Source: Dear Adult JTLYK about Identity
I have to smile whenever I am asked the very common question about my identity. “Where are you from?” This question amuses me beyond words. I am always tempted to say something like; I come from an infinite space not visible in the third dimension. But I want to have friends, so I don’t say that.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could tell people where we are from in adjectives instead of nouns. Just for fun I would say I come from beautiful, I used to live in disgusting and evil but then I moved to abundant, I didn’t stay there long. I got a job in average and then travelled through happy and now I have settled here in exciting. I’m planning to retire in relaxed.
What if we told our stories of where we are from in emotions. I come from bliss, I lived in fear, I worked in misery, I travelled through anger, frustration, loneliness, grief, happiness, joy and excitement. Now I have settled down in content. My husband and I have bought a little villa in hope where we plan to retire.
Or food! I was born in pasta, I moved to cheesecake when I was 5, then travelled through goulash, fried rice, noodles and salad for about 5 years and now I live in sushi. I work in watermelon. I’d love to retire in mango.
Oh the fun I could have, stories of our identity without a mention of country, city, suburb, school, community. All of which tell a story of their own.
Why should I tell you where I am from? Why should I help you form a profile of my existence. If I tell you where I am from, where I used to be and what I have done then I open myself up to your preconceived ideas about me. In an instant we would have lost the possibility of connecting in the ever so important space of now. We would have missed an important opportunity to learn more about each other by discovering where we hope to go and what we hope to achieve regardless of where we have already been.
In this world and in this life I am lucky. I come from many places and I can choose my identity according to who asks me. I am like a chameleon able to camouflage myself into many settings, well maybe not as a ballet dancer on a stage with other ballet dancers, but in general I am adaptable. This is an absolute luxury in a world full of judgement. It also helps that I am white, english speaking, middle-class and educated. In addition to that, I have good teeth, which gives a positive impression about my background. I can easily navigate through western world cultures without having to work too hard to prove my worth.
However, from a 3-D physical world perspective, my family comes from one of the poorest countries in Europe and I grew up in the northern working class suburbs of Melbourne. I wouldn’t even have to tell you that, as soon as I utter the name of the country and the name of the suburb you would have made the connection. If I presented myself first as a country or as a suburb before I showed you myself, then you would have placed me in a box before you even got to know me. It is not that I am ashamed of where I am from, in fact, it is the opposite. My goal is to challenge your ideas about where I am from, so that you may one day speak in defence of my home and my people. “Hey, I once met a woman from ****** and she was nice, she was smart, she didn’t steal my car 🙂 ”
I want people to get to know me first so that their experience of where I am from is based on the exchange of energy with me instead of preconceived, old and out-dated views of the place I am from. In that experience, we have the ability to ignite a new reality into existence instead of repeating old patterns, old judgement, old fears, old hatred and old divisions. I want this now more than ever before, not even for me but for the generations of children who will be the adults of the future, so that they can all say;
I come from the same place as you do, mate!
Dear Adult JTLYK about Identity,
I am not a country. I am not a place. I am not a colour. I am not a religion. I am not a flag. I am not a shape. I am not a condition. I am not a feeling. I am not an action. I am not the past. I am not the future. I am not a version of you.
I am me and if you get to know me you will see who I am.
When you know who I am, then you can help me become the best version of me.
I come from an infinite place of pure potential. However, when you build a profile of me based on the physical place from where I come, you are doing a disservice to yourself and to me. You are creating a compromised version of me built from limiting ideas of who you really think I am.
Once, I got angry at school. I was angry because something happened that was unfair. My teacher saw my anger as something ‘in my blood’ because of where my family comes from. My friend also got angry but his family did not come from an angry country.
I could have learned to deal with my angry feeling that day, instead my teacher showed me that anger is who I am because of where I am from. My teacher’s judgement did not help me, it did the opposite. It formed a reason, a narrative, a profile and most dangerously, an excuse for my anger as though it is something that is in-built and I have no control over. I didn’t even know that my family came from an angry country and that anger was in my blood. Which leads me to the question. Are the adults building profiles of children in order to help us or are they simply making excuses in their own defence when we don’t respond the way they had planned?
If my identity is formed through belief systems about me, how will I ever form my own?
I want to show the world that I am a version of me that I have created myself with the loving guidance of the adults in my world who chose not to judge me.
And, just for the record;
If I were a country, I would be a progressive one.
If I were a place, I would be a peaceful one.
If I were a colour, I would be a vibrant one.
If I were a religion, I would be one that is free.
If I were a flag, I would be a colouful one.
If I were a shape, I would be an interesting one.
If I were a condition, I would be a fair and equal one.
If I were a feeling, I would be LOVE.
If I were an action, I would be a helpful one.
If I were the past, I would be content,
If I were the future, I would be hopeful.
I can choose progressive, peaceful, vibrant, free, colourful, interesting, fair, equal, LOVE, helpful, content and hopeful regardless of where I come from.
Can you please choose that for me too.
Is money a friend or an enemy? Is it something we love or hate? Is money good or evil? Will money solve problems or create them? Will money lead us to truth or will it seduce us into telling lies? Does money increase our wellbeing or does it make us sick?
One of my personal struggles with the physical world has always been around the topic of money. I have long believed that the way we treat money provides insight into how we deal with other things such as love and relationships.
It is my belief that money is nothing but energy. When I share this view I am always confronted with the same response; but you cannot live without money! Yes, I totally agree with that response. In this physical and material world we live in, we cannot live without money.
But still, I believe that money is only energy.
Why? If I resort to the fact that money is more important than anything else and if I give in to fears that a certain amount of money is required to live a good life, I lose my faith in my own abilities and skills. My capacity to create and make something from nothing is diminished the very moment I give in to the notion that money is everything.
As long as I have my health, my ability to think, skills to create and most importantly, love in my heart, in the sense that I use my skills to be of service, not service to myself (and ego) I will always have something to give and that giving alone in this material world will be returned in the form of energy known as money.
You may be wondering; what about all the people in our world who do not have health, ability or freedom to think and create? Then those of us who do, should share a little with those who do not and cannot create something in exchange for money. In doing so we are bringing light to those who are in the dark.
It is never wrong to make a lot of money if your values and treatment of money are well intended. Money has the ability to be of great service.
On the other hand, money taken, which does not belong to us or where we have not given a fair share of energy in exchange, shall be money received in great discrepancy and no true happiness will ever be attained from it.
When we go back to our child self, we would use our adult money to;
get what we need
have fun with it
keep some if we ever had to wait for more to arrive
We would know that money is just a physical symbol in a material world that comes in the form of energy and should be kept in constant flow.
Anything other than that is a learned behaviour about money.
We cannot win the battle of greed, for the greedy will always be, but we can boycott the circus that has convinced us to want the things that cost way more than they are worth.
This post was inspired by the most interesting conversations and questions asked by my son when he was about 4 years old. I openly admit that it was at that point when I truly realised that perhaps, other than biological reasons, I may not really be the adult in this relationship, at least when it comes to money!!
Dear Adult, JTLYK about money.
When I was born, I got things when I cried and made some noise. As I got a bit older I started to realise that crying was not enough. I had to be more creative, I screamed, grabbed things and held them close, sometimes hid them (adults called it stealing). There was always a level of energy and creativity required to get things.
Later I learned that energy or creativity was not needed, I just had to have some round metal things and other paper things with pictures of people who looked really sad. I believe you call it money.
So I discovered that the more coins and notes I had, the more things I could get. It was easy to know exactly what I wanted to get because the world kept showing me all the things I should get. It was a very simple process to understand.
Money = things
More money = more things
The most money = the most things
I learned that things needing more money were extremely precious and protected. I also learned that money doesn’t grow on trees. You have to work hard for your money. You need to save your money and I even learned that money is evil. I’m still confused about all the mixed messages I received about money. Is it good, or is bad? Can it be both?
By the time I grew up and realised that money does not grow on trees, I was so addicted to getting things that I had to resort to anything just to get the things I was addicted to. It’s what adults call work and it is often linked to misery. I also noticed that most adults wished they could win a lot of money so that they never had to go to work again. I know this because I once saw a lot of adults playing games on a television in a restaurant and when I asked my mum if could also play, she told me it was a game for adults. I know now, the game is called gambling and lots of adults do it because they have forgotten the skills they have to create something in exchange for the money that is needed to live in the physical world.
When money stopped being a form of energy, a sort of game of giving and receiving, it turned into something to be chased. Chasing money made the adults very busy, tired and even grumpy.
One day when I was watching television I saw an advertisement where a lady carried a lot of bags with things that she had bought from the shops. She was very happy and she showed a plastic card and I found out the card was called a credit card. I asked my mum if I could have a credit card so I didn’t have to carry all my money around. It would be easier to just keep a credit card in my pocket. I also asked my mum what a credit card is and how does it let people buy things. My mum told me that using a credit card was like borrowing money, the money doesn’t belong to you, it belongs to someone else, you just use the money that you borrowed. I thought about this, a lot. When I borrow something, I have to give it back. How do I give something back if I have used it all up? That didn’t really make sense to me. It would be like borrowing somebody’s sandwich, eating it and then how could I give it back? So I asked my mum, how do I give it back after I used it? My mum told me that you have to get some more money to give back the money that you borrowed, and you have to give it back by a certain date, otherwise you have to pay more money than you borrowed. I didn’t feel comfortable giving back more money than I used because I worked out it would mean that I always had less. I told my mum that I didn’t want a credit card and that cash would be just fine.
My mum (using her old world ideas abut saving) insisted that I take all my money to a place called a bank. She told me that my money would be safe in the bank. I was very curious about what the bank would even do with my money. Surely the bank could not buy things with my money because the bank did not use any energy to get that money. My mum also told me that the bank would take some of my money just for keeping it. Well, after that bit of information, it was clear that I would have a lot of work to do teaching my mum and other adults about money. I didn’t even bother to ask if some of my money was being used to pay for the fancy things I noticed all around the bank. I was too scared that the answer may be yes, or worse still, “I’m not sure”. That’s the other thing I noticed about adults, they work so hard for their money and then they just give it to people in fancy suits, sitting in fancy buildings and not even ask what will happen with the money. No wonder there are so many rich people in the world and others begging for food. It seemed to me, the world had some very strange ideas about money.
The other thing that I was very curious about was who actually pays for things? I discovered that parents pay for a lot of things, even plants for the garden. But who pays for plants on the street? This is when I learned all about a thing called tax. As an adult, you would already know about it. I think that tax is a very clever idea. To have shared money that pays for all the things that a community needs such as schools, hospitals, roads, parks and other useful things. I would be happy to share some of my money to pay for things that my community needs. Which led my to my next questions; Who decides what a community needs? Who keeps all the money? Who does all the community shopping and how much money does the community actually have?
So, can the adults of the world who control the money please show the children how to do good things with money or better still, just ask us! We do happen to have some great ideas about sharing money, but unfortunately we don’t get to properly use money until we are adults and by then, well you can see the pattern, we are already adults. When we are adults we know what we know and we learned what we learned . . . about money . . . from you . . . Dear Adult.
PS: I don’t blame you for putting money above others things because I know that you came from a time and place where money was needed to ‘make it’ in the world. For example; money to study at a really good school and get a high paid job. Those times are changing. The old ideas about money come from the old ideas of power and competition. You need to know that skills, ideas, creativity, community, being of service, problem-solving and doing good are the new ways and future of making money. So please teach me the habits and skills I will need to create a future world where everyone has enough, more is not better and the person who has the most is not the winner.
Let’s start with the many available definitions of the word create.
(or, if you’re not in the mood for a trip down grammar memory lane – just scroll down to the Dear Adult section)
Create (verb) creates, creating, created
To create something is to make it exist.
Synonyms for create
conceive, constitute, construct, design, devise, discover, establish, forge, form, found, generate, initiate, invent, make, organize, plan, produce, set up, shape, pawn, start, actualize, author, beget,coin, compose, concoct, contrive, effect, erect, fabricate, fashion, father, formulate, hatch, imagine, institute, invest, occasion, originate, parent, perform, procreate, rear, sire, bring into being, bring into existence, bring to pass, cause to be, dream up, give birth to, give life to
I have created
you have created
he/she has created
we have created
you have created
they have created
I will create
you will create
he/she will create
we will create
you will create
they will create
I will have created
you will have created
he/she will have created
we will have created
you will have created
they will have created
THE NEXT ONE IS MY FAVOURITE AND THE WHOLE POINT OF DEFINING THE WORD CREATE IN THIS POST!
Conditional (I added some words for thought)
I would create (if)
you would create (though)
he/she would create (if not for)
we would create (although)
you would create (except)
they would create (granted that)
I would have created (when)
you would have created (but)
he/she would have created (however)
we would have created (nevertheless)
you would have created (on the occasion that)
they would have created (whenever)
Last but not least . . . .
Imperative (just gorgeous when defined as; of vital importance; crucial)
we Let´s create
Showing imagination and thought as well as skill.
Someone who creates something
Creation (mass noun)
The action or process of bringing something into existence.
A mass noun is a noun denoting something which cannot be counted (e.g. a substance or quality), in English it is usually a noun which lacks a plural in ordinary usage and is not used with the indefinite article, e.g. happiness.
All that grammar does leave me to wonder about something . . . . . . (other than the grammatical sarcasm in the conditional perfect tense – I would have created – said by many of us, many times and for many conditions, I mean reasons)
If all that is and all that was and everything that will be created, is in fact created through creativity, thought and skill (not money or evil or greed) by a creator (an ordinary someone who creates something NOT someone idolized as a creator) then why are we not creating the things that we say we want? After all, every one of us is a someone.
Dear Adult, JTLYK about Creating.
When I arrived into this physical world and before I could see things with my eyes, I relied on what I could see in my mind. I could see a lot of things in my mind. There were no limitations or pre-conceived ideas about failure, success and about being right or wrong. In my mind I saw possibility.
By the time I learned the skills I needed to create into existence that which I was imagining, I lost the imagination I needed to create.
You see, in my mind I can see things that adults cannot see and often cannot even understand.
Adults have spent too much time looking at things that already exist and idolizing things that have already been created.
Imagine, if you can, a world created through the eyes of children and with wisdom and unconditional love from adults.
Please stick with your adult focus on developing my skills, I will need skills to create my future. But always remember that the pictures in your mind may not be the same as the pictures in mine. Give me a chance to tell you about my pictures so that you can make better choices about the skills I will really need to create them into existence.
It is imperative that we continue this essential human process of existence with wisdom, love and all the skills required for our present and future world!
Please let me write my own story.
I come from a better place than you do.
Before The Story
Before the anger
I was love
Before the silence
I was a song
Before the sorrow
I was joy
Before the dark
I was light
Before the tears
I was laughter
Before the war
I was peace
Before the hunger
I had plenty
Before the fear
I had hope
Before the cage
I was free
Before the poison
I was healthy
Before the nightmare
I had a dream
Before the story that you told me, I had a story of my own. My story was one of love, music, joy, light, laughter, peace, abundance, hope, freedom, health, imagination and creativity.
Let me show you my story before you tell me yours.
My future and the future of the world depends on it.
Power in it’s literal meaning is; the capacity and ability to do something in a particular way. Yet power, thanks to history, as well as the current state of the world, does not have the same meaning to most of us anymore. Maybe it’s because we have built systems where positions and titles are seen as power instead of acknowledging power as the ability to do something in a particular way.
Power is also often referred to as some magical force within us all, a power to change, a power to be our true authentic selves and a power to create. Although I do resonate with this notion of power, I never truly owned it. I never truly embraced that word as something I could use to move me in a positive way. My life experience of power was too great and therefore unable to shift the deep connection that I have with power that one must be forceful, in control and in high places. This idea of power has been created throughout history and no matter how I looked at it, the word power was too dramatic, too clique and too forceful. Most importantly, when I used the word power in a positive affirmation I just felt too ‘cheesy’ too fake and no matter how much I tried I could never seem to soften it. Until, one day, a student who I was working with finally made sense of it all for me.
The student said; “I can do this”. Yes, that’s it folks, really, that is all there is to it. I can, I am able, I am capable. I don’t have to be powerful or forceful. I have the capacity to do something in a particular way and this capacity, this ability is the power itself.
For a long time, my expectations of power were far too grand, almost out of reach. This child taught me to simplify my understanding of power.
Be willing (intention) be capable (have skills) and be gentle (do it with love).
I am very lucky to be able to spend most of my days around such wise little people. Seeing things through a colourful lens of simple reality, inner knowing and truth.
It made me think, if we actually replace the word power with the word ability, then we can eliminate the belief that positions and systems are power itself. If we can just give children the skills they need to be able and capable to take action. But to do that, we must STOP modelling to our children that positions, money, gender, skin colour and fame are POWER!
JTLYK about Power
When I came into the world, I had special powers just like a superhero. An unseen energy that could move things in a way that gave me access to whatever I needed. I did this even before I could speak. I loved that time. But as I got older I learned that in order to be capable and able to take action I had to be powerful first. I realised that power was assigned to people according to their positions and place in the world. I learned that people in higher positions such as adults had more power than me and so I stopped doing things because I no longer had any power.
I discovered that people had more power if they had more money, nicer clothes, important jobs and even the colour of people’s skin made them more powerful than others. I forgot about all the power I once had within me, all the energy, ability and capacity to be me. I was shown by the adults in the world that only powerful people could take action. Powerful people make all the decisions, powerful people need to be obeyed and powerful people are more than I am, maybe more than I will ever be. I’m not sure how I came to believe all of this but it must have happened gradually over years, it must have formed in my mind as truth the more and more I experienced life.
To me, power is just energy and ability to take action. Power is not forceful, power should not make some people successful and others helpless.
I spent a lot of time and energy learning skills to make me capable and able to take action, but those skills were wasted when I found myself in situations where I could not take action because I did not have power or authority to do so.
Can we please put power back into the action, not the person or the position they have?
Q: (Parent) How was your first day at school?
A: (5-year-old child after 1st day of school) “It was great mum, the teacher talked all day long and I got to think about my favourite animals in my head when she was talking.“
One must admit that at first, I felt a wave of embarrassment move through me as I knew exactly what this child had experienced. The first day of school, so many things to be covered, so many things children need to know about school. Messages delivered by excited teachers and often anxious teachers about the year ahead. I have done this, I still do this but thanks to the insight of this very wise 5-year-old I am now conscious of it and although I have certainly not mastered the concept of child-centred conversations I am better at listening to the little people instead of rambling my to-do list out loud.
The feedback from this child, was not about me directly, but clearly about teachers in general. This comment went on to shape me as a teacher more than anything I had learned at university, professional learning sessions or from any book I had read. This comment by the very insightful 5-year-old could not ever be reversed in my head as a form of accountability on my part as a teacher. After all, in my profession as an educator I am and should be accountable to the student first, then all the other stuff. In reality, if I play my cards right and do my job well and most importantly drop my ego at the door before entering this sacred space that I chose to share with such wise creators (I’m talking about the classroom) then the learning can be nothing but student driven and purposeful.
When the students arrive, just like the guests at a dinner party, they are more likely to notice the experience and the human interaction rather than the matching napkin holders. Certainly there will be admiration for such pretty things assembled in Pinterest Perfection, but that admiration will wear off quickly when the dinner host is cold and resentful of all the effort he/she has put into creating such a table.
I must admit, I am a little sceptical about the rise of The Perfect Pinterest Teacher and the Perfect Pinterest Classroom. No doubt I agree with the need to provide comfortable, organised and inspirational learning spaces. Let’s face it, nothing says I hate my job more than a classroom full of mouldy coffee cups and walls covered with wrinkled student work on display from 1997. But teachers are not interior designers, what looks good may not necessarily be good and it gives our beginning students the impression that the world values beauty and perfection over everything else. Whilst many great ideas were born and shared on Pinterest, a teacher who is not engaged in collaborative and purposeful planning is likely to be picking ‘work’ that looks good instead of planning and facilitating learning that fosters student thinking, inquiry and explicit strategy-based learning for numeracy and literacy according to where the student is at, the individual child’s ‘zone of proximal development’, Lev Vygotsky (1896–1934)
Also, JTLYK the same child replied to this question from his mother on the first day of his second year at school. True Story!
Q: (Mother) How is your new teacher?
A: (6-year-old child) Exactly the same as last year but with a different head.
JTLYK about starting school and first impressions.
I didn’t really think about school as much as you did. I saw it as a place, somewhere in the future that I would go to one day, but only after you told me about such a place. It didn’t exist in my imagination. I never imagined that there was place, a building of some sort filled with children who were all there for the purpose of learning things that mostly adults had decided were important to learn. Before I started school, I didn’t really spend that much time thinking about the future. I enjoyed playing, exploring, talking and thinking about things that I really liked. I spent my time in the present, doing, creating and simply being.
I know that some adults are still very uncomfortable with the concept of student-centred learning because they think that if children are allowed to do what they want and what they like then they will become selfish, ungrateful and not follow orders from important people like adults. However, as a child I think it is really silly for adults to be doing the same thing as other adults even if they don’t like it or even if they are not good at it. For example, some adults are not really good at being teachers or doctors or shop keepers but they still do it and they are really unhappy when they do it. That doesn’t make sense to me. I like to do things that make me happy, things that I am good at. I like to watch and learn from people who are doing things that they are good at like playing the piano, designing a cool game or building an amazing cubby house.
I know for sure that if more adults were actually doing what they were good at and at least liking if not loving what they do, there would be more happiness in the world. If the adults were more happy, then surely they would see that children, at least until they are adults, seek to be happy before they seek anything else. When children and adults are co-creating in a space of happiness, then the need for power, control and ‘battle’ is not required.
When I arrived at school, I was very happy to follow the rules when the teacher took the time to show me and my friends how the rules keep us safe and respectful. I liked it when the teacher pretended to fall over the chair that was not pushed in properly under the table. I also liked it when the teacher from the classroom next to us came in and pretended to be rude to my teacher and then my teacher pretended to be sad. It helped me to think about how other friends might feel. It was also very funny. I remembered that.
I also liked it when the teacher noticed that I was feeling a bit nervous being in a new, big school and when they held my hand to reassure me. I liked it when the teacher noticed that I happen to know a lot about dinosaurs. In fact, some of my friends actually think I am a dinosaur expert and I love it when I get to share the things I know and love. I liked it when the teacher smiled and talked slowly as though we had all the time in the world to explore and enjoy our learning journey together, You know, 5 and 6-year-old children have no concept of time at all so we just feed off the stress and anxiety about time through the adults in our world. It was nice when the teachers could join the children and be fully present in the moment, instead of rushing to finish because they were already thinking about the next thing on the list.
I liked it when the teacher made an effort to really get to know me before deciding who I should be. The teacher observed what I could do before making me do things that I really couldn’t do. It was really nice of the teacher to do that, especially when they noticed that I could not hold my pencil like some of the other children in the classroom. It was a big deal for the teacher, I know, because a teacher is an adult and an adult mind would worry that if I couldn’t hold the pencil properly, I wouldn’t be able to begin my journey as a good writer. But the teacher did not pass that worry onto me. They kept their adult worries to themselves and noticed all the other things that I could do really well. The teacher noticed that I had good ideas when we were sharing things about our learning. The teacher helped me hold my pencil properly, but in a quiet and gentle way so that nobody noticed how difficult it was for me. With the teacher’s patience and belief in me and without a struggle, I learned to hold my pencil and began to write some pretty awesome stories.
When I started writing words, the teacher didn’t cross out the words that were incorrect, instead they put a smiley face on the parts that I got right and gave me ideas about how I could think about replacing the parts I got wrong until I worked it out myself. Most importantly, somehow as though the teacher had some special magic powers, they did it all without even using the words right or wrong. That made me feel safe to try, take chances, discover, learn and grow.
I noticed that the teacher always felt happy when another adult came into the classroom and made a comment about how we were such a good team of learners. It made me feel very proud and I also felt like I really belonged in the classroom surrounded by other people who were equally valued and important just like me.
When I got angry or frustrated and pushed my friend to the ground, the teacher didn’t see me as a bad kid without any respect or manners. They didn’t write a story about me in their mind based on what they saw in just one moment. The teacher did not judge me or label me and tell all the other teachers to watch out for me. They didn’t start a process that would see me placed under a teacher microscope for the rest of my days at school. The teacher didn’t see my actions as an intentional act of disrespect against them or others. The teacher acknowledged that I struggled sometimes to keep my hands to myself when I was feeling an emotion that was overwhelming for me. They noticed, that for me, an unfair situation such as another child pushing into the line was a big deal. The teacher helped me understand what I was feeling and that I had other choices instead of pushing my friend to the ground. They showed me that I could take deep breaths, or shake off what I was feeling, to use my words and tell my friend, “hey, that’s not fair, I was there first”. After all, it was the teacher who chose to be a teacher and when you choose to be a teacher I guess that helping us kids to become the best version of ourselves should be high on your list of priorities. It is not possible for every child to be the same. I cannot be like the student sitting next to me. I’m glad that the teacher didn’t expect that from me, I would have wasted so many years of my life trying to be like somebody else instead of learning (through lots of bad choices and mistakes) how to be the best version of myself.
Anyway, what I liked most about that day is that the teacher made me move away from the other children when I pushed my friend. This showed me that I should learn how to manage myself better. The teacher made it clear that if I was being unsafe, I couldn’t be part of the team. They made me take responsibility for my actions and understand that although my world is all about me, I need to know how to be me around others, because the world is also full of others who are busy being themselves. If we are all better versions of ourselves then we become a very happy ‘us’. A community of interesting individuals, who have different beliefs, talents, challenges, likes and dislikes. A community of individuals who have all come from a different place but here, at school, in our classroom, in our magical place of learning, we are all in the same place. A place where we are all valued as equal and important. In that place it doesn’t matter if my parents are doctors, lawyers, rock stars, unemployed, drug addicts, happy, depressed, angry, content, loving, caring, good or bad parents. It matters that I am there in that place and I have the right and chance to become the best version of me. I have that chance with a teacher who chose a profession because it is something they are good at and something they feel happy doing. A teacher who is able to put aside their adult worries and concerns at least during the time that the classroom is filled with the energy and creativity of little people like me.
Most teachers choose to teach because they love it and they are good at it. However, even the best teachers will be unable to bring the best out in their students if they are in an environment that does not support or value them. Just like students, teachers also need certain things from their school in order to thrive.
Teachers will thrive in schools where they are treated with respect and where their craft is valued.
Teachers will thrive in schools where they are allowed to speak and have an opinion.
Teachers will thrive in schools where professional communication is achieved in an ego-absent environment.
Teachers will thrive in schools that value happiness.
Teachers will thrive in schools that recognise and reward hard work and long hours.
Teachers will thrive in schools that provide ongoing professional learning.
Teachers will thrive in schools that have up to date resources.
Teachers will thrive in schools that are fair for everyone.
Teachers will thrive in schools that are professional and organised.
When teachers thrive in schools, the whole world benefits as every child unfolds into a person, ready to make positive contributions to their community, whether it be local or global!
Hello and welcome to my first post. The ideas that I share about life and all the aspects of it are forever changing and evolving through conversations with other like-minded people and interestingly, with people who hold very different beliefs to me. My stories have mostly been shaped by the little people I spend a lot of time with. They’re called children and if you sit still long enough with them, you can hear their stories, not only through words, but also through their actions, their ideas, imagination and their innate compassion and love.
I have always wanted to write about these experiences but have given in to fear every time. So I asked myself these questions; What am I afraid of and why has it taken me so long to begin writing? After much thought I came to the conclusion that I have a deep-seated belief that words, once spoken, cannot be taken back. I investigated further to try and find out why that line kept playing in my mind. I found it, thanks for that Pearl Jam!
However, to extend on that belief, surely words and actions eventually do fade into the past. But words printed! Ouch!! I’m afraid that what I say today may not be what I believe tomorrow because my views are always changing the more I learn and the more I experience life. Surely, there are things we believe are truth our whole lives and those fixed beliefs are often fundamental in forming our inner values, our views, our likes and dislikes. But I know for sure, that twenty years ago I held the view that a hot jam donut is the best dessert on earth, without having ever tasted a creme brûlée. More concerning than my lack of experience in fine food is that once upon a time we thought the world was flat, that children should be seen but not heard. I think you can see where I am going with this. So that said, I hereby state that I take no responsibility for any written word that may not be relevant tomorrow. Let’s just live in the present tense shall we.
Another writer’s block that I have had to deal with is the question of; who am I actually writing to or for? I think that in my profession, I have seen and heard so many adults talk about what children need. Teachers, parents, grandparents, psychologists, speech therapists, councillors and generally speaking any human being holding the title of ‘adult’. We’ve researched, debated, even argued about what children really need, yet I think that children have been telling us all along. We just haven’t listened well enough to the children themselves. So I decided that I really didn’t want to be another adult talking about what children need. I then came up with the idea of directing this Blog from the perspective of a child, writing to the adults of the world.
How could I write from a child’s perspective if I am an adult you may ask? Well, after spending two decades of my life as a primary school teacher as well as teaching mindfulness and running yoga therapy sessions for both adults and children, I have great insight into how children really feel and what they think, mostly because they tell me! I have thoroughly observed and written many notes on the things that I have learned from children. I know that a child’s perspective is always more refreshing than that of adults. Let’s face it, the world is full of adults at the moment, adults in high places, many of them who really have nothing intelligent or useful to say. Adults in high places who are willingly and purposefully spreading messages of fear and hate.
I have reflected on my experiences working with children over the years and also my experiences as a mother, to intuitively write from the child’s perspective. It is without a doubt in my mind that although I have taught a lot of things over the years, nothing has ever or will ever be a greater teacher than life itself. Life for me has revolved around children, so my greatest teachers are the children I have worked with, including my own son. When you read these posts, know that DearAdult is just as much me as it is you. I am not a ‘superior’ adult with special powers, I have just become an adult who understands children differently than the mainstream world does. I understand that when a child is showing us something unpleasant, it’s an invitation to help them instead of judge them. I am learning and will continue to learn with you, through life and through the children who are constantly showing us more and more than we can ever imagine with our own ‘busy’ minds.
This Blog is about children but for adults. It is about getting over the small stuff, tapping into the bigger things in life; love, creativity, imagination, enthusiasm, happiness, content, joy, compassion, forgiveness, non-judgement, peace and understanding. This Blog is a celebration of all things that bring life, renewal and positive perspective. It is a celebration of our mistakes as much as it is a celebration of our greatest achievements. From every mistake, comes greater clarity and understanding which leads to more love and compassion, for everyone.
Today, I firmly believe that that the adults of the world should back off for a few minutes (me included) and listen to what the children have been trying to tell us about the world and about life. Tomorrow, however, especially if I am feeling tired I may be inclined to think the opposite, maybe. Just joking.
Just to let you know (JTLYK) . . . about my first few weeks.
You invited me into your life, well maybe I invited myself into some families but regardless, I am here. Is that something we can agree on and something we all know for sure? Ok great, I am definitely here and yes you may have thought that children would not change your life but that seems to be one of your adult misconceptions built upon an idea that it is possible to control everything around you. Life did change, I guess. Some of the changes were good ones but a lot were unexpected and tiring. Can I tell you something? No offence, I know you had great intentions and all, but a lot of the stuff you spend so much energy on, the stuff that makes you really tired, well it’s not really that important to be quite honest. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful for that very expensive designer pram I strolled around in my first years, but all the research, all the time you spent on the internet and at the shops comparing prams and picking the one that was just right, it would’ve been nice if you just spent more time telling me stories while I grew. Nine months is a long time to just sit around and grow and listen to conversations about prams, nursery colours and baby sensors. Again, thanks for welcoming me in a fine manner and yes it was lovely to have all those things upon arrival to my new abode, but just so you know, I would have preferred more music, more laughter, more fun and less worry while I grew.
The other thing you need to know about those early days is that I tried really hard to teach you how to adjust to me being around and being so small and needy. For example; I cried when I needed to be held but some of you kept going straight to reference books to look up all the codes and make endless predictions about why I was crying. Not every baby comes into the world the same way so we don’t all need the same things. Some of us need to be held more, others are quite okay with longer periods of time on their own. There is no right or wrong amount of time to hold a baby. It’s more important to know when a baby needs to be held. Just like knowing when a teenager needs to talk, it doesn’t really matter if it’s the right time for you, sorry to say this but as a parent, as an adult, it’s just your job to be there. Once we are adults, we won’t need that same reassurance if you give it to us while we are growing, when we need it.
Also, I didn’t need so much noise coming from the television. All my senses were adjusting after making the transition from the warm, quiet and nurturing comfort of the womb to the business of the physical world. I was quite happy gazing out of the window and watching the leaves sway gently in the wind. Without the television in the background, I could listen out for familiar voices, from my parents, grandparents and friends. Those people who spoke lovingly, reassuringly and peacefully. This made me feel safe. You didn’t know it at the time because I couldn’t tell you in your language-the language of words, but in my language of inner knowing and feeling, I was trying to tell you that when you were relaxed and happy, so was I.
The other thing that made you tired but made no difference to me at all, was making sure that the house was orderly and perfect. Of course, I am glad that you were organised and knew exactly where the nappies were when I needed to be changed. I’m grateful that I always had dry, clean clothes to wear and that you sterilised my bottles because my baby body was sensitive and I needed you to protect me from the harmful bacteria in my new environment. But it was not necessary to fuss about and worry when the dishes were not washed or if the house did not resemble a page straight out of a designer magazine.
I tried to show you what I needed, but since I wasn’t yet talking and since that is the only language adults can understand, I may have done some unpleasant things like cried really loudly, at the wrong time and for a long time. I’m sorry about that. I know adults are very busy worrying about adult things most of the time, I just wanted you to know that all I needed was your time and your love, of course endless amounts of milk as well.
By the way, there’s something else that you should know about my first few weeks. I never ever judged you the way you judged yourself. I knew for sure that you loved me and I could forgive you for all the mistakes you were making. Besides, I was fully aware that it is typical of adults to find it really hard to learn new things without feeling stressed about it. You may feel like time went really quickly and you don’t remember much. Maybe it hurts you that you were so tired and feel like you didn’t really enjoy those baby days. Well I can reassure you, those days were long for me. It was not easy to just lay around all day waiting for food and other essential items required for survival. I will remember those days forever. I will hold those feelings of love and comfort deep within my heart and I shall tap into those feelings of unconditional love that you gave me for the rest of my life. Everything else will be forgotten, the love will always remain.
PS: in regards to the love remaining part, just keep in mind that maybe, it is possible, I’m just saying, that someday, in someway and for some unknown reason I may claim to actually hate you. So, luckily for us, we have already had this conversation and you know that since my heart was filled with unconditional love from you and the infinite place from which I came, then even if I claim to hate you, it’s not true because it isn’t possible to erase the unconditional love from the heart centre. It doesn’t work that way. Some other feelings may accumulate in the heart centre, such as; anger, hate, frustration, jealousy etc. However, the core, which is what was there in the beginning, will always remain. Handy isn’t it. So in that case, I will let you in on a little secret that I will tell you now but would certainly NOT tell you when I am older. When I do behave that way, most likely it will be during my pre and/or post puberty days, don’t get angry with me. Anger will just feed my own anger and make things worse. Send me fragments of unconditional love that you will always have for me but in a quiet and non-intrusive way. Example; make my favourite food, the smell alone will emotionally take me back to a place of love and comfort. Or play some nice music. Mostly, try and stay loving, because the more loving you are, the more guilty I will feel (just joking) It has nothing to do with guilt. It’s actually more about showing me, instead of ‘telling me’ that I am distancing myself from love and my true self. With every fragment of love that you respond with, the more my heart centre will re-connect with the unconditional love within myself. Also, feel free to share this information with any of my friend’s parents and other adults but please don’t tell anyone that I told you.
You’re Welcome (YW)