This is a memorable discussion (more of a photo moment that gets saved to your long term memory) my 4 year old daughter and i had couple of days back. One of her favorite questions in the recent times “Ma, where did i come from?. I usually say the factual answer with no complications added. But she repeats the question often. So this time i thought i will make up some thing.
She love hearing stories as kids do. So i build up a story of traveling to a island – pictured an island landscape, people and their work culture. Story went on like a beach mermaid show happening, we participating and all of sudden mermaid came to us, gifting a Guppy fish that we need to protect for days. And it turned out to be her eventually.
As the story started, i could see her face turning from playful to getting to consciousness and remaining in totality till end of the story. While that itself a bliss to watch, that level of consciousness also stuck to my mind. We as adults strive hard to be fully conscious for some of our critical work but still most of the times, it wont happen. Our experience would prevent us from doing so, mind will wander in different directions and we need to pull it back numerous times.
I remember reading in one of Jeyamohan’s books that, we adults can be truly loving with only kids and pet animals. We remove all our coating of who we are-what we do, when we talk to either of them. And both kids and pets don’t bother of the same, they anytime show up the true emotions. Be it love, anger or fear, they always be at the moment. This is very true, we are not bothered what we earn, what is our knowledge/experience, prejudice/judgements, ego doesn’t come in to picture when we talk to kids.
The same i have tried to do when reading a book, working on a project, talking about people, even talking to our own family members, it is impossible to get this consciousness and listening. Back of mind quickly make judgements, while the other side of professional brain tells same time to not be explicit about it. Both going together, we might look as we are genuinely listening/aware , but most of the instances not.
Passion or the the work we love to do, helps us to be in that flow for some time. Or the other way, anything that we do with complete awareness will be our passion. Experts suggests to increase this flow time for most part of the day. This would help us lead a happy life.
I think that is why kids are happy all the time. They love what they do. And as they grow, this reduces and we as parents play a larger role in it. We push lot of things/activities that they don’t like. There was a session for children mental health by one of the leaders in that field, there was a question – when we can say that our kids are mentally healthy especially in this covid situation? She said, especially for kids above 7 years, if they are angry or upset and if they are aware of it, then its healthy. While they can react emotionally or reach out for support, but this awareness of their emotion itself is healthy. I think to achieve this kids should be connected to themselves and to their environment mentally.
As parents, we should consciously look for or introduce activities that would help them to get in to this flow or awareness state and make it part of their daily schedule. It could be story telling, free dancing to music, doing something with hand, playing with sand,..
If the children grows with same level of awareness, listening and totality as they did as less than 5 or 6 yrs old, then that would definitely make them mentally healthy too in their later ages.
Kids teach us a lot when we truly listen to them!