Alcíín bínt’íkee dítódí (Children’s minds are very sensitive)

Becoming of a child – how a child’s mind came to be emotionally secured, relaxed, open minded – open hearted in everyday life.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) created National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day (Awareness Day) more than a decade ago to bring national awareness to the importance of caring for children’s mental health and promoting healthy development.

According to the SAMHSA website, the purpose of Awareness Day is to increase public awareness about the needs of children with serious mental illness (SMI) and severe emotional disturbance (SED) and their families, provide information on evidence-based practices, and encourage those who need help to seek treatment (http://www.samhsa.gov/childrens-awareness-day/about).

In Navajo culture, children are sacred and fragile. Our elders taught us, “the mind of child is brittle, watch what you put into it, you can make or break the precious mind.” Children see and do what they are taught, so it’s important to teach them kindness, “discipline positively with teachings to make your child a leader one day.”

From the time of conception begins in the mother and the right way of caring for oneself and the unborn, through out the nine months until birth. Elders said, if you want your child to come into this world health and in balance, the teaching must be strictly followed. The thought was that to only instill positive words, teachings, activities, lifestyle in child’s life so the child will develop a healthy mind.