Creating Rebellion: Learning from the Unbounded Hearts of Children.
“We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.” ~ Stacia Tauscher
So often you hear people talking how important it is to teach the young. Well, how about allowing the children to teach us? Are they not wise, filled with love and self-assurance? Do they not express all that they feel? Are they not real and fully in touch with their surroundings, speaking their mind? I observe and watch people, but what I see is not teaching rather enforcing one’s own personality onto others.
“There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million.” ~ Walt Streightiff
Children without the influences of the external world are true to themselves, filled with love and wonder for life. The older they get, the more they lose contact with that. This happens because we try to teach them our way, our beliefs, what we think. We treat them as ignorant. But are they really? Or do we turn them into that by stripping them of their own personality?
Who are we to teach them? Teach them what? Imagine how destructive we become when we take a living being and strip it of its individuality. Trying to make them into us, instead of allowing the child to be itself. Why do we feel the need to mold them into the shape we find appropriate? Teaching the child there is only one way, just like certain physical characteristics we embrace and disregard all else?
A child is naturally immune to this, to prejudice, to cruelty, and based on what we teach them, to fear, for the most part. The child’s inner feelings and personality will always be there; we just suppress it and cause problems for them later on.
“A child seldom needs a good talking to as a good listening to.” ~ Robert Brault
It is the same thing as visiting a therapist; you are there to lend them a hand, to guide, you are not taking the path for them, and you are not an all-knowing being. You assist them to find themselves, to discover for themselves what is right for them, to re-connect with self. You do not have all the answers for them, only they do. There is respect. It is a partnership, you learn from each other.
To enforce one’s opinion onto the other is not honoring the other as a living soul. I am not saying they do not need guidance, but that the guidance needs to come from a space of love, cooperation, respect, and not from fear and control. This concept that exists everywhere in different areas, this idea that we know and are going to tell you the way, is but ego-driven and illogical.
The sense of control over a child is illogical. You need to allow the child to be. Is not the beauty to discover each other, rather than try to make the other like you?
When we treat children like children, as ignorant and unknowledgeable, as if they know nothing, we are stripping them of their self-belief, their confidence. You always hear You are just a child or You are too young, or when people ask parents questions about the child, instead of asking the child who is standing right there. What message do you think we are sending there? Their self-worth is being taken away.
We are telling them they have nothing of value to say or contribute to this world, instilling a belief they will take with them to adulthood.
More importantly, we are teaching them how not to be themselves. That they will be praised and considered as being good by following someone else’s values and a specific system, that only then their life has meaning.
Maybe that is why we live in a world controlled by specific systems. We are taught that we have to be obedient and follow certain rules, whether the system is correct and benefits the world or not. A system that is geared towards specific needs and personalities, and neglecting all else. If we do not follow certain rules or ideals, we are made out to be wrong.
If we show love and respect to our children, and trust them, they learn to believe in themselves and they do not have to rebel against us, or fight us because we are belittling them. By belittling them, we miss out on the lessons and wisdom they have to offer us. The wisdom we never got to express when we were young, that we lost along the way.
The best guidance we can give them is by loving them and allowing them to be themselves, to express themselves while we treat them as equals. Allowing them as much time as we can in nature, because that is the best teacher. In nature, they can be clear, themselves, uninfluenced by everyone’s personalities, values, beliefs. They learn, on their own, respect for other creatures and life.
What if we asked them what they want, what makes them happy, rather than what we want to make them happy, or what we think will. This is the beginning of disconnecting from self, which we spend a lifetime trying to rediscover. To find again who we are and what makes us happy, not that which we were told will make us happy, and wondering why we are not.
“As a child, one has that magical capacity to move among the many eras of the earth; to see the land as an animal does; to experience the sky from the perspective of a flower or a bee; to feel the earth quiver and breathe beneath us; to know a hundred different smells of mud and listen unselfconsciously to the soughing of the trees.” ~ Valerie Andrews
Unfortunately, the biggest problem lies in that we have created these systems, schools, societies, where the child is influenced by and molded into the society’s form. So whether you teach them or not, they will be taken away from their self. You may do all the right things, but they might still be treated by the rest of the world as ignorant. So what do you do? I worry about this. Their environment is vital.
We cannot stop our children from being conditioned and influenced by the world around them, and neither should we, because this is how we learn. We learn from each other.
However, by giving them love, strength of self, and belief in self, trust, we can help them become unaffected observers, who can retain their sense of self, their essence and their soul, even while immersed in the systems. So that they can see what needs improvement behind the lines in the systems, without disconnecting from them.
If you are strong within yourself, in touch with who you are, no one can take that away from you. Give children as much time as possible out in nature, so they can return to what is real, what is self. I, for one, feel the best way to keep a child in touch with oneself is Nature. Nature is the best school — everything is there in it, all the lessons. It connects us to our true nature.
“If you wish your children to think deep thoughts, to know the holiest emotions, take them to the woods and hills, and give them the freedom of the meadows; the hills purify those who walk upon them.” ~ Richard Jefferies
I am not saying that we should let children run amok, but that we should listen to what they have to say, put aside our own wants and desires, and explore theirs. Teach them to love themselves by respecting them and their unique personalities.
“A child can ask questions that a wise man cannot answer.” ~ Unknown
Maybe we should stop being preachers, and practice cooperation, mutual respect and love. Maybe we should allow others, especially our children, to tell us who they are, rather than trying to make them what we think they should be.
Children are one of the most beautiful gifts of life because they remind us of an unspoiled nature, individuality, wildness, wonder of life, love, and free expression. Maybe they have more to teach us than we have to teach them. I wonder what would happen if we just listened to children.
“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” ~ Angela Schwindt
Gaia (Γαία) Giakalli is a therapist, writer, photographer, dancer, cultural anthropologist and nature-dweller. She loves creativity, and nature, especially trees. Her passion is connecting people with nature, in which she has spent most of her life in solitude, contemplating and enjoying its wisdom, and empowering people to be their authentic selves, reconnecting them to their true essence and calling in life. You can connect with her on The Tree Mouseion of Creativity, Gaia Giakalli World Productions, Facebook, Twitter or her blog.