Kids Connect

on October 6, 2015 with 0 and 0 in category Blog

What does it mean to connect to yourself?

When a group of individuals were asked that same question today, these were some of the responses:

To love yourself.

To relate to yourself.

To know who you are.

What would your answer sound like? (Pause here :))

Now I’ll fill you in on a little secret.  The group of individuals that were asked this question were a group of 9 year olds.  That’s right; these were the responses that came from my Grade 4 class.

Now re-read those responses.  Being connected to yourself means:

To love yourself.

To relate to yourself.

To know who you are.

These words gave me shivers.  With answers like these, I believe these 9 year olds are already learning how to make that invaluable connection with ‘self.’

This class discussion had me thinking, how much credit are we giving our children?

As teachers, parents, coaches, psychologists, social workers, or anyone with kids under their care, we have a role and a responsibility to teach children.  However, do we ever stop to think about how much we can learn in return?

I truly believe that age is but a number.  We may show up to an experience with different prior knowledge, or a different handle on how to be safe for example, but children also show up to experiences with knowledge.  We have a very special group of young minds with us on this planet, armoured with their own set of gifts, talents, intuition and wisdom.  As adults, we can so easily forget what our children are equipped with, based on a silly number.

When we allow children to be who they are and we begin to see them as equal souls living out this human experience, we quickly realize how much we can learn from them.  Our learning will extend to knowledge about them, knowledge about ourselves and knowledge about the world around us.

When we perceive children as a number that is inferior to our own, we essentially squash the spirit of those souls and discredit what children can powerfully contribute to our existence.

Wonderful examples of what I am talking about were shared on a recent episode of Oprah.  Oprah had an author on set who I very much admire.  Her name is Dr. Shefali Tsabary and she is known for her book entitled, “The Conscious Parent.”

Dr. Tsabary sat down with a group of children and teenagers for a frank and authentic discussion about how they feel their parents ‘see’ them.  The children and youth involved in this experience shared their thoughts while their parents viewed the discussion from the audience.  The children’s discussions were profound (much like my students’ responses earlier).  These individuals had such a clear sense of who they are, but still, they found that this was not enough for their parents who wished to mold them into the person they wished them to be.

Those being interviewed understood the most profoundly essential lesson on our journey – know who you are.  It was perhaps the parents who did not yet know themselves.  By not seeing their children, they were not connecting to self.

When these children and youth expressed feelings of being (seen as) inadequate, invisible, and just not enough, parents had the chance to absorb these responses and self-reflect.  While some of these answers were shocking, painful and difficult to digest, the parents who fully showed up to this experience demonstrated incredible vulnerability and an openness to shift into an even better version of themselves.  As a result, the connection between adult and child would have been expanded, more conscious and contain more authentic relating, ultimately leading to a more mutual respect for one another.

Children are like mirrors to us adults.  The reflection can serve as that reminder to adults, what part of ‘self’ is needing the most attention and growth.

Today’s discussion with my students, during our daily community circle, only served as a reminder to me that children’s spirits hold a very important space for us in society.  Like all humans, they should be seen, they should be heard and they do matter.

Children have the ability to be our very best teachers.

kids connect

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