To say that we’re redefining the school concept, or rather searching to acquire knowledge the way we see fit, might sound conceited. It’s not with that purpose that we do this, but rather so that the boys can open their eyes. Hearts too, as you have to have both open and willing if you are to learn. And learn we have to, learn to live with grace and gratefulness. Learn to tie the stories of the world together so we can see the world in all that it is.
Today we talk about food. Why choose this over that, what is taste and why it is used by those who handle chemicals and colours to mislead us… ‘We have to eat with our brains’ I tell the boys and they tilt their heads. True, if we are to eat to live, I press on.
They like the challenge and the learning of unconventional matters that help choose our way as we go, saying no thank you to mainstream invites to indulge and siding with simplicity while at the same time learning that a ‘simple’ piece of food that nature creates is never simple, but the result of such mind-boggling biochemical processes it is but necessary to be grateful for each bite. And learn.
It’s in the choices we make, with everything. With food, we can only make choices once we learn the taste of food and the value of each bite. Unaltered and ‘as is’, imperfect and yet complete, simple food as nature offers it is where eating starts. Science is there too and it is never repugnant but enticing.
We play the game of ‘What about…’ and the boys ask about processed foods that we all know are a silly compromise at times but without any nutritional value. ‘What about?…’ they keep on asking. I keep on answering nope every so often and they laugh. ‘But it says so on the package!’ they protest knowing the truth but enjoying the game.
To eat healthily is a mind-opening adventure. We eat with our minds, we eat with our hearts (would you ever eat the results of suffering or some chemical warfare that happened in the field where your food happened to be? ‘No Mom!’). We eat knowing that we’re never to bow to trends or marketing ploys, but stay true to needs and leave wants die of attention emaciation… They smile. Lesson ends with the eye glimmer that tells me they’re flying high, having learned things that make sense.
Next, I tell them, there’s something else to watch. A TED talk about taking care of those parts of ourselves that do not show. Today we talk about emotions, namely the ones that overwhelm us when we fail.
The lid of the white porcelain tea pot broke today because hurried little hands put it too close to the edge. Disaster! Little boy’s hand covered his mouth. Then came a sad pout. ‘You liked this pot, Mama. What now?’
Now is just the same with or without a porcelain lid. I am not tied to a while porcelain pot more than I am to some dandelion fluff. It’s not self-blame that helps us clean the white bits off the kitchen floor but the realization that mistakes happen. Blame is not the same with learning from our mistakes.
When you start learning, you fail at times. The boys nod; they know the feeling of emptiness and frustration that goes with it, as we all do. When you want to stomp your feet and be mean to yourself. Why would you, I ask? They think. Pause…’Because…’
Here is a place where we can say it as we see it. To admit to vulnerability is to find the place to grow from. And to understand others. Self-compassion for trying times. Whether you break a porcelain lid, or fail a test or or make mistakes of any other kind.
We pursue things that do not work out sometimes and that makes us feel inadequate, a flurry of sharp edges pushing against our soul… The boys’ eyes grow large. Smiles. You cannot turn back in time and erase mistakes, but you can try again with what you know. Because of a mistake, you know more.
I hope I can help them see that nobody’s expectation of greatness should ever make them think less of themselves. They are enough as they are, and if they believe that, they will keep on growing and following their heart’s call.
When you live, you make mistakes and you fail at times. What then? Where do look next? You draw a blanket of compassion from the shelf and wrap yourself in it. So you must put it somewhere on a shelf where you can reach it at any time. You or someone else will need it, we all do at times. Few of us have it handy. Few of us are willing to use it, or know how to…
It is a big subject indeed and we will go back to it. We are to get to know ourselves in learning. Reciting manuals and facts, achieving milestones so others can say ‘good job’ does little in the end if you’re not present to celebrate your feeling of having learned and the joy that comes with it. Learning with a purpose.
Next, little boy chooses piano class over science today (but can we do science on Monday, Mama?) and the sound of music, braided sounds from keyboard and from the boy experiencing the wonder of making it, start dancing around the living room. So it is, we love our school.
Big brother reads his own and then we talk it. It is about paradigms that help us move further or keep on being stuck. He already knows so much, but it is often hard to remember. His big smile and hug at the end will remind me of joy down the road when, our together adventure becomes overwhelming at times and we forget of paradigms and better ways to do it and get caught in spikes. Learning together becomes yet another facet of our bond.
Everything that’s worth doing and living becomes overwhelming at times. That’s how we learn. We admit to limitations, to being human, to being afraid and inspired, to follow calls only we can hear… To learn to say ‘I can.’
It’s been a good day. It’s past lunch. I make miso soup with thick kelp and soba noodles; we eat and talk. Taste and laughs and wonder. Learning is all, but it is never a paddock where we lock our thoughts at any time, but rather an endless array of fields and mountains where they can keep on running and dancing forever. Because, in truth, learning never stops…