Last year whilst I was studying NLP*, using myself as an example I could see that many of my behaviours had been learned from when I was very little, for example even as young as three I knew who to ask if I wanted something – my aunt if I wanted to be read to, my dad for cuddles. It is believed by some psychologists that between the ages of three and eleven is an imprint period for a child. This means that childhood experiences between these ages are likely to have an impact on who that child becomes, how they feel, behave and represent the world to themselves in later life.
There is this movie I saw recently (another plane movie) that demonstrates this clearly. What Maisie Knew is about a custody battle seen through the eyes of six year old Maisie. In it the parents are neglectful selfish and shallow beings who think nothing of bouncing her back and forth like a pinball and because of this, we the viewer are witness to how this affects this precocious child – what she interprets, how she adapts her behaviours to suit others, how compliant she is, how she looks to others for the love and belonging she craves from her parents.
I have the privilege of seeing the children of my close friends grow and every time I am in the company of these children I am in awe not only because they fill my heart with pure love but because of the little people they have become. Their brains are sponges absorbing their environments. I have been known to get emotional over the first time I see my name written by their little hands, or see them put a sentence together with magnetic poetry or watch them take a wicket at cricket or simply thank me for coming over. Their interests, their mannerisms, their behaviours, their habits – well it’s a good job I believe in miracles because children are a constant reminder that they exist.
See What Maisie Knew: Given the subject matter I was braced to feel emotional but because it is seen from Maisie’s point of view this is more a practical story. Kids have a way of keeping things simple, it is us adults who over complicate life. Having said that the movie still moves you. I found I wanted to punch the parents and take Maisie in my arms and give her all love and attention she deserved. Great performances by all, in particular by Julianne Moore and young Onata Aprile.