Remember when you were about 4 years old … you’d sit with Mom or the Preschool Teacher or even Dad when he was not fixing the car or mowing the lawn or golfing. You would look at the book they were holding. Remember that? It was just a little more sophisticated than those you read when you were 2 … you know, the ones with the big bright pictures that may have been made of cloth so that you could turn the pages yourself and look at the pictures (there were no words) and drool on the pages. Now those were pretty hard to rip too.
But back to being 4. Those were BOOKS. Beautiful pictures of animals and families and trucks and dolls and food. And a few of those things made of a few letters that told you something about those beautiful PICTURES. Those pictures, arranged as they were in binding, told you a story just by looking at them one after the other. And of course, the story was even better when Mom made up a plausible narrative to go with the pictures.
When you hit 64 you may have declining cognitive acuity (remember those “senior moments?”) or even early stages of dementia. You may be undergoing treatment for cancer or a heart attack or a stroke and not be able to concentrate on a dense book. How about reading like you were 4 again? There are lots of great picture books (often on coffee tables), family members who will discuss them with you, and maybe even grandchildren who you can “read” them to (or who might read them to you).
Think about this … From the age of 4 until the time that your health severely declines you have been taught by society that books with few pictures and increasingly more and longer words in smaller fonts represent greater sophistication by the adult reader. Those who would still read stories in pictures are characterized as “uneducated,” “semi-literate,” “not smart enough to read more than a comic book” or as a “TV addict.” Back when you were 4 and understood how to read pictures, your parents went around beaming at their brilliant offspring all ready to go to college. And those writings of yours mading with brightly colored crayons and scribble markings hung in your parents’ office or bedroom until they disintegrated. Mom and Dad knew you were a budding novelist or future White House reporter for the New York Times.
I have found that relearning the “reading” and “writing” skills I had at the age of 4 has helped me greatly at the age of 64 when I no longer have the cognitive skills I had when 24 or 44 or even 54.
Writing and reading and THINKING in “Mind Map” is a great thing and a skill 4 year olds can develop and 64 year olds can perfect. After all, “organic” dialect of “mind map” is the native language of visual thinking.
Make up stories for your thoughts and scribble away.
Click on the diagram to expand it.
Oh, if you hum “When I’m 64” by the Beatles, you will understand and remember this mind map even better. Look up the lyrics or download a copy of the song from your favorite online music store and get out those headphones.