We hope that the stories from the audio series “Adventures of the Marcus Garvey Cubs” will allow us to maximize the natural gifts that have been endowed upon our children from the Creator! We may be shortchanging our children because we don’t really know them!
It is critical that we make some assessment of our children and who they really are. Who they are may seem obvious to their parents who raise them, but a more scientific and anthropological analysis may also be helpful. We become uncomfortable when we hear discussion of black and white children having inborn differences because we reflexively assume that a case is being made for black inferiority. However, a very interesting study finds that there are some differences. Dr. Amos Wilson provides us with some research that he reproduces in his master work The Developmental Psychology of the Black Child:
- In 1956, Marcelle Geber, under a research grant from the United Nations Children’s Fund, traveled to Africa to study the effects of malnutrition on infant and child intelligence and made a momentous discovery. She found the most precocious, brilliant, and advanced infants and children ever observed anywhere. These infants had smiled, continuously and rapturously, from, at the latest, their fourth day of life. Blood analyses showed that all the adrenal steroids connected with birth stress were totally absent by the fourth day after birth. Sensorimotor learning and development were phenomenal, indeed miraculous. A superior intellectual development held for the first four years of life.
A slightly different summary of the same research is presented here.
- I have mentioned that Marcelle Geber spent one year doing long term studies of 300 home delivered infants in Uganda. She used the famous Gesell tests for early intelligence, developed at Yale University’s child development center. The pictures of the forty eight hour old child supported only by the forearms, bolt upright, perfect head balance and eye focus, and a marvelous intelligence shining in the face are no more astonishing than those of the six week old child. At six or seven weeks, all 300 of these children crawled skillfully, could sit up by themselves, and would sit spellbound before a mirror, looking at their own images for long periods. This particular ability was not expected in the American European child before twenty four weeks (six months), according to the Gesell tests. Between six and seven months, the Ugandan children performed the toy box retrieval test. Geber showed the infant a toy, walked across the room, put the toy in a tall toy box; the child leaped up, ran across the room, and retrieved the toy. Besides the sensorimotor skills of walking and retrieval, the test shows that object constancy has taken place, the great shift of logical processing in the brain at which point an object out of sight is no longer out of mind. This test, successfully completed by the Ugandan children between six and seven months of age, was not to be expected until somewhere between the fifteenth and sixteenth months in the American and European child.
When we begin to understand the innate potential of our children, it becomes difficult to avoid certain questions. How can children with such God given abilities evolve into underachieving teenagers? How do these children reach adulthood without the confidence to build and manage their own communities, say nothing of nations? How have they come to respect the opinions and capabilities of others more than their own?