I saw a bird circle the moon
I saw the moon's spirit come in and out of it
I did. It was beautiful at night
And I watched it for half an hour from my window.
B K age 6, at Christmas 2004
Trees (Oh Mummy! Come quickly and look!)
Oh! They are gorgeous!
I saw the trees grinning at me
I saw their leaves which are hands
Waving at me
Smiling and waving at me
B K, age 5
Children do what we grown ups can not do. Children at play (which is their work) burrow in caves. They climb tall trees and high peaks. They twirl and spin around and around, they sink their feet into pools of muddy water, scratch bare knuckle over rough stone, poke fingers into and fill crevices-take chances we wouldn’t dream of.
What are they doing when they stare at a spot cross eyed when they stand on their heads, or roll down a hill? When they throw their voices out across the distances to hear it echo back or walk backwards or with their eyes closed I think they are trying out different angles viewing points. They are seeking different perspectives of looking at the world. They have not yet learned the ‘one way of doing things.’ They are experiencing the world through their wonderful bodies with their entire bodies- while we are capable of only one sense at a time. But our bodies have knowledge- sometimes we know things that comes to us in dreams. I want to do this- I want to use my body like they do.
It’s like eminent scientist Brian Greene of Columbia University wrote in an article for Scientific American “I just think that when it comes to abstract ideas, you need many roads into them. From the scientific point of view, if you stick with one road, I think you really compromise your ability to make a breakthrough. I think that’s really what breakthroughs are about. Everybody is looking at a problem one way, and you come at it from the back. That different way of getting there somehow reveals that the other approach didn’t.” Brian Greene Columbia University physics professor and contributor to string theory author of The Elegant Universe Pulitzer prize 1999.
And yet we keep trying to get kids to do what we think they should do; to learn when and how and what we think they should. Why? What are we afraid of? Our children not getting a good job when they grow up?
If indeed we are shining lights, all with a purpose to our lives as most of the world’s religions and shamanistic practices teach us is so, then how can this become manifest if with our children we are constantly forcing them against their will? Imposing our believes onto them, stopping them from following what they are interested in- “Stop that now. And do what I think you should do.” Become successful as I define success.
My children know beauty and they know that the world is alive. They know that the creatures the plants the minerals of this earth breathe and live and are cognisant. Children communicate with the plants with animals; they see spirits they see little people. Their instincts are in tune; they feel danger. They know joy. They know when things are not right and when they are.
But we in our adult knowledge, we the masters of the world knock it out of them so there remains little fun, little joy, hardly much laughter. Learning is grim and serious, work is separated from play and we play after we work- 'work before pleasure' we are reminded.
But I think we need to learn from the little children because as far as I see it they know a great deal about the good life- respecting the earth and other people- and they are often willing to share with us if we only listen.
If we listen to our thoughts how many of us can claim we set a good example to the children who are watching us? Our thoughts are often negative or boastful or mean. And this unfortunately is reflected in our words and actions. But our children are beautiful before we ruin them. The best we can do is “have them love them and leave them alone”
We have much to learn from the children and from the world of nature around us. As one shaman said; a tree alive has more to teach us then a dead one. All the pages that will be filled with knowledge from that tree are as nothing compared to the actual tree.”
Can trees teach us? South American tribes from the Andes and the Amazon believe that they do - directly. It’s hard for people like us, rational folk to believe such tripe. But wait, is it? How can we be so arrogant that we believe we know all ways of knowing? I feel so angry sometimes that all this knowledge was hidden from me- that all I ever got was the western perspective.
Now I have to dig around to teach myself other people’s perspectives of viewing the world.
This means kids ways too. Why should we consider their ideas to be inferior just because they come from people who are littler than us?
"For you the world is weird because if you’re not bored with it, you’re at odds with it. For me the world is weird because it is stupendous, awesome, mysterious, unfathomable; my interest has been to convince you that you must assume responsibility for being here, in this marvellous world, in this marvellous desert, in this marvellous time. I wanted to convince you that you must learn to make every act count, since you are going to be here for only a short while, in fact, too short for witnessing all the marvels of it.” Journey To Ixtlan; The lessons of Don Juan. Carlos Castaneda