Yesterday marked the completion of our 7 day journey for the “How to Multiply Your Baby’s Intelligence” course. Graduation day. Back in my working days, I attended numerous workshops to develop my skills – from leadership to programming WonderWare. At the end of those courses, I received a little paper, certifying I attended the class. This graduation was a very formal event – Janet Doman and Susan Aisen, our two main instructors for the week, were in robes. We were accompanied to the podium, walked across the stage, and after we received our diploma we shook hands with the entire staff. Most of us were in tears as we walked across the stage. I’ve walked across a stage 3 times in my life – high school, college and graduate school. Actually, I think I received my graduate degree in the mail, I didn’t want to waste a Saturday for a ceremony.
I wouldn’t have missed this opportunity for the world. I learned more in the last 7 days than I did in my last 7 years of post-high school study. I learned something new every single day, and this new knowledge will continue to be used every day for the rest of my life. My MBA degree is hanging on the wall of our office. I’m not quite sure where my undergraduate degree is. I plan on getting my degree from the Institutes framed and giving it a place of honor in the office.
Although I was happy and excited to come home, I felt deep sadness when I walked away from the Institute for the last time. Within those walls are some of the most caring, passionate, intelligent people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. The instructors, who are all staff members at the Institutes who developed the techniques, did something so subtle it took us several days to realize what they were doing. They used the same principles of teaching little children to teach us. They presented only the facts in a loving, exciting manner. They showed us great respect throughout the week, reminding us that we were the best parents in the world and there was no better teacher-student combination than us and our children. They never lingered on a topic for too long, but they presented clear information. They gave us plenty of time to ask questions. The funny thing is, when we would ask questions, instead of just spouting out the answer, they would gently lead us to the answer, to make us feel as if we figured out (which we indeed did). By the end of the week, we were all experts in childhood development. We went from being “just parents”, to people who were knowledgable in how the brain works and how to help build its capacity.
This is the basis behind the idea of how to teach tiny babies how to read, do math, learn a foreign language, etc. You present the facts. You do it in a loving and enthusiastic manner. You remind that baby that he is already a genius, by far the most wonderful, amazing person you have ever met. You help build their confidence. You listen carefully to every question and always give them the path to find the answers. You keep up with their speed of learning and respect them every step of the way. If we were this confident after seven days, imagine how your child will be after three to six years.
If you are still contemplating whether or not to read the books, take a chance and pick one up. If it doesn’t touch your heart immediately, put it down and don’t worry about it. If you feel a spark and are intrigued, consider taking this course. Here is my last quick story and I will end this marathon post –
When you speak to Glenn Doman in the hall, he isn’t a man of many words and he speaks very softly. But he conveys so much to you with his eyes and smile – you feel his excitement because he knows what is in store for you, you feel that he is truly grateful you took the time to learn so you can then teach your baby, you feel love and compassion. He is in his 90’s. Age is catching up to him and you can tell he tires easily. And yet, every morning, bright and early, he came to our lectures. He would sit in a chair and read from his cards. If you have read any of the Doman books, they are written very conversationally, so even though he read from the cards, you didn’t feel like you were being read to. And the energy and passion behind the words. . . if you weren’t looking at him, you wouldn’t know he was reading.
Anyhow, there were two women in our class who complained on the 3rd day – “This is such a waste of time. I’ve read all of the books, I don’t need someone to read the introduction to the books at the beginning of each day. They would save so much time if they just eliminated the first 2 hours of class.” Needless to say, the rest of us were shocked and enraged by that statement. I held my tongue because I realized, these girls are here for the wrong reason. They are looking for someone to give them a recipe. Their goals are not the same as ours – we are looking for a way to allow our children to reach their full potential, they are looking for a way to make sure their child meets all the right requirements to perhaps get into some fancy preschool. The Doman way of teaching will never give you a recipe. They will give you the why, the facts – it is your job to intuit the how to. Even then, every single person is going to come up with their own program for their child, and it will work because it is unique to that child.
There are very few true innovators in this world who are so willing to share their knowledge. Most times, when we learn something, it has been watered down and changed over time. It is rare to learn something from the true source. You can take a child development class at any hospital where a nurse or some other expert hands you a pamphlet and gives you step by step instructions. This was no watered down class. This was like learning the Theory of Relativity from Albert Einstein or getting a lesson in architecture from Frank Lloyd Wright. If you don’t understand how lucky you are to be sitting in that chair in the auditorium, you don’t belong there. Needless to say, those two women didn’t come back after Thursday.
Final, final note, and then I promise, I am finished. I keep talking about this course as a program, and how to develop a program with your children. What you are really learning is a lifestyle. You are implementing changes that will change your lifestyle. It is like trying to lose weight. You can follow some 10-day program and see a change, but it will only be temporary and you are less likely to stick with it. Everyone knows, to improve your health, you need a lifestyle change that includes how you eat, how you exercise, how you live. This is what we learned this week. It is a lifestyle change where you not only feed your baby’s body, but also his mind. You plan his intellectual diet as carefully as you do his nutritional diet, and execute it with the same enthusiasm and regularity. Only then will you be successful, and only then will you realize how easy and fun it is to multiply your baby’s intelligence.