It’s been an interesting week…. from a glass half-full perspective.
I had the opportunity to pitch the Dinner-x-Change business which always gets my adrenaline pumping, brain churning, and heart palpitating. I know this business, our mission, how important it is, the trajectory change in a child’s life it can make, that we need it everywhere, and need it now. But with each pitch, I ask myself how I can make others aware and as passionate as I am. I get on the stage and share our personal story of how DxC came to be and the many tangible (and intangible) benefits we have received since GAB’bing; I talk about the evidence based research that proves conversation improves a child’s self-confidence, strengthens their executive functions, reinforces family bonds, and decreases at-risk behaviors; I walk through the 2 minute/day process in a classroom that prompts recall and authentic reflection at home of lessons from the day, I confirm that it is a student-managed platform that affords them accountability, empowerment, and story-telling skills, etc. All this in only a 3 minute pitch.
The glass half-full is when educators approach me afterward and ask to implement it in their classrooms. They get how it works and why it’s so important for kids to be using.
The glass half-empty is when I become involved in a discussion that starts with “..this would be nice to have, might be good to have a little chat at home.” My immediate reaction is to see red and turn on my heels. But I quickly realize that this is a silver lining on a nice-to-have cloud. Clearly, I’m not saying what needs to be said in a pitch. Perhaps trying to squeeze to much in at once or I tread lightly on the benefits of conversation. The feedback is heeded.
I start refining my pitch. The impact of parent-child conversation is not a ‘benefit’ — it is fundamental to a child’s health and well being. The conversation itself is not a ‘nice to have’ but is essential to a child’s development. Parent-child conversation significantly improves a child’s self confidence. If this was the only outcome, it’s already validated. However, research also confirms that consistent parent-child conversations increase a child’s curiosity, improve problem solving and communication skills, and enhances logical reasoning. Feed these impacts back into the next school day and watch the effect on school engagement and academics. But wait, there’s more…. Consistent parent-child conversations are proven to decrease (1) drug use, (2) alcohol abuse, (3) depression, (4) teen pregnancy, (5) obesity, and (6) school drop-out rates in children.
Parent-child conversations are fundamental to a child’s development. Neurologically, the development of the brain can be accelerated through the strengthening of neural connections and creation of neural networks. A child’s cognitive development is on a spectrum which can be enhanced as they retrace events, recall, story telling, and ask questions. Emotionally, children gain from the self confidence, empowerment, good decision making, connection, trust, open dialogue, learning, safety, and the security of knowing someone is listening, interested, and invested in them.
The impact is life changing— so I suppose it is nice to have!