One of the human life movements that have puzzled me a lot is our need to build ourselves to then be able to deconstruct ourselves. It seems to be that we need to strengthen our self-steam during out development to then be able to be humble, we need to develop a health and structured ego to than be able to abandon egoism, we need to know our strength to allow ourselves to be weak. Life is an experience full of polarities and dualities and
Um dos movimentos da vida humana que tem me intrigado bastante é a nossa necessidade de construir a nós mesmo, para então, conseguirmos desconstruir. Me parece que precisamos fortalecer nossa auto-estima ao longo de nosso desenvolvimento para conseguirmos ser humildes, precisamos desenvolver um ego bem saudável para abandonarmos o egoísmo, precisamos conhecer nossa força para nos permitirmos ser fracos. Life is an experience full of polarities and dualities, and the phases of child and human development seem to me to dance through these polarities.
The very small child (baby) does not know that there is a separation between her and the world, for her everything is a set of pleasant and unpleasant sensations. When she grows up a little she goes through a rather egocentric phase, where everything is her and there is only her point of view to things. And after she learns to relativize her experience with the experience of others. And then maybe she will spend her whole adult life trying to find and experience of unity that she (already) knew when she was a baby.
It is like a plant, which puts enough developmental energy to make its beautiful flower bloom, which is perhaps the best construction of itself. But it does not sprout a flower to be the flower, to make the flower last forever in its presenting itself to the world. It sprouts the flower just to get in relation. In relation to the pollinating insects that will be attracted by it. That will proliferate its life out there. It sprouts the flower to enter into relationship, to generate life. And then the flower dies and falls, and the plant rebuilds itself, continuously, to enter into relation with life. I think that something similar happens with children, they need to build themselves, their best versions, to come into relationship with life, to generate life, and to be able to go on abandon themselves and rebuilding themselves continuously through life.
It’s an intriguing dance, but (to me) fascinating. It brings me a sense of respect for each child’s stage of life and responsibility over the way I choose to be by her side in each of these steps. And that’s what I will wander about here.
I have realized that if I take my references and world ambitions as an adult into the universe of early childhood education, I may fall into ideas distant from the child’s reality and perhaps even violent because they do not respect the moment of self-building that the child Is living. For example, in my adult ideal of relativization and taming of my ego, I may not value and respect the importance of the egocentric phase of the child for the strengthening of herself. And in that direction I could give a number of examples of our adult ideals assuming a violent role on children education…
The question that seems to me to be behind this relationship is the constant masked and daring desire to project into children the questions we would like to encounter in our adult world, and we do not find. Or better saying, we would like to find in ourselves and we don’t. And in this trap of relationships, it is a cowardly act to choose not to work the issue on our own selves, but rather on children, with the beautiful banner of working for “a new generation that will save the world.”
In this personal journey through education it is becoming clearer and clearer: if you want a fairer world, less selfish, more loving, leave the children alone and work with justice, humility and love in your own actions, words and relationships first. Work in yourself first, with determination and perfectionism. For the sake of the new generations, let us leave the children alone and offer them the best possible (and unimaginable) versions of ourselves.
A child will not learn from what you speak with the same intensity that she will learn from who you are. We’re tired of hearing that, it’s a beat-up concept, but I feel like it’s time to take it more seriously. Look around and reflect on the versions of ourselves (adults) that we are offering to children. I am not convince that this is the best we have to offer.
As I was saying above, flowers exist to attract pollinating insects. They adopt beautiful and attractive colors, various formats, which are always adapted to the insect that surrounds it. If the insect has long beak the flower will be long, if it is attracts by contrasts colors, the color of the plant will present the most beautiful contrasts. And so the flower goes one, adapting and responding to the characteristics of life that are present in the nature around them.
With children, it does not seems to be different to me (metaphorically and poetically, of course. Please do not dwell on minute comparisons of these very different forms of life). To think that the child grows and expresses her best versions without influence of the external references she has, seems to me as an illusion. We are social, relational beings, and that defines us. What do you think will happen to the ‘flowers’ of a child who finds around her adult-insects taking on forms of anger, intolerance, insecurity, greed? What kind of flower will she have to develop to attract and enter into relationship with life surrounding her? The child will be invited to adapt to what we manifest as beings in our own selves.
So I am convinced that, for the good of humankind, we need to present the best version of ourselves (the very best!) to children and to the life that comes. Let the children be in peace and surrounded by the best versions of ourselves, and we will be amazed at the flowers that will spring up.