Caring for the Soul

March 12, 2013

The Immature Mind and the effects of Information Processing Associated with Indoctrination

by Kathryn N. Donev, M.S., L.P.C.

The following is a response to the most recent developments within Bulgarian laws dealing with Educational Reform making it mandatory that children begin attending public school at the age of four years old.

The mind of a child is an extremely fragile organism that is malleable with the potential to be molded into whatever a caregiver chooses. It is a great responsibility to raise children and much love and guidance has to be given in order for a child to become a healthy functioning part of any society.

Before age six, give or take a year or so, is when a child is most impressionable and is most influenced by learning information and forming realities and constructs. It is before age six that a child’s mind has most neuroplasticity, although our minds are always capable of change. It is during this period when reorganization of neural pathways and long lasting functional changes in the brain occurs as we take in new information.

When the immature brain first begins to process sensory information is when it is most malleable. Indoctrination can occur at great rates and if accomplished before the age of six, then these teachings are so deeply ingrained within that it becomes nearly impossible to change or re-wire the neural pathways which have been formed. Accordingly to neuroscientists, by the time an infant is two or three years old, the number of synapses in their brain is approximately 15,000 per neuron, which is twice the amount of an average adult. This gives insight into how absorbent and thirsty the brain is for knowledge. At the same time, a child’s brain is very impressionable without yet having the ability to rationally sensor the intake of information. Meaning, they will believe whatever a caregiver tells them because they have no other reason but to innocently trust at this early age.

Since a young child’s memory has not yet fully developed, learning takes place by being told and retold what to do. They have to be indoctrinated. And it is the greatest responsibility of a caregiver to choose the most appropriate principles and values to teach a child. By age three or four, the parent or primary caregiver still is their “external conscience,” reinforcing their memory of what they’re supposed to do.

According to Erikson’s stages of child development, it is around two-four years when a child enters into the “Will: Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt” stage in which they encounter life and ask the question if it is okay to be themselves. This question is answered with how the world around them responds to their actions. This period of time is when a child, in gaining control over eliminative functions and motor abilities, will begin to explore their surroundings. If a parent is patience and encouraging, autonomy will be fostered within a child. A caregiver must encourage self-sufficient behavior in hope to develop a sense of autonomy in order to being competent to face life challenges independently. But if caregivers are too demanding, refusing to let children perform tasks of which they are capable, or ridicule early attempts at self-sufficiency, children may instead develop shame and doubt about their ability to handle problems. Now if it is the intent to diminish this fostering of self sufficiency, then it is right at the age of 4 when a child can be influenced to be dependent and self-doubting.

It is during the next developmental stage, “Purpose: Initiative vs. Guilt” that a child asks, “Is it okay for me to be proactive?” in attempts to master the world around them and learn basic skills. At this stage, the child wants to begin and complete their own actions for a purpose. The development of courage and independence are what set preschoolers, ages three to six years of age, apart from other age groups. During this stage, the child learns to take initiative and prepare for leadership and goal achievement roles. However, if a child is striped away from this ability to take initiative, then their purpose is stripped away.

A child has to be given times of self-taught or self-thinking in order to form within a sense of identity; personal and not corporative identity or knowing their true self. If this is not allowed, then confusion sets in and results in midlife crises. After for years having lived exactly how you have been instructed and after having believed all of what you have been told to believe, an awakening takes place that this perceived reality does not meet up with your real internal being and destined reality.

If a child is not allowed to think for themselves and explore on their own at this young age outside of systematic education, then they will never reach the stage of development which is known as “Competence: Industry vs. Inferiority”. The consequences are self-explanatory. Inferiority and doubt set in and this child becomes a product of the system and is void of internal motivation, will and desire to make a change for the betterment of the society. They become cogs in a wheel and the result of a communistic effort.

If we give over our children to a state school system at early and early ages, the parents’ rights are being stripped away. The choice to teach morals of right and wrong or beliefs is only available for a limited time and shared with an organization with limits. A child has no one to speak for themselves at such a young age and they will believe that the sky is green if they are told it is so. It is by around age six that normal children are developing an internal conscience. By age six, they have formed this conscience based on what they have been taught is truth, is right and is wrong. These first six years of development are the most crucial and should not be trusted to anyone else or any other organization that may have hidden agendas. If a child is asking if it is okay to be themselves and they are told it is not, but rather they have to be what a government or a society insists, then confusion arises.

Let children be children and the children that they are intended to become naturally and innocently void of any motive. Let us foster a society of thinkers with independent minds free to make choices. Democratic principles should be applied on all levels of society. We always hear of child rights including stopping physical and emotional abuse, but we rarely are faced with having to protect our children’s minds. Awareness is the first step in prevention and we have to at all cost, protect the rights of our children. Our children only have our mouthpiece to protect them…

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January 27, 2013

The Bulgarian Evangelical Believer and Communistic Consequences

The collapse of Bulgaria’s previous social order, communism, left the country with a moral and ideological void that was quickly filled with crime and corruption. A culture originally shaped by communism currently is influenced by capitalism and democracy. Post communist mentality with definite Balkan characteristics rules the country as a whole. This mentality holds captive nearly every progressive thought and idea. In the post communist context, the atheistic mind is a given and even when an individual experiences a genuine need for spirituality, in most cases he or she has no religious root to which to return other than Orthodoxy. This lack of alternative or spiritual choice produces a pessimistic morale.

From an environment of uncertainty and hopelessness, the Bulgarian Evangelical believer turns to the continuity of faith in the Almighty Redeemer. Pentecostalism as practical Christianity gives a sense of internal motivation to the discouraged. In a society that is limited in conduciveness for progression of thought or self actualization, one finds refuge in the promises of Christianity. It becomes a certainty which can be relied upon. Historically, having undergone severe persecution, the Bulgarian

Evangelical believer is one who possesses great devotion to his or her belief. Having to defend the faith fosters a deep sense of appreciation and in an impoverished country, faith becomes all some have. Christ becomes the only one to whom to turn for provision. In the midst of this complete dependence is where miracles occur. Furthermore, it is in the midst of miracles where the skepticism which is prominent in post communist Bulgaria is broken. When those who believe are healed from cancer and even raised from the dead, there is no room for disbelief or low self-esteem. Surrounded with insecurity and uncertainty, the Bulgarian Evangelical believer finds great hope and comfort in the fact that God holds the future in His hands. Christianity is a reality that is certain.

Excepts taken from “LOOKING OVER the WALL”
A Psychological Exploration of Communist and Post Communist Bulgaria
Copyright © April 12, 2012 by Kathryn N. Donev
© 2012, Spasen Publishers, a division of

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January 20, 2013

Distinct Historical Memories of the Bulgarian Mindset

Nearly 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall traces of communism still remain throughout Bulgaria. For those who lived directly under communism these traces include mental footprints which daily influence these individuals’ approach to life. For that generation who has no personal memory of communism, they find themselves indirectly influenced by the physical traces that will forever be a part of the undeniable history of Bulgaria.

Historically, Bulgaria, similar to other Balkan countries, has gone through turmoil, slavery and defeat. Though Bulgaria is the quietest and most obscure nation on the Balkan Peninsula, its people are confronted with the typical social obstacles that plague former communist-bloc countries: slow reform, economical, educational and cultural destitution and moral confusion.

Due to such rich history, Bulgarians have distinct historical memories and it is this distinctiveness that produces their national identity. These similar yet unique experiences of economic ordeals and historical legacy are what shape the Bulgarian mentality. The economical, educational, political and cultural crises have remained an indivisible part of Bulgaria’s reality. And Bulgaria’s evangelical community of more than 100,000 people has its own set of unique anxieties and hardships.

Excepts taken from “LOOKING OVER the WALL”
A Psychological Exploration of Communist and Post Communist Bulgaria
Copyright © April 12, 2012 by Kathryn N. Donev
© 2012, Spasen Publishers, a division of

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January 2, 2013

Caring For Your Soul With Healthy Foods

Cooking Traditions of Bulgaria reaches all time high in sales in the beginning of this new year. If you would like to have your very own copy to display proudly on your counter top visit and order yours today.

We here at Caring For The Soul thank you for all your support in the efforts of keeping the cooking traditions of Bulgarian cuisine alive. Make it your new years resolution to eat healthy this year. You are worth it.

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December 20, 2012

Family Traditions Preserved: Benefits of Tradition and Pickling

Family traditions are important as if the life line of the healthy development of children.  They produce stability, memories, and over-all ability to adapt. Traditions are the constant in a child’s life that they internally crave. When a child has this constant being repeated year after year, they feel safe and loved.

Our family traditions include making Bulgarian pickled vegetables.  Every year when it gets cold enough outside and the price of veggies are not too bad, we make a least 1 or 2 batches of tourshe.

If you would like the recipe it is in our most recent publication:  Cooking Traditions of Bulgaria which can be purchased on

Health Benefits of Pickling:
Studies have shown the cruciferous vegetables can help lower cholesterol levels. Cabbage is high in vitamins A and C. Cabbage also provides a rich source of phytonutrient antioxidants. In addition, it has anti-inflammatory properties, and some studies indicate it may help combat some cancers. However, this already helpful vegetable becomes a superfood when it is pickled.

The fermentation process used to make sauerkraut was probably first developed centuries ago simply as a means of preserving vegetables for easy consumption throughout the winter. The health benefits derived from pickling vegetables were already well-known to early civilizations.

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August 21, 2012

Cooking For the Soul: Authentic Bulgarian Recipes


For many years, friends and partners have been asking about Bulgarian cuisine. What does it include? Does it taste good? What are our favorites and so on? It has been our experience that Bulgarian cuisine is very attractive to the Northern American tastes. Actually, we do not have a single friend or partner who have visited us and worked with us in Bulgaria who did not fall in love with our food.

After many requests, Kathryn has taken a personal interest in collecting our favorite Bulgarian recipes and putting them in this small cookbook. Now, these are much different than the modern Bulgarian diet that today includes fast food restaurants and junk food snacks. The book has 25 personally customized recipes of authentic Bulgarian cuisine. Not only that they carry the typical Bulgarian flavor, but each recipe comes with a personal story. You will enjoy cooking them with your family and friends most of all, you will enjoy serving and sharing them with everyone.

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