Repetition - How It Includes Both Freedom And Discipline

August 21, 2011

Recently, I went to the NACAC pre-conference in Denver, Colorado and heard Dr Bruce Perry speak about trauma. He mentioned how the brain stores information through repetition and how a child who has had trauma, either in utero or during their first few years of life, needs more repetition for the brain to develop. Otherwise, the brain will resist the changes that normally would occur due to the trauma. Thus, a new template needs to be formed for change and growth, and this can only occur when the brain becomes stimulated through repetitive "action" patterns.

My oldest son received trauma in utero and although I knew this fact, I did not know how important repetition was for his development. Due to my lack of knowledge, my son had many problems in school and life in general as he grew older. Many adults viewed him as lazy & stupid, and labeled him as such.

Approximately two years ago I began to read books by Dan Millman, also known as the Peaceful Warrior. One of the things that Dan wrote about that intrigued me was concerning freedom and discipline and how they are interconnected. According to Millman, freedom "manifests as a thirst for a broad range of experience and adventure on physical, emotional, mental, social, sexual, financial and spiritual levels", while discipline "provides the focus, commitment and inner strength ..." to make it happen. What this has come to mean for me is that freedom can only come through discipline. It is repeatedly taking the necessary steps and committing to them that eventually earns one freedom which provides security and self-respect to the individual. By focusing on what is necessary to achieve a certain result, it frees one to consistency and pattern instead of scattered-ness and imbalance. Thus, discipline gives one an inner freedom that manifest in the world as self-reliance and independence.

In contemplating what both Dr. Perry and Dan Millman have stated, I believe they are stating the same thing. Individuals, especially children of adoption or trauma, need discipline which means repetitive actions that will eventually form the growth needed to assist with their self-worth and reliance. My oldest son has struggled, because he did not experience the discipline he needed to gain this self-reliance and worth. Although he is now an adult, I know that it is not too late as I continued to assist him in acquiring the discipline he needs to be truly free, a.k.a. self-sufficient in this world.

Joann DiStefano

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