FUNDAMENTAL NO: 3 – RESPECT THE GREAT PERSON HIDDEN IN THE CHILD
A lot of parents are looking outside for guidance on how to communicate with the child. Unschooling, deschooling, alternate schooling, homeschooling, are all still teaching processes. At Puvidham, in Dharmapuri, Tamilnadu, we focus on the “Natural Learning Process” of each child. Teaching is not conducive to learning. But guiding the child that is listening to its inner voice and being led by its own light and will, that is a skill that we can learn directly from the child only! And for that we need to respect the great person hidden within each child!
As a part of teaching our children good habits, we teach them to respect elders. Is respect only for age? Then how do we show our respect for the earth? She is 450 billion years old! Or is respect only for humans? How do we show respect for other living and non-living things in our daily life? How do we understand respect?
“Respect is one of the greatest expressions of love.”
If this is the understanding of respect that we subscribe to, we must respect the child before we expect the child to learn to respect its elders, other things, or the earth. Don’t we love our child more than anything else? We want our child to be intelligent and successful. We would do anything for our children’s safety, protection, physical health and well being.
But we are not willing to respect the journey of the child so far. This little being has made it through close to 10 months of pregnancy! It has lived the mental emotional and physical stress of the mother. The child is born without clear vision, and it can see colour only by the age of 4 months. It lives with all these limitations while it is learning to decipher the world around! If we also include the evolution of self-healing which is apparent in the child through the qualities of acceptance and resilience, we will be in awe of the natural processes that shape the human being after birth. Natural healing processes are a part of the consciousness of each child. The light within keeps them alive and the voice within guides them through life!
We need to respect the effort this little being is making each day to understand the surroundings. Each day each minute there is learning without any effort on our part to teach! In the womb itself the first sense that is developed is the sense of touch, then the taste buds are formed, subsequently the sense of smell, hearing and finally the sense organ for sight is developed.
The sense of smell is the first anchor of the child. The process of development of olfactory nerve cells (cells responsible for the sense of smell) begins as soon as the first trimester of pregnancy. The skin of the baby is so sensitive. It recognizes pressure, warmth and texture even though it knows not the names of these.
The next important sense that helps the baby to orient itself in the absence of vision is the sense of hearing. Hearing is fully developed in the new-born. Babies with normal hearing should startle in response to loud sounds, pay quiet attention to the mother’s voice, and briefly stop moving when sound at a conversational level is begun. The child recognizes your voice the rhythm of your words and the energy you carry! The child can sense your sadness, stress, calmness and happiness. They can not only detect our tension but are affected by it. Stress is contagious not just to babies but to adults too! Just like happiness is contagious!
Finally, the child’s eye is developed enough to see colours and get excited by them. All these processes are unique to each child whether your own or adopted. All this learning is immense considering that we think the child doesn’t know anything and is incapable or learning by itself!
As the vision comes to the aid of the child and it’s learning, the sense of touch, taste, smell and sound help it to build the outer world in its head through the experiences of the senses. Do you know how the eye sees? Do you know that seeing is a combination of the act of seeing the picture with the eyes which is inverted vertically and horizontally and deciphering the objects using logic and experience to define a pattern and structure?
The baby is capable of finding the breast and its mind is capable of learning from its environment the minute it is born! Do we have respect for the child and this process?
Instead of awe and wonder at how the child is learning each day, as soon as the child is capable of understanding our instructions, we expect the child to obey and learn to show respect by obeying. We want to show off how well we have trained the child and expect them to greet people and perform in front of our guests. Do we realize how much harm we do when we do this?
“Nothing is more despicable than respect based on fear.”
Why do we not trust the process that has taken care of the learning of the child till such time? Now suddenly we want to teach, we want to hurry the development and make the child read faster, know numbers faster and sing and dance to our tune! When we don’t respect the process how can we expect the child to respect us!