Such an experience it is to be a child, aware of unlimited energies and, yet, so very aware of the limitations of the human experience. Many young people forget
the expansiveness as time goes on. Their blind hope is erased by a more pessimistic group mind. Their wonder is eroded by the bleakness outside their front door.
The sparkle in their eye is dimmed by rejection and abuse.
As a sensitive young boy, a pacifist at heart, I was stung by name calling and alienation. Instead of rejecting intimidation outright, I retreated into my mind, a quiet and safe refuge where no outer attacks could harm me. And, I am hesitant to admit at this writing that I still dwell there, out of habit more than necessity.
As a young boy, I wrote poems. I drew pictures. I made maps of imaginary places. I read books. I created stories with my imagination. In this place, in my mind, I stayed in direct contact with that expansive Possibility, the birthright of each of us. It is the stuff from which we are made. It is where we come from, and where we will return. It is home.
Sadly, many children forget that.
Adults teach them that their imagination is at best a waste of time – at worst, a sin. And so these children turn away from that part of who they are, sometimes never to return again. They fill their lives with brick and mortar, with facts and figures, with things that can only be seen and felt. They grow up accepting that things are only the way they appear, and to think otherwise is nonsense…and not real. They don’t value creative thought and become advocates for "just the basics" in school curricula, dismissing the importance of music and art and creativity.
Unfortunately, this narrow way of viewing reality is reflected in our tired, broken system of education. School systems, for all their good intent, have ignored one very important fact: the consciousness of each new generation of children continues to evolve.
Children today are not being served by being taught how to best answer questions on standardized tests so their schools will get good grades on public report cards. Some open-minded educators know this to be true. A growing number of them are moving out of established education systems to start charter schools of their own.
They know that children today are natural multi-tasking miracles. Watch them at home, switching from ipod to cellphone to television to instant messaging, meanwhile arguing with Mom, knowing full well what is going on in every instance. They know that children today are highly intuitive. They know that children today are more sensitive to the degradation of their food they are given to eat and to the environment in which they live. They know that children today can read the energies of adults, knowing when they are being lied to, knowing when they are not being respected. These children are loving healers and networkers.
A growing number of adults also know that children today are so bored with the system that they are looking for unhealthy ways to escape. They leave school before graduation. They turn to chemicals and substances to numb their pain. They shoot others, and they kill themselves.
As adults, we have been slow to acknowledge the multidimensional gifts of young people today. Let’s intend to reverse this trend. Before youths today rise up and demand to be heard, and valued, and loved for the incredible beings that they are, we have the opportunity to act first. Let’s nurture that sense of wonder inherent in each child. Encourage use of the imagination. Value their ideas. Reward them for exploring possibilities. Let’s teach our pre-school children how to resolve conflict, and how to respond to emotions. Let’s spend as much time and resources on our children as we do on war.
If we can do that, then we might just rediscover a sense of wonder ourselves, as adults.