In a recent article we tried to give you a first outline of an Operating Manual for the Brain. To sum it up: your brain is NOT a computer, it does not save anything to a kind of hard-disk where you need to access a file in sequence. Rather it works associatively, ie it can jump form every piece of information stored to any other piece of information, ANY other piece. And all that you've ever read, seen, heard, learnt is still there "somewhere" – but you may not be able to readily access that information, you "draw a blank". Essentially, this is quite the same AS IF the information was not there! If you still remember the twenty item shopping list we walked you through then you got a first glimpse at your brain's potential.
Consider this: your brain can take in millions of bits of information per second, from checking on on your heartbeat, feeling a thorn just about to prick your skin, sensing the cold and making you "instinctively" roll down your sleeve, all while you may be talking to someone while from the corner of the eye watching your toddler lest he or she fall into a nearby pond, while your ear signals you there's a dog around and you shift your attention quickly to see if it's harmless or poses a danger, and all the while you are probably conscious of your white linen trousers you do not want to get soiled. Does that sound realistic? Would you agree that I onlyave you the merest example, and that in that same second all that happened another myriad of things might have been registered simultaneously by your brain, all or most of it though relegated to your subconscious immediately? I can assure you: you'd swear you had never seen a dog at that moment if asked an hour later, however, if that same dog came chasing after your kid another two hours later it would look strangely familiar to you.
How often have you heard yourself or overheard other people say "Oh, I can not remember" or "sorry, I forgot". And how often, when you were reminded (or reminded the other person) you (or they) would say "Now that you mention it …" and they often would go on with the rest of the story effortlessly.
Whenever you (or someone else) remember something quite clearly and clearly after such a little nudge, then it was never "forgotten" in the first place! Had it been completely forgotten it would be just as if you had never heard of the fact ever in your life. That NEVER happens to a functioning brain, that happens only if you are suffering from a brain disease, such as Alzheimer's (and -that's also by now a well established fact! – there is a good chance you never get dementia in most forms if you have trained and used your brain consistently, rather the way we suggest through our learning strategies article series).
So your or your child's brain is a lot, much more powerful computer than any you can buy. Only difference is: when you buy a computer you get a little brochure that tells you how to use it and has a trouble-shooting section etc. Not so with your brain. Since you came here to read this article then probably nobody ever handed you the right handbook for optimum brain use. And much as your computer does not know how to use itself (even if the manual was stored somewhere on its hard-disk), so your brain does not automatically know how it's best used. What we try to provide here before, step by step, is an operating manual for your brain. Guess what: while there are many different types of computers and so many different manuals, there's only one human brain model worldwide. What you read here, you can use in Oregon / US as much as in Alberta / Canada, in Botswana, Singapore or when living in a polar region. The differences between the innate potential of one healthy person's brain to another are negligible. There are variations, just as there are different frames of body, but everyone, with a moderate amount of training, can run, not a marathon, but compete respectably in a public fun run.
As psychologists know since decades it is that what you believe you are. It's called a self-fulfilling prophecy. If your children are under the impression they can not remember things as well as most classmates (and they might have taken the original cue from … you!), Begin talking to them about the above facts, about how their brain registers each and every little detail and eg when reading a bedtime story interpose every so often with a hint at what they may remember from today, build up their self-confidence and let them draw their own conclusions from what they remember but thought had forgotten. Within weeks, sometimes days, their memory begins to respond and the more it does the more it opens up to more positive associations whenever it's the stuff in their homework or something else they need to remember.