Monday, October 29, 2007

Endorphins & the Act of Giving

One thing I've started to do lately is take my little girl out to parks and places I like to go on the island. Many of these spots see tour buses role up while she says "Trolley Bus ding ding" and runs after any small child that may exit. She kind of stalks them, and can sometimes scare them by how ready she is to give them a hug. Most of the time the kids are tourists from Asia and the parents are more than happy to spend a few minutes watching the little ones interact. Sometimes though, she can be so infatuated that they get a little freaked out. It usually ends up with me trying to get Morgan to properly say hello (in the language of choice) and demonstrating a handshake or a bow with the parents. By that time she's happy to stare in amazement and clam up like, well, like a clam!

A while back my wife commented on an article she'd read in a parenting magazine about how to instill the concept of giving and feeling good about it into your children. I read the article; I thought it made sense not only for kids but for parents too. Not long after that we saw something on CNN where "they" (the scientists) have actually shown the level of endorphins (the natural brain chemicals that make you feel good) goes up when people engage in the act of giving. I haven't followed up to see what the study was but basically they said it was similar to the "runners high" you get with exercise without the pain!

That sounded good to me!

I started carrying around a DVD in the side pocket of the diaper bag a while back. Just in case the need should ever arise to show it to anyone or in fact give it away. Now after reading that article I’ve started letting Morgan do it. We've been giving one away every now and again, with no particular reason but, usually to those unsuspecting tourists who miss out on the sites they’ve come to see because they’ve taken the time to chat or they’ve had to protect their kid from the all too friendly white girl!

Last week we were at the lighthouse by smiling cove watching the boats come and go to Managaha. Sure enough a bus load of 6 emerged from their air-conditioned monster. We were sitting on the lighthouse having a snack when she saw him and quickly went into pursuit mode. Fifteen minutes later she had given (and taken away) the DVD to this young boy about 5 times. Each time she gave it to him the boy smiled and looked very excited. Every time she would take it away he looked a little nervous and it took a little effort to make her realize he was in fact going to keep it. When it was time for him to go she gave it to him one last time and said Bye Bye. Of course the send off came long after the bus had started rolling.

Now every once in a while when she finds a copy of the DVD in the house somewhere she picks it up and say's "here boy" with an outstretched arm and emphatic "open".

Perhaps it was the repetition. Perhaps the imprinting but perhaps too those endorphins are some of the same chemicals needed for memory retention!

A double bonus for giving! Feel good and improve your memory AND no pain!

1 comment:

bigsoxfan said...

An outgoing child is a fine gift. Our lad hasn't entered a shy phase yet, and seeing his smile returned is a highlight to any day. Wish, (and I'm sure you do) the MVA would cotton on to the tourism value of your dvd. The few I've sent home have been gratefully received. Unfortunately, we loaned out our personal copy and miss the memories the disk engendered. Fine job, my friend back home, the marine biologist loves the latin subtitles, not many people go that far. Enjoy the endos, you've earned them.