By Chris Croll
As you spend more time with your family this summer, here are a few TED Talks that might change the way you interact with your children, how you judge yourself and how you operate in the world around you.
“How Boredom Can Lead to Your Most Brilliant Ideas,” by Manoush Zomorodi (16:13) When your body goes on autopilot, your brain gets busy forming new neural connections. Research shows that paying close attention to tasks eats up glucose in the brain which is in limited supply. When you experience boredom or do rote tasks like loading the dishwasher, the brain works on “autobiographical planning” which helps solve problems and find paths towards achieving goals.
2 – “How to Raise Successful Kids Without Overparenting,” by Julie Lycott-Hames (14:17). Former Dean of Freshman at Stanford University, Lycott-Hames talks about how parents are micromanaging their kids’ lives to a point of destruction. Our children suffer from high rates of anxiety and depression and believe their self-worth comes from grades and scores because parents over-help their kids, depriving them of the necessary skill of developing self-efficacy.
3 – “What Playing Monopoly with Real Money Taught Me About My Kids – and Humanity,” by Adam Carroll (15:39). When money is digital and therefore invisible, as opposed to a tangible thing, we interact with money differently. Kids today are being raised in a world where money is an abstract concept. The father in this video used real money – $10,000 in cash – in the game of monopoly with his children to see if they would behave differently in the game if they were using actual currency instead of paper game money. They did.
4 – “Reading Minds Through Body Language,” by Lynne Franklin (11:58). Franklin says there are three types of people – lookers, listeners and touchers. She shows examples of each and teaches how to build rapport with all different types of people.
5 – “Why We All Need to Practice Emotional First Aid,” by Guy Winch (17:22). Why is it that we take care of our physical bodies better than we do our minds? Winch makes a compelling case for the practice of emotional hygiene — taking care of our emotions and our minds with the same diligence with which we take care of our bodies. He talks about loneliness, failure, rumination and emotional wounds and how to develop mental resilience.
Each of these videos takes fewer than 20 minutes to watch and can help you gain a greater understanding of others and yourself. I hope your summer is full of deep connections and happy memories. Enjoy!
Chris Croll is a writer, community activist and member of the Loudoun County School Board (Catoctin District). She lives in Leesburg with her husband and two children.