing has reduced our ability to flow optimal amounts of blood and oxygen into our system (organs, brains, cells, etc.) causing an unnatural degeneration and drop in healthy performance - physically, mentally, emotionally. Babies have not been hindered by such conditions yet, and we could not only learn from them - we could also help them maintain that natural state throughout their lifetimes. Of course, there are other things we could learn from and help babies in maintaining lifelong, but I'll stick to that one for now. Great question, Vidya G!
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    Mar 30 2012: Smile when someone makes a face at you.

    Go to sleep when someone is taking you for a ride.

    Cry until someone changes your diaper. (Notices you.)

    Nothing says "security" like being swaddled in love.
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      Mar 30 2012: Amazing!!

      Thank you Janine! love all your points. Tell me if i got it wrong. I have tried to interpret them into adult values.

      Smile (even) when someone makes a face at you. ( always be right)

      Go to sleep (even) when someone is taking you for a ride. ( profound trust and positive attitude)

      Cry until someone changes your diaper. ( keep trying till you succeed)

      Nothing says 'security' like being swaddled in love. (love and be loved)
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    Vidya G

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    Mar 28 2012: Here are some of the thoughts on what we can learn from babies -

    Babies have an exponential learning curve. They are able to concentrate on onething at a time. If you distract them, they will change to another activity without resistance. This incredible ability to "let go" allows them to focus on something new.

    They have no expectations when they are playing. So performance/ results dont bother them. So they take risks and make several attempts. There is no shame of failure. And no emotional baggage.

    The other great thing about babies is that you cannot easily mis-lead them. If you keep telling them something is 'hot', they will keep that in mind, but it will not be actually registered in their brain until they touch something hot and experience it. This curiosity allows them to explore and learn on their own which is great.

    And their amazing capability to focus.

    Adult thinking is rigid because of our lessons learnt through our growing, while thinking of babies is malleable and explorative.

    If more research is done in this area, all humanity can benefit from this knowledge. It will help us become more human in this data and computer age.
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      Mar 29 2012: Vidya, great points all.

      I'm listening to a webinar as I write this, of Dr. Daniel Siegel, on the topic of "Bringing Out the Best in Kids: Strategies for Working with the Developing Mind." He has the great gift of making all the latest findings in neuroscience readily understandable...

      Check him out on amazon, and you'll get an idea of the range of books he's written and edited that might interest you. They all deal with the very issues you're speaking of...
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        Mar 29 2012: Thank you Sandy, will look into that. I am sure there is already loads of research done. But how can I (new mother) gain from this is ? How can new parents use this opportunity in making the world a better place - one baby at a time.

        Its one of those things which has been put on the back burner. We have amazing advances in cognitive and behaviorial psychology done. But there is something going wrong somewhere. Raising children is much more complex than understanding an adult human being.

        Learning from babies and raising them without shutting their genius down is one great way to make the world a better place.
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          Mar 29 2012: Vidya, "Learning from babies and raising them without shutting their genius down is one great way to make the world a better place" is right on. And I think there is much wisdom in your observation that 'raising children is much more complex than understanding an adult human being.'

          For one thing, a human infant has no ability to communicate its needs through verbal language that way older humans can, so it's up to the parents to 'read' their baby's signals accurately. We know what anxiety that can cause new parents as they struggle to learn their new roles as caregivers and life-sustainers.

          For a new mother who wants practical information about how to do the all-important job of parenting more wisely than earlier generations, I can't recommend this book highly enough: "What Babies Say Before They Can Talk: The Nine Signals Infants Use to Express Their Feelings."

          It's the Paul Holinger book I mentioned in an earlier post. It's a very user-friendly book that aims to help parents gain confidence in their ability to 'read' their child's earliest attempts to communicate non-verbally. It divides the baby's signals into two categories: signals for fun, and signals for help. In the process Holinger teaches the basics of a theory of human emotion that makes more sense than anything else I've come across in decades of study.

          The more attuned parents are to their babies the better they'll be able to learn from them and support their unfolding genius and sensitivity...
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          Mar 29 2012: Vidya, I believe I have an extra copy of that book. If you send an email with your address to me at:, I'll be delighted to send it to you.

          I think parenting - and in particular, mothering - is the toughest, most important job in the world. I hope I live long enough for me to see my culture put it's money where it's mouth is, with respect to supporting parents and families. Because they sure ain't doing it now...
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        Mar 30 2012: Might have known you would be in here delivering your value Sandy.

        Can you see how easy it is for me to say I love you?

        Can you see that I am not afraid to say love and not be ashamed?

        Real love has no threat.
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    Mar 28 2012: The only thing we learn from babies is humans can consciously control the number of offspring we create. Scientifically, speaking. Socially speaking, we learn to load massive amounts of expetations on ourselves and them and we project our beliefs, values and self-worth onto them so we learn to divert from ourself. In other words, who I am, now involves another person whch can be detremental to that persons well-being.
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      Mar 28 2012: Hi Brian,
      There's a lot of truth in what you've said here. I think you've pretty well described how it goes down in most of the cases most of the time. We humans appear to be some mighty sllllooooow learners....look how long it's taking us to get that we're poisoning ourselves, contaminating the environment we're bringing new life into, etc.

      Well, SOME are getting it; not nearly enough, yet. Whatever hope we have lies in shortening the learning curve. That is, taking a long, hard look at all that we've been socially programmed to believe it 'truth.' That includes a whole bunch of unhelpful stuff from our parents and societies that conditions us to live up to the George Santaya quote: "Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it,"

      The parenting practices of most of humanity seem driven by a compulsion to repeat it, not to avoid repeating it!

      I think the good news is that some of our species are becoming aware that we have by this point in our collective history learned a great deal of eye-opening, potentially mind-expanding, information.

      Some are realizing that we'd better overhaul and re-design our parenting and educational methods, keeping the best of what has traditionally worked, and adopting new findings to help every child use it's brain as a tool for creative problem-solving.

      And the job of parenting, which I think of as the most important job on the planet, but which has historically been mostly considered not important enough to raise it above the level of 'OJT' (On-Job Training) could be supported a whole lot more than it has been, and with better information.

      A wonderful resource for parenting is a book with the intriguing title: "What Babies Say Before They Can Talk." Author Paul Holinger is a wise pediatrician who takes some little-know but well-grounded information about how humans 'grow from the ground up' emotionally. It's an easy read; enough information to help & not overload. Succinct. A good foundation to build on...
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        Mar 29 2012: well said. I believe all things can become teachers when we are able to see ourself in others and in nature.
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    Mar 28 2012: The answer lies in parenting, In majority of cases parents look at their children to pursue their unfulfilled dreams. Societal taboos which they are carrying since ages with them, are transferred to them by explaining just two facets of life, Good or Bad. There is no explanation about various conditions that actually make something good or bad. There has to be one year mandatory university program for parents, which can teach them nuances of upbringing a child just like army training.
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      Mar 28 2012: Vivek,
      Yes, I too think that the answer lief is better parenting. Meaning, more conscious parenting...more recognition that parenting is an incredibly difficult (though rewarding) job. I'd go so far as to say that it's the most important job on the planet, bar none!
      And is mostly OJT; 'on the job training.' That has to chance if we expect more conscious and aware parenting. I've worked with families and kids who are stressed to the max, and the resources available in the U.S. to help families is pathetic. We have a 'billions for bombs/pennies for programs" mindset in our culture that we need to move in the direction of greater support for parents...
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        Mar 28 2012: I completely agree that it is one of the most important job on the planet, but nowadays, It also seem most neglected these days. We want to gift everything to our children except our good time. we start feeding them with freebies for their small gestures and start pushing them towards materialism from their early age. Like you said about US, the spending on arms and ammunition is substantial, even 1% of those funds will have great impact if the government start looking at it from broader perceptive. You will be needing less police force to monitor crimes after 20 years if the citizens who are raised during this course of time, raised responsibly and emphasizing importance of parents-children relationship time.
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          Mar 28 2012: Vivek, I think you're exactly right in your comments about how some of the very bad habits we've acquired that come to play in child-raising...and have some pretty destructive consequences.

          I live in Siskiyou County, in California, and used to work for one of the most progressive social service agencies in existence. We provided support services for families who were often faced with multiple challenges that impaired their being able to function as effectively as possible in raising their kids...

          Because of the short-sightedness of how the decisions are made about funding social services in this county and state; which are just a reflection of trends in this entire country, my agency had to lay off about 90% of staff.

          Even the local county sheriff warned that there were going to be dire consequences (and there have been) to the funding cuts, and pointed out that we as a society were merely setting ourselves up for even greater amounts of social dysfunctionality...alas, no one in a position to rethink things chose to do so.

          Here's a link I like to share that puts it in perspective: "What the world wants, and how to pay for it."

          It demonstrates that we have the wherewithal & resources to solve many more problems than we currently seem to think, if we can get past our obsession with producing weapons (that once produced, ALWAYS get used, eventually) that we misguidedly believe increase our 'safety'...

          If even a tiny portion of the billions and trillions we're wasting were diverted to projects like insuring that every child gets off to the best possible start in life - wow! Wouldn't that be a huge step forward!

          I hope these discussions help inspire people to link up to tackle these huge but very solvable projects...informing each other is a start...thanks for your contributions!
  • Apr 10 2012: Babies are authentic; their reactions to people, places and things are genuine and from the heart. They have open minds and a thirst for knowledge. They aren't afraid to learn.
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    Apr 3 2012: Babies forge relationships only and purely based on a life lever interaction. their decision making is not clouded by personality or other external trappings.
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    Mar 31 2012: The thing with humans is that we give birth to foetuses - they are not finished gestating.
    There is the observation that the foetus develops through stages that resemble evolution.
    The final stages of the foetus are post-partem.
    I believe that it is social communication that makes this necessary.
    The baby has to be out of the womb and exposed to the full spectrum of social signalling.
    THis is not just language and communication - it is also for adaptation to the complex social environment that results from communication.
    It is the development of the communication-enhanced perceptive field that gives humans such a massive advantage over other creatures.
    But I observe that the social environment is, most often, defective.
    The defect of the social environment of humans is that they long ago turned away from the purpose of their advantage.
    The original purpose was to compete with and control other species.
    But that purpose became perverted as we turn away from other species and - now we compete with and control each other.
    We are no longer the farmers of the Earth, we are now the farmers of people.
    It is entirely sick.
    And that is why the genius of babies is lost - as they learn the sickness.
    Thus evolution becomes involution.
    I suspect that this was all caused through males competing for females.
    If we address that behaviour and return pairing selection to a non-competitive model, then we will have a basis to reverse the involution.
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    Mar 31 2012: Babies are born not knowing how to love. Those of us who know how, have the responsibility to teach them.
  • Mar 30 2012: that's why it takes a village to raise a child. hopfuly some one will see the talents of a child who might need a mini-mentor who without guilt or lack of time reaches out and reminds a growing kid how wonderful they are. I have found that it only takes a few well intended words to lift their spirits and help them believe in themselves again. As a Grandma I take advantage of every chance I get to praise my grandchildren /children and remind them that they can do anything and that they are great just they way they are..
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    Mar 30 2012: "Smile..." Be positive.
    "Go to sleep..." disinterest in schemes
    "Cry..." Make a place for yourself. Don't go unnoticed.
    "Nothing says security..." love. Yes.

    The "rust" you refer to is "adult values." A cartoon from back in the day (before mine) said, "I have seen the enemy, and he is us." Though the cartoon was political, I think it speaks for humankind and human problems in general.
    Another thought on babies or rather young children. I'm thinking of those CDs for relaxing. I've always thought the sounds of little kids laughing, giggling would be very uplifting.
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      Mar 30 2012: Janine, I love the idea of a relaxation CD of little kids laughing & giggling! I'm going to see if anyone has ever done such a thing - I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

      Thanks for reminding me of the " Pogo" cartoon. That was indeed a classic, and is as true today as it was back then. Walt Kelly, Pogo's creator, slipped a lot of stuff into his cartoons that was wonderfully subversive to the status-quo culture.
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        Mar 30 2012: Thank you for knowing of "Pogo" and Walt Kelly. I should have looked it up and given credit where due.

        I've become a bit of a curmudgess, but hearing giggling still makes me giggle. Even the word is fun.
        Keep me in mind if you locate that CD.
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          Mar 30 2012: I'll do that, Janine...alas, so far all I've only found websites that offer many tiny audiofiles, at great cost, of children laughing, giggling, etc.

          They seem to be targeting an audience of film-makers. But I'll keep looking, and share whatever I find.

          If I have to, I may just pay some kids to let me make a recording of them having fun!
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    Mar 30 2012: Hello All - Just added a couple of more related talks to this topic. Check them out. Any more ideas.
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    Mar 30 2012: Yes Vidya - you are close to perfection - only a perfect person could ask this.

    We corrupt our babies .. so we can talk to them.

    This is so painful .. we use harm for benefit .. and in that harm we lose ourselves.
    You have an Indic name - I will direct you to Durga and to Shiva .. and to Mahish-ha.
    And the 100 day war of DUrga - the constuct of all gods .. and how she defeated imortal buffalo demon to protect heaven using the discus of Shiva to slice his throat. To defeat the immortal. This is the task of Durga and humans - we are both our desire and attack on the halls of heaven and the way we defeat ourselves. .. And this is how Gandi threw down the buffalo demon of the Raj.

    We are both demon and god. And the battle proceeds within every single heart, some win .. most lose.

    The Westener is all buffalo demon .. he is strong, but he will never peirce heaven. And it is in the 22 prayers of teh god that gods made that will deny him. IT must be so - because as he resurects in his cave of pain - he will see out on all his ruin and move forward - to do battle again .. to be tamed again and between SHiva and his consort, they kill each other, and their imortal child, over and again and between then they create life.

    The sun sets, and then rises, and in between is every season - it is not a circle - it is a spiral. Darkness, then light then darkness then light. Each with a song, each with a time. ANd nothing is ever the same - as our babies teach us - as we heal their pain - they heal us. THey heal us of the pain of our parents - just as their babies will heal them of the pain we did to them.
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    Mar 29 2012: I have requested a Ted-Ed lesson for this topic. Let's see when it comes through. It would be interesting to see who they would pick to present this talk. I sent them some links which I thought useful. Suggested some great authors too.
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    Mar 29 2012: Thank you Sandy for this grand gesture. I am very humbled by your generosity. Please keep your copy, I have access to a very good library just minutes away from my home. So I would be checking it out from there. But do suggest me any other great books on this topic. I am glad to learn more...
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      Mar 29 2012: Vidya, I hope your library does have the book. If not, my offer to send you a copy of it still stands.

      Just to pique your curiosity, in his book Dr. Holinger offers a list of "5 Keys to raising a healthy, capable, responsible child:

      1) encouraging the reasonable expression of all signals, positive and negative

      2) maximizing the signals of 'fun --- interest' and enjoyment

      3) attending to the signals for help and dealing with whatever triggers them

      4) putting words to the signals as soon as possible, and labeling the feelings.

      5) be aware of your child's intense desire to be like you

      Of course he expands on each of those guidelines to explain why he believes they are so vital to growing children.

      I especially like how he's used the terms 'signals of fun' and 'signals for help' instead of just 'positive vs. negative feelings.' Especially in the case of what we typically think of as 'negative feeling,' because just acknowledging the existence of such feelings can sometimes trigger shame and vulnerability so much that they remain hidden.

      Just imagine the difference it would make in the world if we saw shame as just a signal for help - and not something 'shameful...'

      I recently discovered another book along similar lines called: "Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain," by an English psychotherapist named Sue Gerhardt. I can't wait to finish it...pretty amazing stuff.

      We're so fortunate to live in a time when so many wonderful people are doing groundbreaking work on understanding our species...I see my task as 'connecting the dots' between people writing on shame, attachment, trauma, and neuroscience, in as many different fields as possible...
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      Mar 30 2012: Vidya, I thought of another book on parenting that I love. "Hold On To Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers," by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate. A couple of my favorite Canadians!

      And Daniel Siegel, who makes neuroscience interesting and easy to grasp, has many great books out that are all worth reading. His most recent book is: "The Whole Brain Child" -
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        Mar 30 2012: Thank you Sandy -

        I looked up Daniel Siegel, looks like he has some great books written on this topic.
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    Mar 28 2012: Thank you Sandy, Vivek and Brian for these great comments.
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    Mar 28 2012: Hi Vidya!
    I think this is a great question to reflect on and discuss. I think humankind's greatest hope lies in coming up with the answer to it. I'd love to hear more about what you think about it.