When Will You Change Your Disposition?

positivity-vs-negativityBy Daseta Gray, M.Ed, Certified Infant/Toddler Specialist

Disposition means ones attitude, perspective and beliefs.

As an Educator, child care provider, parent and community leader you must keep in mind you are the key to helping to develop young minds. How will they be able to achieve success in school and beyond if you are not willing to change your disposition to ensure they get the experiences they need.

I would like to share some experiences that I have had as I walk around in Harlem whether it is handing out business cards or meeting with heads of organizations and I share statistics with them.

… more than 80% of American voters believe that less than 50% of children are ready when they get to kindergarten …

As I meet with Directors and discuss the negative statistics stating many of our infants/toddlers are behind in their cognitive skills they will say, “I know.” When I discuss the importance of training their staff on infant/toddler developmental components not just the basic CPR, health & safety, mental health, etc. they will respond by saying, “I have been doing this for thirty years what can you teach my staff” or they will say, “I do all the trainings for staff development.” I share with them and will share with you, research has documented that more than 80% of American voters believe that less than 50% of children are ready when they get to kindergarten. It is obvious that something is missing when the research shows nationally the average African American and Latino infant at nine months are behind with their cognitive skills and by twenty four months they are three times behind. Isn’t the objective to do something different to get different results if what you’ve been doing isn’t working well? With all this research, when will you change your disposition?

After mentioning the research many ask, “Who is writing these statistics? You know the findings are based on who funds research.” I am say to myself, “where are you living?” Do you need researchers to tell you this? Do you not see what is happening in our schools, communities and with families? These statements were made by “educated “individuals.

Earlier this week I as I was in White Plains purchasing items for a client I had a conversation with a member of the clergy as I stood at the checkout. We were discussing the statistics and he shared that his community there are 20 churches. One of the ministers invited the others ministers to a “problem solving” meeting based of the statistics. Only 2 ministers attended. The minister said, “many ministers will only show up to discuss change if they are getting a monetary benefit if money cannot go in their pocket they are not interested. They do not care about the community.” They are not looking to the future .They do not understand that the children in the community are the future”. When will you change your disposition?

When you speak with policy makers and some organizations they respond by saying “many infants/toddlers are delayed because they are living in poverty. There are infants and toddlers in middle class families that are behind. When a baby is born they do not know their parents economic status their brain is the same and it is based on the experiences you provide that matter and shape how they develop. Children are born wired to learn. However, the experiences the brain is exposed to will determine how and if the wires will be connected. I don’t believe in just pointing out the issues I believe is suggesting solutions. I facilitate community discussions and very few people attend. If it was a party the room would be full. If there are new sneakers coming out the line is very long. The nail salons and hair salons are full. My question is when will you change your disposition?

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What do you think?

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