New Environments

Recently I talked about how we went on a picnic, and how that was a good experience for me and Samuel.  Since then we visited family in Tennessee, and those two experiences have been rolling around in my brain and giving me a lot to think about.
It seems like every time we visit family (or when they visit us for that matter) Samuel learns a new skill. He’ll suddenly start reaching and grabbing things or sitting up on his own, or any number of other new developments.
Frankly, it concerned me for a while, when I began asking myself if I was failing as a father by not creating a stimulating enough environment or interacting with him enough/effectively. Fortunately, my wife has a much more level head about such things and reassured me that I was indeed being a good father, but it was simply him reacting to a new environment that helped him unlock something new.
It’s fascinating to me that he can teach himself complex new skills in general, but particularly that he does so when he’s “out of his element”. I suppose on a neurological level he’s creating new pathways in his brain due to the new people and places, so it’s easy to create yet another new pathway for a skill. On the other hand, maybe it’s just that he is able to evaluate the skill in a new light since he’s literally in a different place.
Being “out of the comfort zone” doesn’t apply only to Samuel though. On the contrary, I find myself “uncomfortable” on a regular basis, simply because parenting is still so new to me. When you then add in that I’m learning how to be a blogger and a freelance writer at the same time, life becomes even more complex for me!
However, there is so much more for me to learn as well–one thing Samuel’s got going for him that I don’t is that he is constantly changing and growing, while I am mostly the same. Certainly my perspectives and knowledge are changing all the time, but they’re tempered by the experiences I’ve already had, and physically I remain much the same, even if my hair is slowly becoming a little grayer.
From my perspective though, every day is different than the last as Samuel continues to grow up. In many respects, I constantly get the benefit of being in a new environment because Samuel is constantly new himself.
Even more important than any brain health benefits from Samuel’s growth is that I get the chance to watch his growth and hopefully grow some myself at the same time. It’s not the most glamorous thing I’ve ever done or ever will do, but it’s still very exciting to me–even if I never expected to say that in my entire life!

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2 thoughts on “New Environments

  1. Anna says:

    SO… how much of it is that he was in a new environment and how much is that it was “just time” for that to happen? Think of ALL the new things he is learning ALL the time. He makes new discoveries and reaches new milestones even when at home. (He first slept through the night at home when no one was visiting!)

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