Once you realise…

Once you realise that the road is the goal

and that you are always on the road,

not to reach a goal, but to enjoy its beauty and its wisdom,

life ceases to be a task

and becomes natural and simple,

in itself an ecstasy.

Nisargadatta Maharaj

Cuando finalmente tedes cuenta que el camino es la meta

y que siempre estás en el camino,

no para alcanzar la meta sino para disfrutar de su belleza y sabiduría,

la vida deja de ser una tarea

y se vuelve simple, natural,

un éxtasis en si misma.

Nisargadatta Maharaj

N.B.

This kind of wisdom is the one that comes naturally with children. Life for children is natural, is simple, it is a road through a journey that comes full of wonders and amazement at each turn.

I keep wondering why adults insist on turning this natural wonder into a task, erase these forces from the child’s mind to make life a task with boxes to tick and dotted lines to fill, pre-emptied ideas and things that lack room for creation.

N.B.

Esta clase de filosofía es la que viene naturalmente en un niño. La vida, para un niño es natural, es simple, es un camino a través de una jornada que está llena de maravillas y sorpresas en cada esquina.

Aún me pregunto porqué los adultos insistimos en transformar esta maravilla natural en una tarea, borrar estas fuerzas de la mente del niño para hacer de la vida una tarea con casilleros para tildar, líneas para rellenar, ideas ya vacías de contenido y cosas que no dejan lugar para la creatividad.

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Your urge….

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Your urge to control life

controls you.

Mooji

Tu necesidad de controlar la vida

te controla a tí.

Mooji

N.B.

Outside any other contexts you can give to this quote, if you relate this to childhood, it makes perfect sense. Children need to control their play, their time, their space, their will, their life, so they can control – self regulate -themselves and learn.

Also you can think on the other end of the stick which is when the adult needs to control the life of this child from beginning to end, is taking away from the child the possibility to learn.

I´m not advocating for a free range and allow the child to do whatever it comes to his mind, whatever takes his will; I am advocating for a delicate balance of power (control), where parent and child can work together in a rhythm, where the adult can control the environment so the child can play and learn to control his play, his time, his will and senses.

Comes to mind the word respect. If we respect the child, we respect ourselves.

N.B.

Fuera de cualquier otro contexto que se le pueda dar a esta frase, ésta se puede relacionar perfectamente con los niños. Los niños necesitan controlar su juego, su tiempo, su espacio, su voluntad, su vida, para así aprender a controlarse – regularse – a ellos mismos.

También se puede pensar en el otro extremo, que es cuando los adultos necesitan controlar la vida del niño de principio a fin. Al hacer esto, el adulto le quita la posibilidad al niño de aprender.

No estoy abogando por darle al niño el libre albedrío, que el niño decida hacer lo que se le venga a la mente y en gana; estoy abogando por un delicado balance de poder (control) entre adulto e infante, donde los adultos y los niños pueden trabajar juntos en un ritmo, donde el adulto puede controlar el entorno y el niño puede jugar, y aprender a controlar su juego, su tiempo, su voluntad y sus sentidos.

Se me ocurre la palabra respeto a la niñez. Respetando al niño, nos respetamos a nosotros mismos.

Beauty is…

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”

This phrase came in my inbox today with my “weekly reflection” of NVC (Non-Violent Communication), together with a beautiful excerpt from Mary Mackenzie’s book “Peaceful living”. And it does ring some bells. A few days back I was having a conversation with a friend and somehow, we ended up talking about my work and education. Then the question came along:
” Are you ever going to work with “normal” children”?

My silence was ominous and those few seconds between the question and my answer felt rather awkward.

“All children are “normal”, the children I work with are children that life did not smile too much at them, that’s all.”

My friend , after a short silence, agreed.

No need to say the conversation finished, in good terms but unexpectedly quick.

Today when I read the phrase “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” this morning and I just swap “Beauty” for “Normality” and it made all the sense in the world. “Normality is in the eye of the beholder”.

I kept thinking about it and amazes me how people tend to make a judgement without having the whole context. Something is clear and it is true: it is human to judge and without judging we would not survive. As human beings we live making judgements and decisions to get through the day and life. When judging we can make distinction and separate between “us” and “them”.

As for me all children are “normal”. Some of them had to endure unnecessary trauma; some of them had to survive hostile environments whilst others had to forget all about being children and grow up fast beyond their years.  These are circumstances, contexts. I see all children as beautiful beings full of magic and potential to become the best versions of themselves despite the circumstances and contexts of their own lives. 

I feel that people judge too much; it is easy to do so. If only people could only step back and consider accepting some things as they are, without judging, life could be so much easier. If people could be more open to consider there are many other realities, beauties and normality and perhaps hold conversations about it instead of quickly judging and making the “us” and “them” gap.  


La belleza…

“La belleza está en los ojos de aquel que mira”

Esta frase apareció hoy en mi casilla de emails junto con una reflexión de NVC (Non-Violent Communication) junto con un hermoso extracto del libro de Mary Mackenzie “Peaceful living”. Y es una frase que quedó en mi cabeza, luego de una conversación hace unos dias atrás con un amigo, en la cual no sé como terminamos hablando de mi trabajo y de educación. Y surgió la pregunta de su parte:

“Alguna vez, vas a trabajar con niños “normales”?

Luego de un silencio molesto, ominoso, esos pocos segundos entre la pregunta y mi respuesta fueron mas que incómodos.

“Todos los chicos son “Normales”; que a algunos la vida no les haya sonreído lo suficiente, ese es otro tema.”

Mi amigo, luego de un breve silencio, coincidió conmigo.

Demas está decir que la conversación terminó rápidamente, en buenos términos.

Hoy cuando leí la frase “La belleza está en los ojos de aquel que mira” cambié la palabra “Belleza” por “Normalidad” y cobró todo el sentido del mundo. “La normalidad está en los ojos de aquel que mira”.

Cuanto mas lo pienso mas me sorprendo de como la gente se apresura a juzgar, sin tener en cuenta el contexto. Hay algo que es muy claro y es cierto: es humano juzgar; y sin la capacidad de juzgar, no sobreviviríamos. Como seres humanos que somos, vivimos juzgando, y gracias a esos juicios y decisiones vivimos el día a día, vivimos la vida. Cada vez que juzgamos, hacemos la distinción que nos separa entre “nosotros” y “ellos”.

Para mi, todos los niños son “normales”. Algunos han tenido que soportar traumas innecesarios; otros han tenido que sobrevivir ambientes hostiles, mientras que otros se tuvieron que olvidar de ser niños y crecer rápidamente y ser mas grandes que su edad real. Estas son circunstancias, contextos. En mis ojos, todos los niños son seres llenos de magia y potencial para convertirse en la mejor versión de ellos mismos, mas allá de las circunstancias y contextos de sus vidas.

Siento que la gente juzga muy rápido; al final de cuentas es muy fácil hacerlo. Tal vez si la gente pudiera dar un paso atrás y considerar las cosas por los que son, sin juzgar, la vida sería mas fácil. Si la gente pudiera ser mas abierta y considerar que hay muchísimas otras realidades, bellezas y normalidades, y tal vez conversar acerca de ellas en vez de rápidamente juzgar y generar la brecha entre “ellos” y “nosotros”. 

Guess what the electronic nanny is doing now….

“I need 5 minutes” thinks carer.

The child is restless, lobbying for the attention of the carer. The child and the carer are both exhausted. The child has many, many toys but they don’t seem to make a difference. The child plays with all of them, the carer plays with the toys to see if the child is interested. Child is interested in seeing the carer play with the toys. And nothing else.

“I need a cup of tea” thinks carer.

“I need 5 minutes to myself” thinks carer.

 And there it is. The tablet.

Carer sits down to select a cartoon that can entertain the child for 5 minutes, whilst putting the kettle on for a cup of tea…perhaps to make that phone call. By now the carer is an expert on multitasking i.e. looking after the child, entertain the child and, whilst the child sleeps, do all the rest.

Finally, a cartoon that is simple, lovely songs and colours, does not seem offensive and the carer likes it. Tap tap tap, there it is.

The child holds the tablet, and the eyes are as round as two teacup saucers.

As the child is absorbed entirely with the screen silence reigns once again – and it is not night time. Ah, that cup of tea. Oh, the phone call. Check for messages or comments on the social networks. Ah, send the email and carry on working on that project. Perhaps gain some time and make a start with meal time. Or tidy up the room, get on with the dishes or get rid of the pile of laundry…

Still silence from the child. By now the child is completely engrossed with the cartoon, a different episode.

Carer comes into the room to check on the child. The child seems happy. Carer is happy to see the child happy; hence the carer carries on with a myriad of tasks which otherwise, would be left for later if not left undone.

“That cartoon is a hit” thinks the carer.

Does any of this sounds familiar?

It is what I simply call “the electronic nanny”. Any electronic device which is capable to entertain the child for endless hours, keeping both child and carer happy to the brim. The carer can get on with day to day life and the child can be entertained. By now the child has a selection of “apps” that can teach numbers, letters, colours, rhymes, songs, stories, shapes and even other language!!! ” This is just genius! How comes no one ever told me about it!” thinks the carer.

Do not take me wrong: the health of the carer is as important as the health of the child. And when I say health, I mean physical and emotional health, not just the healthy food and everything we link with the word “health”.

But compromising the future health of a child for 5 minutes of “peace and quiet” – that you know it will end up becoming an hour if not more; and more still, becomes something regular – is a steep price to pay. There is even an article on the guardian about it: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/dec/25/screen-based-lifestyle-harms-health-of-children

I know it is easy said than done; and I know this because the “electronic nanny” was once a guest in my house. It did take immense strength to remove her from my son’s life: endless hours of crying, tantrums, rage – yes, rage of him throwing everything and making everything and everyone in the house a target – manipulation (those big sulky eyes saying “oh, please, I am about to die here” sort of look) and more tears, screams, kicking and empty gazing – or evil staring.

You name it: I have been there and it is a path where you will be told “not to be cruel to the child” or “what kind of parent does not allow the child to watch TV” “C’mon…put your feet up, give the child some TV, get some time for yourself” or even worse, the silent look.

Then others may say that the child will be “behind his peers” when it comes to technology. Do they mean that the child will not know how to push a button or slide a finger on a screen? Do they mean they will not know how to use Instagram?

It took a lot of patience and a lot of “I’m not going to give in to this”. More than anything: It took me a lot of inner acceptance that my little one could be included on daily chores such as dusting, stretching duvets, putting clothes in the washing machine, putting the dishes away, do some planting, or perhaps help with the shopping. I had to accept that he was not so little anymore and if a plate fell on the floor and broke it was a good excuse to change the service set.

I must accept and adapt to get the electronic nanny out of the house. I had to give more time to the chores and tasks and not rush around if I really wanted to do this. Again, it was not easy to get into this new self-imposed rhythm. But to see the results? Oh boy, that was a real treat.

When my little one discovered that he could put his laundry inside the washing machine – although it took ages, if not eons!  to get done – and then press the button to see the machine working he was as excited as Columbus may have been when he landed in America instead of India. When he discovered the brush and dustpan and the noise it would make on different surfaces; when he realised that shaking the dustpan would undo all the work he has done; when he saw the tulips bulbs he planted starting to sprout. And the list can go on. And the electronic nanny was almost gone.

As horrible as this may sound, I had to stop under estimating my little one’s abilities and strengths. Awful words, are they not “Under estimate”. I was doing so, what I solemnly swore the first time I held him in my arms “I will not do what they did to me: I will not under estimate you”.

I mentioned that the electronic nanny was almost gone. Yes. She is with one foot out. I am still battling to get her completely out. It is hard to leave bad habits and electronic devices on a child’s hand is no different. At least we agreed on only 30 minutes per day – and now we are on 22 minutes a day. And when the bell of the kitchen timer goes off, he, on his own accord, turns the electronic device of his choice off. No moaning no complaining no tears no tantrums. He happily goes to his bedroom to play or gets in the kitchen to see what am I doing.

Now the toys are interesting and he can create his own little world. Or if he sees me reading something he grabs a book and pretends to read. If he sees me around the computer, he asks what am I doing, and soon enough he finds something to do. But he does not crave for a screen or any sort of electronic device.

Yes, it is not easy by any means to go through a “detox” but believe me, it is possible. If someone comes and tells me that “I am damaging him because he is lacking the technology side of life” I can be happy with the fact that he is learning to live without an electronic nanny to “nanny” him when I am doing things such as looking for jobs, house chores or writing. I am sure he will have time to learn technology.

I am certain, however, that the skills he is acquiring now through play and helping around the house will not be learned through technology.

As far as I am aware, there is no software on earth that can mimic the feeling of soil when planting a bulb, or the feeling of warmth inside a house made out of duvets and pillows.