If we want to change the world, we need something better than social, economic, educational, and spiritual intervention later in an individual’s life.. All of these existing programs are necessary, yes, and have helped a percentage, yes. But they are, unfortunately, more often a temporary bandaid. Before relapse. Before crisis. If these interventions were to change the world, we would be well on our way to seeing it now.
What if we could completely eradicate an individual’s need for intervention later on in life?
We can. But to do it, we need to focus on children before they turn 6.
Prevention. Not intervention.
Age 0-5 is when what is happening in the environment around an individual gets irreparably catalogued, brashly directing them for their entire life.
This is the pocket of time where brain cells – dendrites – are making connections up to 75% faster than during the rest of their life.
This is the pocket of time where their intellectual potential is heightened or diminished based on what they are exposed to in their environment.
This is the pocket of time where they learn if the world is basically safe or basically unsafe.
This is the pocket of time where they have the chance to connect with other humans in consistent, nurturing relationships and thus, grow their brain’s chemical structures appropriately and gain the ability to form healthy, nurturing relationships for their entire life.
This is the pocket of time where values and spiritual truths are forged into a solid anchor.
Dendrite connection. Attachment. Intellect. Emotional regulation. Spiritual anchors.
It is during this time the map is drawn in rough sketch – the map they spend the rest of their life navigating.
Therefore, age 0-5 is the pocket of time we need to intervene if we want to change the world.
I have no idea how intervention like this practically and financially would even be possible on a broad scale. But I’m guessing that a large part of the answer lies in people reconnecting to community.
Seeing depravity. Speaking worth. Serving meals. Being. Kinda like Jesus.
It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, but it will require sacrifice.
Of time. Of comfort. Of ease. Of pain-free living.
To take children from their homes because those capable ‘know better’ would be a breach of human rights. Every child needs their parent. And wounds unimaginably searing in pain are gouged into parents when their child is taken away.
Generational pain. Loss of identity. We’ve seen the horrid result of that kind of evil. That is individuals trying to fix individuals.
What we need is community to fix individuals.
We need to come alongside those who are struggling. To go into their ghettos – not to remove them as an elitist would – but to be a point of haven, like Jesus would. To be a magnetic light of safety and stability. To share meals. To invite them into our lives, rather than removing them from theirs.
When a mom is depressed post-partum, their infant’s brain sees a rise of stress chemical as well. This impacts how they manage stress themselves, attach, and navigate later on in their adult years.
When an infant is exposed to an unstable emotional or physical environment, whether it be overt stressors or any shade of neglect, their dopamine and opioid receptors reduce from the necessary healthy level. The result of this is a reduced ability to attach to others and form meaningful relationships. And a greater propensity to addiction.
But you know what would change these kids’ lives? What would steer them away from depression, anxiety, addiction, insecure attachment and lack of problem-solving in their later years?
One healthy person who dares to step into the mess and be in it with them.
This takes effort. This takes commitment.
Large-scale, it’s hard to imagine how the early intervention of giving community could even work.
So let’s scale back. To change the world, let’s ignore social programs and government structures. Let’s look in our neighborhoods for that one mom who is stressed. That one family who is struggling. The one kid who needs an adult.
Be that connection for them. Flood them with connection and community and love. Change the chemicals in their brain so that they have a lesser chance of needing those already-existing programs in the future.
This will change the way we do school, especially in neighborhoods with more adversity.
This will change the way we do church, where the real sermons need to be taught to babes.
This will change the way we do families, so we focus on being rather than doing.
This will change the way we do neighborhoods, where each household willingly helps the other.
Teachers with the most success can read the child, determine how to communicate the skills and processes to them, and be able to teach the same concept multiple ways.
That means, kids are influenced best by adults who take the time, speak their language, and try more than one way.
If we want to change the world, we need to be that. We need to take time with kids. We need to speak their language. We need to try to reach them in more than one way.
Choose a child and be their intentional adult.
They aren’t meant to do it alone. We aren’t either. So let’s step out of our individuality and dare to do community.
In doing this, I dare say we can change the world.