People are a lot like plants. They require certain conditions to thrive. Most plants need the right soil, sunlight, and water to grow. Research has shown that music and talking increase plant growth, possibly because sound vibrations stimulate growth.
Similarly, people flourish with the right conditions. Children with a safe, loving home, enough rest and exercise, and good nutrition are likely to be healthier and happier than those who lack these things. But living in the U.S. makes this hard. The following pages explain the four factors needed to raise healthy children into successful adults.
Let’s start with a safe and loving home. Centuries of white supremacy, patriarchy, and other emotionally repressive propaganda mean that a large segment of the population has difficulty building and sustaining healthy relationships. A healthy relationship is one that allows each person to feel that they are valued, capable, and their individuality is okay. This starts in childhood. Punitive caregivers are often well-intentioned but ignorant. Most public education settings are not designed to promote freedom and individuality. Conformity is often forced. Further, there is a lack of supportive spaces to verbalize and process emotions. We have short mourning rituals. We normalize violence. Poverty significantly impacts the quality of living.