Whether we’re parents, educators, therapists, scientists, or whomever, we are a culture that has been brought up from infancy with a belief that we are to trust experts over our own experience and intuition. It’s the classic scene from Seinfeld where Costanza and Kramer are driving their car with a navigation system and in front of them is a lake. They opt to drive into the lake because the navigation system is telling them that is the way. They have no trust in their own navigation system.
I recently attended a private talk with a man many would consider to be a legend in his own time in the field of early childhood development and parenting, T. Berry Brazelton and his co-author Joshua Sparrow.
Brazelton is 92 years old and author of over 200 papers on early child development and 24 books, including his highly acclaimed book Touchpoints. Those of us in this small audience were mainly professionals in mental health and educators eager to learn. At one point during the talk, many people from this small group were asking questions around what to do when an infant does this or how to respond when a toddler does that.
As we continued on, the thought began to unfold that there’s a danger in this set up. We lose the ability to trust our own experience.