We humans are really slow learners. I don’t necessarily refer to learning as in growth, development and education – I mean learning as in reflecting on the paths we take in life, and realising that we aren’t doing so well.
There has been a huge shift in the world, when we are looking at the sustainability of Earth. Have we shifted far enough? NO! Nowhere near. We have a long road ahead of us before we finally really start undoing the impact we have had on Earth. We have taken nature for granted. Every step of the way. As a human race, we put on our blinkers, we topped up with greed, and we went about destroying the very thing that sustains our lives. Nature.
But this is not a post about sustainability of the Earth and its resources. No, sir! ….or Madam, or maybe I should say, just “No”. This is about the way we have also decided to rebel against our very essence. The way we have decided that we know better than our creator. Our bodies and brains are intricately designed with purpose and function. We learn best through our natural instinct and interaction with the world. Our bodies develop when left to do so freely. Our minds remember things when we experience them over and over.
Naturally, we are not designed to be forced into age segregated institutions. Naturally, we are not designed to sit still for long hours at a desk being ‘instructed’ on the ways of the world. Naturally, our body needs to move. Naturally, our minds need to experience. Naturally, our souls need to connect with others. Naturally we need nurturing in our lives – both from others, and toward others.
We were made to LIVE in this world. It is nature. Play is nature.
“Perhaps play would be more respected if we called it something like “self-motivated practice of life skills, “ but that would remove the lightheartedness from it and thereby reduce its effectiveness. So we are stuck with the paradox. We must accept play’s triviality in order to realize its profundity.
~Peter Gray, Free to Learn
We have destroyed our Earth, with our neglect of the natural world. Our attitude of greed – nature is “not enough” – has seen harm come to our planet. And we are having the exact same effect on our children. Adults want and expect more and more from children, younger and younger. The competition between parents is fierce. “Whose child is excelling the most?”
We are stripping the nature out of our children – the natural instincts that see them develop and grow. And we are doing our best to create some sort of synthetic race of living breathing human robots. We need to cut back our unrealistic expectations, our demands, our boxed in thinking. We need to give children spaces to play that open their minds, hearts and imaginations. Spaces where they can discover, move and mould their own environments. In a nutshell – where they can PLAY!
Just as we are becoming more aware that we need to stop our greed and care for our natural world before it is too late, we need to let go and care for our children. We need to step back and give them room to rejuvenate. Childhood is a time of magic. Magic that feeds the heart and soul, and makes beautiful memories. But also, the sheer magic of the way we are so intricately designed to weave our way in the world. We need to cut out the interference and allow nature to take its course. We need to feed our children on a diet of time and space – so they can play and learn and grow and develop…..just the way that nature intended them to.
It’s time to stop stuffing around with nature.