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Addressing Body Image in Children & Teens

Various media sources may influence one’s perception of the ideal self, or the aspirations and perceptions of others and self, regarding qualities and characteristic of personal value; and thus have a correlating role in the development of one’s thoughts, feelings, and overall judgement or self-worth or one’s self-esteem (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014). The actualized image, or real self-concept, is partially predetermined before birth by one’s unique biogenetic composition. Additionally,  spiritual-evolutionary factors designed before the beginning of time and formed in the womb  play a role in the determination of the actualized self-image (Ps 51) .The real-self and ideal- self is further determined by a lifelong relationship with family, peers and society and host of external environmental variables of culture and creation (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).

One’s reactions within a crisis and the ability or inability to adapt, cope, and overcome the various occurrences of both positive and the negative consequential influences of the mental, physical, emotional, spiritual and social variables shapes the image in the  development of all people (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014). This ongoing developmental-stage is fostered by the presence and / or absence of nurturing (love), by modeling (imitation of characteristics and abilities), learning (acquisition of knowledge), (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014)and discernment through experience and wisdom which often must be gained with cautious & prudent investigation and assessment of past present and future motivation and intention (Prov. 8:12 NIV). While any characteristic, ability, value, or virtue is based on one’s quality of experience, additionally it may be measured by normative statistics forming a generalized baseline for a particular group within each subculture or culture in a given specified region or ethical people group (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).

Thus, when an abnormal measurement is obtained the deviant value may indicate a radical element, or a variable that is in opposition to the normative standard to the social normative. However, such a deviation may simply indicate eccentricity, innovation or an evolutionary adaption. Per se, even terms such as right and wrong, good and evil, pretty, ugly, fat and thin, will vary from culture to culture, place to place, and even within the proximity of time (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).

On matters of cultural differences and identity, The Apostle Paul addresses the issue of what is more appropriate; righteousness, being moral, or just – following the Law and the social normative standards of culture and society. In Romans 15 Paul concludes, “Faith is not a matter of being moral or conforming to ritualism, religion, or obligation to any form of the Law, but rather that a life lived in obligation in faith brings glory to God. Rather, love and worship is about endurance and perseverance in the exercise and discipline of faith.  Furthermore, we should conduct ourselves in a manner as Christ did by encouraging and building up each other through acceptance, in hope, unity with grace, and in mercy. Our faith is thus not based on any works of law or deeds of morality but faith forms the basis of living in accordance to the workings of the law and the virtues of God. Finally, God writes morality on each person’s heart and the interaction of the individual within the community through the intercession of the Holy Spirit forms the hope that leads to and encourages the development of faith. The weak, or those whom are subjected to the authoritarian principles of the Law and the free-willed moralist should not let their pride cast judgment on one another but rather work together for the glory of the Kingdom of Heaven ( Rom 15: 1-7 NIV).”

James similarly states this message, “As Work without faith is dead as well as faith without works is meaningless. For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead (Jas 2: 14:25 HCSB).”

When counseling parents or caregivers on methodology to aid in identity issues, such as issues pf body image it is important to remind those we teach that Jesus regarded all with unconditional acceptance and love.  Our self- worth and significance is defined only in and through living in faith and our attempts to model actions, thoughts and feelings that are attributed to the mind and heart of Christ ( Phil 1-6 NIV).

Additionally we all are given unique talents, attributes, and abilities before birth, but our thoughts, feelings and reactions influence our behaviors and our  perspective on identity, Thus are image concepts are both on a personal and social level and additionally intrinsically given by God. (Rom 12).

Our pride serves as the basis for all motivation, drive and intentions, which leads to our reactions and interactions with all creation. Pride also is the basis of every transgression and sin and even our best intentions to serve the law and act morally may corrupted by sin leading to our separation or death from God (Rom 1:8 NIV).

True freedom and our redemption from slavery, our justification of worth and citizenship as heirs to the Kingdom, and our salvation is not solely our own making but primarily comes from profession, acceptance, and conformity to the ways of the Spirit and dying to the ways of the flesh or worldly desires.

In loving servitude as stewards to God in every action and interaction as ambassadors, we trudge fourth in the blessed assurance on our path of restoration in the Likeness of Christ. We seek to embrace other in peace, hope, joy and love building disciples as we spread the message to a fallen world awaiting the return of our Savior King.

Many studies have indicated anything from the toys that girls play with such a Barbie (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014)to the physic appearances and attitudes of characters in children’s movies help form the basis of body image, ideal self and self -worth.  Even Disney movies often portray females as pretty but fragile and weak and in need of saving by the strong heroic masculine figure, or depict woman as evil witches,  or it’s is ok for women to give up on dreams, talents or ambitions or even to be of lower intellect as long as she is beautiful. For everyone knows beauty is the most desired trait by every prince (Beth, et al., 2003).

Although the media may influence the development of body image through advertisement and product placement of unhealthy foods that may lead to obesity in some individuals (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014). The exaggeration or overemphasis on certain desirable physical and social attributes in characters in movies, books and other forms of media and the promotion of certain moral, political, or other social values plays less of a role on identity development.

God created all of us uniquely (Ps. 51 NIV) has a multitude of plans for each of us (Jer.  29:11 NIV), has given humanity freewill and guidance under the Law to become virtuous, and in addition “God knows every hair on our head (Luke 12:7 NIV) and the thought within our minds and desires of each of our Hearts (1 Pt. 3: 3-4 NIV),”

Yet, although God loves all people unconditionally in our election we must chose to profess believe in the substitutive  love- offering that freed  us from the bondage of Sin and grants us our citizenship and restoration and redemption to the Image of Christ and coheirs of the Kingdom of Heaven through our obedience living in and by faith. Thus, our identity rest in Christ alone and is strengthened by our transformation of heart and mind and the aided by and in our conformity to the Holy Spirit and death to flesh, or worldly desires (Rom. 6, 8, 12-15 NIV).

The main influence on identity is one’s peer and family reactions and interactions. Thus, the best strategy to aid in both establishing a secure attachment style and identity is to model and scaffold thoughts, feelings and actions that encourage both independence and compliance to authority (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014). By empowering and inspiring principles of communal cooperation, respect for others, dignity, diversity and unity while teaching unconditional positive regard and biblical relevancy and truth one can begin the lifelong transformation process into the identity of Christ. The end result is the attainment of unity of mind, body, soul and Spirit, the relief of all creation from the pangs of suffering and death, and a new freedom found only as citizens and heirs in the New Kingdom of Heaven (Rom 12-15, Phil 1-6, 1 Cor 12, 1 Cor 13, 2 Tim 3:16 NIV).

In God, Christ and Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

Word Count # 1427

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References

Martorell, G., Papalia, D. E., & Feldman, R. D. (2014). A Child’s World: Infancy through Adolescence (13th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill Education.

 

 

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Early Childhood Education

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The Montessori Method is an empirical style of learning in which children develop at their own pace using a variety of developmental and age appropriate tasks in a systematic fashion. The Montessori Method utilizes instructors and fellow classmates as mentors and additionally, the classroom is structured to provide a soothing and orderly environment to promote positive and harmonious growth for all participants in the program.   In this educational style, natural learning theories involve principles of rationale, spiritual and foundational learning are combined and although the curriculum follows a specific path each student helps shapes the focus and progress thus determining the outcome or growth of each student and the class. (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).

Reggio Emilia, a less formative model that focuses on each individual’s unique interests by encouraging the exploration of creative ideas, thoughts, feelings and interactions. The abilities, talents, and skills are developed using drama, music, free-play through music, and free-expression in words, poetry and the arts in respect for the development one’s diverse needs and abilities of each student. Other methods of learning also are less formal and structured to encourage creativity, unique expression and other forms of abstract and post conventional thinking and expression (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).

In both methods above locomotive play is incorporated with structured learning. However, in Reggio Emilia the arts are embraced, as is the development of individualism and free expression (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014). Additionally, the method tends to favor more of a qualitative approach focusing on aspects and stages rather than on quantity as in other methods, which focus on basic foundational skills of language and mathematics taught on repletion and social normative standards (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).

In Montessori language, math, free play, and values and elements of spirituality are incorporated into a structured program with the child setting the limits and progression and both teachers and students acting as coaches and mentors in more a symbolic or communal setting (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).

Other learning methods exist within Early Education but tend to focus more on either the development of the basic standardized skills of mathematics, language, and the social normative skills defined by a particular society, or focus on free play. Additionally some methods use a combination of the two standards above.

What is deemed appropriate or best for one child may or may not work for every child. For although learning tends to follow normative patterns in regards to cognitive, social and biological development and the means in which each individual acquire information is determined by one’s environment and experiences (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014). Our unique experiences, consequences and the various ways we all develop and incorporate and process information through perception of our senses and the theory of our mind differs, as does the influence of culture and subculture and that of our worldview. Additionally any challenges derived from evolution itself has a positive or negative correlation to one’s growth rate (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).

As to which model is best suited for Early Childhood Learning it depends on the particular developmental needs of a child. Each individual has different cognitive, social and other developmental needs, strengths and weaknesses and cannot easily be determined simply by either biological, social, environmental or any other factors. As such, the best learning center would offer various learning methods with strategies tailored to meets the multiple complexity of needs of the diverse populous they serve and the variety of interests, virtues, vices and such they may encounter as they prepare the minds and hearts of our future generation to serve and glorify God. Thus, the best center should offer programs suited with combination of methods or a holistic/eclectic blending of developmental-learning theories to help shape the future of the mind, bodies, hearts and souls of the leaders of tomorrow.

For although God created all People in his Image (Gen 1:27). Each of us were created before time, space and Creation began unique yet similar or universal in form (Ps 51). Furthermore, all of us are called to serve various plans in our various stages of life for the prosperity and Glory of God (Jer. 29:11).  This election which is to build, equip and baptize Disciples in Faith in the preparation for the return of our Savior-King during the Second Coming Jesus will bring final restoration of all people of faith. Furthermore, the result is the restoration of all creatures and all creation from the penalty of death that is the result of Sin and return humankind to Holistic Oneness in Mind-Body-Spirit in the likeness of Christ (Premise of Gospel of Romans).

“Blessed are the Children and Cursed be to any whom wish to harm them or cause them to fall, Be like them in their innocence and inherit the Kingdom of Heaven ( Matt. 18: 1-9, Matt. 19: 14-15).” For “We shall all start children off on The Way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it (Pr. 22:6 NIV).”

Whitney Houston proclaims, “I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Give them a sense of pride to make it easier. Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be (Masser & Creed, 1984).” By, embracing, the similarity and building on the unique needs of each child while instilling a understand of unity, diversity and moral and legal understanding educators’ and parents’ shape the future of tomorrow’s leaders and help build lay the foundation of peace, hope, faith and love that will bring assurance, joy and prosperity in generations to come.

In God, Christ and Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

Word Count # 994

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References

Martorell, G., Papalia, D. E., & Feldman, R. D. (2014). A Child’s World: Infancy through Adolescence (13th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill Education.

Masser, M., & Creed, L. (1984). Greatest Love of All [Recorded by W. Houston]. On Whitney Houston [Compact Disc]. New York, New York, United Staes: Sony.

 

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