“When things go wrong, don’t ask what’s wrong with the kid, lets look at the environment, lets look at what’s going on in the family, lets look at what’s going on in the culture, lets look at what’s going on in the community, and typically what is going on in the child’s immediate relationships with the one that he or she is closest to which means to say that we have to look at ourselves.” - Dr. Mate
Dr. Gabor Mate is someone I so so adore. His wisdom of trauma and ways of management is a precious contribution that I believe must touch each and everyone's life. I have bitten my tongue so many times while speaking to so many people and ended up not saying what I must have. And when I have, I am mostly met with terms like insensitive, unnecessary or unprofessional. While, all I am trying to do is help the child by opening a world of possibilities for the environment that can help one make a perspective shift instead, most times I slowly crawl back into my shell.
The most important dynamic in life is attachment (human connectedness) and instead we tell ourselves that a human life is sustained by money, power and position fuelled by individualistic greed, desires and successes despite it causing misfortune for many. And yes, I have failed many times and I know I will continue to fail until people believe that entrepreneurship and capitalism are necessary to keep survive. It’s a ridiculous idea, counter-productive to survival infact to be honest! In fact, I have seen people saying that money can buy everything but the truth is that it really can't! Having such illusions is even more dangerous to be honest. Maybe at this point, I must also admit that I do not have the charisma he speaks with.
Whilst, many may disagree with the truth - the truth is that we do not have time for kids yet we have them, we do not understand kids yet we want them to behave, we do not acknowledge the frustrations of a children managers (be it teachers, carers, parents) yet we expect them to solve the problems, we do not want to hurt our children yet we have reinstated philosophies and systems that do only this. In fact we even drive research and studies to validate such ideas to ourselves because it is hard to do something that is unnatural and to do that we need studies. We did not need studies to tell us that killing forests would have a consequence but we still did it. That I am sorry to say is how most human psyche works. It does not mean that a human does not love nature, a human is deeply connected and in love with nature but that is how he expresses his love, may not be healthy but it is love and that is something we need to remember.
I so believe that the the body is affected very much by what happens to the mind and more so what happens when the child was young and vulnerable and dependant on others for his or her survival. I know this by experience and I know that the systems in India are driven towards targeting the vulnerable. These are defining moments for every human being.
An interesting term he mentions - Bio-pscycho-social perspective, a way to understand human beings. What is even more interesting is that he acknowledges that all of us feel and as adults we must accept our feelings wholly. I always tell the teens I work with, that as adults we have trouble negotiating through our own emotional feelings and it is simply amazing to see how the child then embraces you. These are not moments of failure but actually true bonding in an amazingly mature way.
The biology of a human being is for a lifetime shaped by and affected by their psychological and social relationships. Mate talks about why communities, human connectedness and being an ever present parent is much much more significant for the holistic development of a child. This is the only way - any other way I know for a fact will create trauma in ways that cannot ever be fixed at least in the teens I work with, who are already vulnerable because they have severe comprehension gaps and communication difficulties. Neuro-plasticity may not really be an option as much as we would love for it to be (in some cases) and yes, it will be a lot of work, we will try but also the environment must evolve first! Listen Listen Listen!