Early Childhood Studies – a Global Perspective

Exploring the concepts on early childhood studies through the lens of people across the globe

My Personal Web of Relationships – An Exploration of Who I am and Why I am

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Research in neuroscience affirms the importance of positive social interactions in the development of the brain.  Cozolino  (2014) posits that the absence of stimulating interactions cause people and neurons to wither and die. Cozolino writes,

“In neurons, this process is called apoptosis; in humans, it is called depression, grief, and suicide.”

Moreover, Cozolino explains that the optimal sculpting of the prefrontal cortex enables us to regulate emotions, think of ourselves, trust others and maintain positive expectations.

Human relationship is a complex concept that encompasses our interactions and connections with many people in our environment that can impact the healthy development of the social organ – the brain. This assertion makes me reflect on the relationships that I have/had – their effect to my present disposition and my effect to them as well.

I see a web of relationships that have molded me to the person that I am and made me extend relationships that molded others, too.

My symbiotic relationship with my mum started when she raised me as an independent child. She always recognized my capabilities that developed my self- esteem to tackle challenges. She allowed me to make mistakes 10408017_10152746078587377_4021338798956328403_nwithout judging, trusted me with my decisions, and encouraged me when I am reaching my low moments. Those times I faced conflicts and problems, she encouraged me to find the answers on my own – maybe tough love that is. Knowing that she would not be able to shield me from the challenges of the world. Now as an adult, I go back to her and give that love back, maybe not in the exact form that she shared it with me, but in a way that makes her feel that she is important to me. Raising all children, she gave up all material desires so that we can go to school, finish a degree, and have healthy, nutritious meals on the table. Those were her priorities. Now it is my time to give her what she missed on while raising us by giving her presents she would not afford herself, bringing her to places she wished she could see and most of all the gift of time to see her (since I am geographically far away) during important occasions that she would hope to see family. Then, it was my turn to raise a child. It was a challenge being a single mother, but like my mother, I committed all my time, effort and resources to my daughter. She is a young adult now, finishing university in a year’s time and getting ready to tackle the challenges of being completely in charge of herself. Growing up, she learned how to earn by baby-sitting in our 10152438_10152053995057377_1578096705156119336_ncommunity. Every time she got paid, she would always treat me for a nice meal or buy my favorite picture books. We both love reading picture books together. My mother always told me to let my child have the opportunity to give and share as well. So each time she offered to buy a meal, I obliged. My daughter and I are in different countries, but we continue to nurture our relationship. We remember to share our stories, good or bad, to each other first. There were no secrets kept, although sometimes I wished, she would not tell me about her personal matters.

Outside my family relationships, I have friends, and colleagues with whom I have emotional attachments. I moved to Busan, South Korea with my daughter to teach. Although I had qualms, I thought it would be the best move for us. Being in a foreign place where you do not speak nor understand the language, it was a challenge. The school culture photothen was shaped by singles who seemed to be happy to be in their own clique. I was sad, worried and lonely. We lived in an apartment managed by an old Korean couple. They turned out to become my foster family. They introduced me to the culture and made me understand how things work in their country. A few times I got sick, they took care of me. My daughter and I spent a lot of time with them. We went on road trips, hiked, and even made meals together. I think we filled the absence of their grown-up children who live far away from them as they did fill the absence of my family as well. I grew to care for my foster parents just as how I would care for my parents if they were around me. I would say, my happy and positive moments here in Korea were those times spent with them. They helped me weather the storm and remain stable to nurture my daughter and keep my job.

There were and are many more relationships in my web. Some of them I have kept and continued to nourish, and some are waiting to be tapped again because of distance while some I had to let go because the trust and confidence were gone. Although some have failed, they still have contributed to my deeper understanding of relationships.  The relationships that remain in my web therefore, are those that continue to foster positive interactions and meaningful connections. There is a continuous flow of serve and return interaction that encourages you to take care of the relationships. These personal experiences provide a lens on how I establish relationships with children and families at work. When I truly respond to their needs just like how the people in my relationships have responded to me, they trust me to be their guide. Similar to my needs, they also require trust, empathy, affection, honest communication, and understanding in order to bridge relationships and allow me to be a part of their learning.

Reference:

Cozolino, L. (2014). The Neuroscience of Human Relationships: Attachment and the Developing Social Brain (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology). WW Norton & Company. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.kr/books?hl=ko&lr=&id=dYUYAwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=human+relationships&ots=kjOraXxZoQ&sig=dgAWVtyeKxUZ2tJmIGaHf_h7qXk&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=human%20relationships&f=false

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Author: pamcee70

My name is Pam Castillo. I have been in the field of education for 24 years now. Although I have taught some levels in grade school, I have spent most of my years teaching children aged two to six years old. I am always amazed by the interactions I have every day with children. In an environment where children feel safe, they are confident to explore and make discoveries. These experiences prepare them for the bigger challenges in the future. I feel privileged to be a part of the learning journey of these young children especially if they still come to see me and reminisce the years we worked together.

8 thoughts on “My Personal Web of Relationships – An Exploration of Who I am and Why I am

  1. Pam,

    I found your post to be very interesting by you living in a foreign country and establishing relationships with people who eventually became your foster family. It is great that they were able to show you around and make you feel welcomed in a new society. After studying about family involvement in our programs, do you believe that many parents feel like you did in the sense of being thrown into a new and unfamiliar situation, and this is what makes them hesitant to become involved? If so, what do you think you could do to seem more inviting and warm as your foster family made you feel?

    Thanks,
    Junell

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    • Thank you, Junell. Yes, I come across many families in the same predicament as our school is composed of families who come and go based on their contracts. These families come from different countries with diverse cultures so they can be overwhelmed the first time they come to school. My personal approach is to welcome these families by talking to them about how they are settling into the new environment and share my experiences as well as I moved into the place. I give some pointers on what can be useful in terms of getting to know their way around the new place. As well, I tell the families to please feel comfortable to communicate with me any concerns through emails or personal visits. On a professional level, I include a welcome message in our Newsletter so that families would feel they are acknowledged. We also have class parents so we ask them to introduce them to the class parents so they can be involved in their socials. The new children are also introduced during the Assembly so all the children in the early learning center would recognize them. Prior to their arrival, we already to talk to children so they would anticipate their coming with positive feelings. You can also have a glimpse of the family engagement at our school by visiting this website.

      http://bifselc.weebly.com/

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  2. Hello Pam,

    I’m so glad to be back in a group with you. I still read your blog last term even though we were not in the same group. Relationship are the foundation for learning and family engagement happens when you value that relationship. I looked at your schools website. I love seeing all the pictures of the kids playing. Good communication is a foundation for family engagement and i like how you send out newsletters and post what the children are doing during their school day. It lets parents have a sense of connection without having to actual be in the classroom.
    Again glad to have you back in my group again.
    Kerry

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    • Thank you Kerry! Relationships are one of the primary things we establish as we begin every school year, we continue to nurture the ones we had with old families and start a new with the families who have joined us. Those families who have been with us in a few years also bridge the school and the new families. They also serve as a guide to be involved at school.

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  3. Hi Pam,
    Really great post. Through the positive relationship you had with your mother in which she encouraged you to develop independence and provided for you an example of what a great mother is and does, she laid a strong foundation for you to follow. As you did with your daughter. It is very wonderful that you and your daughter have such an amazing relationship, what a beautiful young woman she is.

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  4. Thank you Michell for the affirmation. I guess the relationship I had with my mother made a grat impact on how I developed my relationship with my daughter. I am wondering how my relationship with her has affected her relationships with others as well.

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  5. Hello, Pamela you have a great and very interest post I love the families and the things that you do to make a different in a child life, I like the post when you said “These personal experiences provide a lens on how I establish relationships with children and families at work”. This make you feel great about yourself that you respond to their needs just like how the people in your relationships have resopnded to you. I to work with children and families and it is a great feeling when they put their trust in you to guide their children. and having that relationships with the families is great to because you have to have good communication where they can understand in order to bridge relationship this is a great post and blog.

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    • Thank you Stephanie! Yes, it really feels good if I know that I am able to respond the children’s needs and help them, although I have to be very reflective to always see their needs, sometimes I fail to do that.

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