June 17, 2008

The memory of a book

Have you ever read a book and then never seen it again, yet the memory of that book impacts you for the rest of your life?

In my first year Sydney Uni I picked up a book that was in the recommended reading list for educational psychology. It was a book which covered research in two of my favourite areas; infant development and how different cultures work in the everyday. It looked at how cultures impacted on infant development, not judging, just stating the facts.

The authors had researched ways different cultures raised babies (first few years of life) and how the way different cultures raise children to develop different skills, often ones that are important in that culture.

Some things I remember were things like;
Western culture is one of the only cultures who let babies sleep in separate rooms and western cultures value children who are independent beings.
There is a tribe in South America who carry their children until they are about 3 and as such their children have an average age of walking much higher than the rest of the world – about 2 ½. This same tribe live in an area where there are many very poisonous snakes, and so having a child which is less mobile means they are less likely to wander off and be bitten.

I drank that book up. I read it non stop for days and talked about what I had learnt to anyone who was willing to listen.
But then the subject finished and I had other things I had to read. I returned the book and the rest of my time at Sydney was not happy, even though I meant to go back and find it again I never did.
I left uni abruptly and I don’t have the unit outline with the title of the book. I have tried so many searches to find it again, but never have.

But it still stays in my mind. I have often picked essay topics that look at different culture's perspectives on an issue. I am so interested to hear people talk about how the same things are done in different parts of the world. I would love to read it again, but maybe the magic of my memory is more enjoyable than the book will be in real life.

Photo by takomabibelot

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