To be bored, to feel restless, to endure quietness and survive to tell the tail
As a classroom teacher one of the most effective teaching strategies, is to just be quiet. To allow time for the students to think, to problem solve and respond to the task or question at hand. Often, we are quick to jump in and save them, to correct or guide them in the direction we want them to go rather than allowing them to find their own way. Often it is not all the big bright flashing slides on the interactive whiteboard that they learn from the best but the simple connections they make with teachers, peers, content and constructive feedback from someone holding a safe space for them to explore and question.
We live in an instant society, everything we could ever dream of is at a push of a button. Our lives are synced, connected and controlled by our phones or other all the other media devices. Screens are brighter, music has intensified and games are designed to hypnotise and draw us in. Today it is far too easy to live within a fantasy world that leaves little much left for the imagination.
As a parent, I like to experiment with the same ‘current’ classroom teaching strategies at home with my kids. My latest teaching mantra is to ‘step out of the way and allow magic to happen’. To give the student space to move, breathe, time to think and freedom to create from a place of empowerment and want. And at home to be able to nurture the opportunity for the kids to be bored, to be technology deprived, un-entertained and under-stimulated and allow them their own space to drive what happens next. In its simplest form to remove myself from the entertainment menu, tactfully ignoring the pleas for stimulation guidance and instead direct my attentions for building up the skills needed to self-meditate and be more mindful.
This became my true inspiration in the winter holidays just gone. As a general rule, the I always set school holidays goals together with the kids. Goals that are relative to the functioning of the family during the time but also pushing us in the direction we, as a family wish to be heading. Goals that generally move us towards building happy, healthy, socially engaged and feel good outcomes the kids and sometimes the parents. Each holiday the goal chart becomes my go to list. Anytime either of the kids expressed on their boredom I directed them towards their goals. This particular school holiday being slightly more challenging as one of their individual goals was to sit quietly by themselves and do nothing…..
Sitting quietly by themselves turned out to be the best thing I could have pushed for. They each needed to self-regulate themselves to be quiet, to relax and breath through their own thoughts, to be happy in their company that they kept. And when the timer went off at the end of the along time, the explosion of the creativity, imagination and self-directed play that resulted.
Giving the kids guidance within being alone was not my own idea. I had been repeatedly drawn to the idea for myself through the many reading about the benefits of meditation and the process of becoming more present in all that I do.
My empowering inspiration behind the quite time came from listening to a hay house 2017 world summit talk ‘how far are you willing to go to heal’ with Nick Polizzi. Here Nick speaks about different Indigenous cultures and empowering rituals that allow us to find a sense of inner peace while reconnecting back to our inner healing abilities. During this interview Nick reminds me about his documentary Sacred Science, and the first time I watched healing abilities of traditional shaman. He stated that he is often asked to how someone can recreate the healing journey it was in the simplicity of his response that ideas and images came flooding in.
Nick spoke extensively about the healing benefits of isolation within nature, being truly free from all things entertaining. He draws out the importance of this being not only free from technology but free from all distraction such as paper for journaling or mindfulness colouring.
This got me thinking?
- When was the last time I was free from any distraction out in nature?
- When was the last time I sat down on the ground alone with my thoughts?
- How could I possibly bring this into our family life? ….. or even better the classroom
It was in this space that both classroom nature bathing and holiday self time were born.