Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Be Patient - They Really Do Have Brains

I browse and blog; Mom watches TV and passes tips on to me. With this one, I believe she has in mind the survival of her grandchildren. Now, I'm not talking about vague, hypothetical grandchildren surviving an ecological crisis. I'm talking about those two specific grandchildren of my mother that happen to live with me, and their chances of surviving their own adolescence and its effects on me.


Anonymous said...

Laura - I work with student athletes, tutoring them, often late at night, in biology, chemistry, marine sciene, whatever, and we enjoy contrasting my waking hours with theirs. They love this sort of thing.

They get to bed late, sometimes very late, as any person under the age of 25 would, and as I did at that age. If they were normal people of their age they'd arise late too, noon or so, let's say.

I, in contrast to their peers, have increasingly found myself getting up in the wee hours of the morning to wander about the house, enjoy some coffee, read a bit, do my morning blogging, whatever. At this point I'm entirely concious, that might change as I get older. This, I understand, is how things work when you get older.

Unfortunately for the 20-something student athletes, they usually have to get up at 5am to practice or work out, instead of sleeping in. This is completely contrary, at their age to the development of the younger human brain.

We spend a fair amount of time talking about things like this. I commiserate completely with them, understanding that their sleep-demanding cortices haven't completely developed and yet they have the cultural and physiological imperatives to stay up late just like everyone else their age, when in defiance of those imperatives they must arise early as no self-respecting non-athlete young person would.

We have quite an understanding.

arcolaura said...

Yes, I'm thinking that some understanding is going to be key, for the next few years.

They're great kids, really. But there have been some baffling outbursts lately. I was particularly struck by the part about young people being unable to distinguish between anger and fear in a facial expression. That could explain something. Perhaps our kids are mistaking a look of concern for a look of anger, and then hearing a fairly calm statement as if it was a yell. You see, there have been several instances when they have said, "You're always yelling at us!" and we have looked at each other, quite certain that their voices went up much sooner and much farther than ours did.

Patience, understanding, and humour - but we find we must be very careful how we apply that last one, or we get "You're always mocking me!"