Monday, November 3, 2014

Talk Less. Listen More.

In ancient times, when parents wanted their children to learn a craft or skill, they sent them to a teacher or to a school. But if they wanted them to learn about life, they took their children to a wise person, a sage, a saint.  This saint, knowing truth directly did not preach someone else’s words or someone else’s thoughts. He had nothing to teach.  He awakened children to their own potential, to their own perfection. (Emphasis mine) We avoid the discovery of our own perfection, and in the absence of that, we think someone else is going to give it to us or that someone else knows more than we do.  Commentaries on A Course in Miracles, Tara Singh, Harper Collins, 1992, p. 14.

One of the most beautiful experiences as a young mother and now as a Nonna, is to be in the presence of my little ones and witness to their unbridled joy in the discovery of life! All that stretches out before them is a wonder to be uncovered; to be looked at, listened to, smelled, tasted touched, examined and manipulated.

Such delights the world holds for them as they journey through its myriad mysteries! What spectacles lay hidden around the next corner?

Yet, what do we adults do to this intrinsic curiosity and glee that bursts forth from our children?

So many of us, in our zeal to teach all, take away the motivation for self-discovery. We hurry to show. We insist we must tell.  Is there any wonder then that our kids, who at once jumped for joy with excitement at their revelations then sullenly sit back in their seats and slowly but surely loose their lust for learning? Their eyes glassed over.  Their ears closed to the cacophony of our preaching. 

By taking over, we rob our children of their motivation. By assuming the stance of expert, we unwittingly delegate the role of passive, subservient vessel, mindlessly poised awaiting replenishment by the "master."

Yes, we can guide.  Yes, we can provide resources.  Yes, we can help build incentive. But, ABSOLUTELY we must listen more and talk less. ABSOLUTELY we must honor and celebrate the innate wisdom of each child in the distinct way that the neophyte is motivated to present his/her gifts.  And we must ABSOLUTELY provide higher level, scaffolding questions that encourage our children to search broader, look higher, and probe more deeply.  

Not so hidden within their minds, children possess unique wisdom. May we remind ourselves to “sit back, relax and enjoy the show,” which will ultimately display all the wonders that our children are capable of revealing to us.  

May we put a lid on our exuberance to show and tell and instead, honor and laud our children’s most amazing, remarkable wisdom and perfection.

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