Chain Reaction Foundation
INSPIRING INNOVATIVE CITIZEN ACTION

Rhythms in Our Lives: The Positive and Negative Experiences Which Shape Us From a Young Age

by Margaret Bell | October 30, 2017

We can think of life like a river. This body of water flows down from the source, following a path carved millennia before it, but also forging new channels of its own. When the river hits a rocky area, or the water is disturbed in some way, the ripples on the surface may last a short time or a long time depending on the gravity of the disturbance.

These disturbances can be positive or they can be negative. In many cases, they are troublesome or influential for a short time and then they are swept away by the current. In other cases, they change the course of the river forever.

We can see the evidence for this in a sociological survey conducted in 2012. This survey examined the lives of 55 boys who had been incarcerated within the juvenile detention system. Of these 55, 14 either did not know their father or had a father who had died, 6 had experienced the death of a mother,  while 8 had been orphaned or abandoned at a young age. Each of these statistics is far higher than the national average.

It is worrying how such events so early in our lives can have such a far-reaching influence. The trauma of losing a parent or of being abandoned is so great and occurs so early at a time when a life is still in its formative years, that young people who experience this are put at an immediate disadvantage.

But the inverse of this is also true. Positive experiences – positive disturbances of the water – reverberate with us too. Perhaps not as keenly and for as long as negative stimuli do, but they still provide a strong influence for us as we grow.

A report commissioned by the Australian Office for Women as part of the Women's Leadership and Development Programme highlighted this. The report found that positive family contexts (not necessarily parents staying together, but a context in which the young person can grow in an environment of love and positivity, free from trauma) and positive experiences at a young age are critical to human development.

These experiences form the rhythms of our lives. This is what we will be tapping into in session 27 of our term. By reconnecting with the positive and negative influences in our early life, we can identify what has made us who we are today and how we can forge forward in a positive manner.

For more information on Session 27 (Experiences: Rhythms of Our Lives), or to become a patron or donor, don't hesitate to get in touch with the team here at Mount Druitt.

Margaret Bell, AM - Founder and CEO of Chain Reaction Foundation.

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