Train Up A Child

Street gangs are proliferating at such a rate that some social scientists are suggesting the streets of America will be controlled by them within ten years. Two legitimate questions are “from where are they coming?” and “what are the contributing factors?”.
There are ethnic gangs such as Hispanic and Asian but native born Americans are comprising more gangs than ever. To find the cause take a close look at the American family. Serving on the Governor’s Council I became privy to amazing insight.
At birth a child has approximately 100 billion brain cells. Each cell is interconnected by thousands of others by electrochemical structures called synapse. A newborn baby has approximately 50 trillion synapses.
If the cells or synapse aren’t used they wither.
Within the brain there are areas with varying functions.
The occipital lobe is assigned the job of identifying what we see. The temporal lobe processes spoken language and hearing.
Another area is where the capacity for social interaction is determined.
By 8 months the number of synaps has grown to 1,000 trillion. By age of 20 years the number has decreased from 1,000 trillion to 500 trillion.
Certain areas of the brain are not developed at birth. They have to be developed. If a child can’t hear at birth that part of the brain does not develop. In general if a child born deaf and doesn’t hear speech by age 10 they are not likely to ever understand language. That part of the brain was undeveloped because it didn’t function during the formative years.
If a child is born blind the neural connections between the eye and brain don’t develop. If sight isn’t gained by age 2 the child will never see properly. That part of the brain did not develop during the formative years.
If certain parts of the brain are not connected by synapse in the early years they don’t develop. A young child’s experiences can cause brain synapse to increase or decrease by up to 25%.
Parts of the brain, the parietal lobe, processes touch.  Cat scans show that in children in third world countries reared in government institutions where they are not lovingly held and touched this part of the brain doesn’t develop. They are candidates for anti-social behavior. They can destroy or kill and have no remorse, no feeling.
Studies show that dads with children ages 2 to 12 spend less that 12 minutes a day with their children. Add to that the absentee father and the situation is compounded.
The lack of loving parental touch is dramatically helping gang development in America. For children to be healthy emotionally they must have the opportunity to form a comfortable and secure relationship with a loving and care-giving parent.
Not everyone reading this has the good fortune of having a young child in the home but doubtless most know friends who do. Share this insight with them as an encouragement to cultivate well balanced children who function constructively in society.