As a child I would spend a lot of time looking at the night sky. Sometime I would count the stars and sometime look for a shooting star. Even a beautiful moon would mystify me. The kids today are not that wonderstruck any more. Someday back I went to a birthday party where a magic show was going on and I saw how the kids were harassing the magician. They knew how the magician was doing his tricks and they kept telling him we know how you did it?
It was sad to see this. A child should always have a sense of wonder and should be fascinated with things even if it is a small bubble it should give them a sense of magic. On my way back I started to wonder why the kids today are like this.
Is it the information superhighway?
Then I realised it is the internet. Any child today can get all the information they want at the click of a button. Kids are given laptops and mobiles at a very tender age. Any word that they do not understand they can look for it on the net. Is it a right thing that we are doing to the kids? Our parents never had fancy phones and laptops maybe that is why we had a childhood that was more magical. I want my child to feel the same magic but not sure if this is still possible in this world that is so fascinated with technology.
If a child wants to know something do you think Google can give him or her best answers? Definitely not. He or she would get the best answers with practical knowledge and by exploring life as it comes. We do not have the time to pay attention to anything. We take things for granted and neglect everything. We think knowledge is what we see in Google.
Anyone can find what a butterfly is on the net. If you want to feel the magic of holding a butterfly you will have to go to the park and try to catch one. The common thing we hear today is that “we do not have the time”. Do we seriously not have the time or we do not want to make time. Whatever we call knowledge today might just be some silly conclusions that we have drawn and are absolutely baseless.
We have to increase our attention span and only then we can teach the kids to pay more attention. Just look at yourself how much time do you spend on the phone and laptop. Then think how much of that time is utilised well and how much of it was actually wasted. If you set such examples infront of your child the kid will obviously pick up the same qualities and would start thinking that spending time on the laptop is the best utilisation of time ever possible.
The lost charm of wonderland
It is human nature to get wonderstruck by something that is beautiful. When you see a beautiful morning and you feel happy about it ask your child what they see. If they say “I see the sun” ask them isn’t it magical. The sun is rising and the sky is all set to welcome it, the breeze is blowing in such a soothing way everything combines so perfectly to create a beautiful morning and we both are enjoying it.
There is a magic in everything. Even if science can explain all of it still there are a lot of things that science will never be able to answer. You know why science will not be able to answer all of it because it thinks with head and not with heart. If you can engage the child like this into small things everything else that he knows will stop and his mind will start to think in a magical way. We all need to believe in magic and the mysteries that surround us. If we know everything will life be as interesting as it is now?
Attention to detail: A lost art?
Attention is critical. Human mind is made to think about multiple things at the same time as a result we cannot concentrate on one thing for long. A child is worst than adults when it comes to this. You have to make the thing engaging so that the child pays attention to it. For example an adult might sit through a lecture and try to understand it. If the lecture is made interactive and filled with activity even an adult will be able to grasp it better.
However, you must keep in mind why you are grasping what is being taught better the answer is simple. You are doing so because you are able to pay more attention to what is being taught when the session is interactive. Attention is important. A child will learn faster when you make the learning sessions fun and colourful because they are able to pay more attention.
If you go to a movie and you see it with the lights on you will not be as engaged in the movie as you would be if the lights are off. When lights are off you will realise that you are able to pay more attention to what is happening on the screen.
This is exactly what meditation aims at increasing the ability of a person to pay attention. When you pay attention to things you will be fascinated more and you will be able to think about it beyond just sensing it physically.
If you expose your child to music and dance it can increase the ability of the child to pay attention. We don’t mean just listening to music the child has to learn the music and the dance. When they learn it only then they will be able to pay more attention. Schools can try to make music and dance compulsory as a part of academics.
If they introduce classical music and dance then even better results can be obtained. It is not necessary that the child should be a very good singer or a dancer the aim is to improve the attention span of the child and that is all. When the child pays more attention he or she will learn faster and they will also be able to appreciate the magic that is hidden behind everything.
This can work on kids who are as small as a six year old. If you do not believe me then make your child sing the sargam every morning on daily basis and you will notice the change on his or her concentration levels. The education system today believes in teaching learning and getting marks. Is that all? Will it ensure that the child develops his or her full potential?
With the modern gadgets and technology we are making the kids physically incapable and the mind too is becoming incapable of thinking. They feel what they see on Google is knowledge. Knowledge is something that is very deep and you can only reach true knowledge if you go deep into the subject and live with the subject. Take your kids on a walk.
Take them to a park that they visit regularly but take them in the night and do not give them a torch, a mobile or any source of light. You will see that after such regular walks the kids are able to feel magic all over again.
Take them to a village that does not have much electricity or when the lights go off take them to the terrace and you will see how these small things can keep the magic alive in them. The sense of wonder is needed and with all these you can actually transform the sense of wonder that the child feels. You can give them memories that they can cherish forever.
In this darkness as the child walks they may fall and get hurt but that is ok. When the child is hurt they should not protest and try to find ways of ensuring that they should not get hurt again. Instead they should forget about the hurt and do the same mistake again till they learn.
As parents we become protective and we try to ensure that the child is never hurt. Ensure that your child does not get hurt badly otherwise let them fall and hurt themselves. It is a part of growing up and the child has to go through it in order to become stronger mentally as well as physically.
Editor’s note: apart from the views of the author which have been beautifully expressed, the editor would like to add that on reading this post, many readers might think we are against technology. It is not so for technology has always been a two edged sword and it is upto us to use in the optimum manner. The information superhighway or the internet is certainly one of the greatest inventions of modern times and we are neither against any particular search engine or company. All that we want to say is that just connect to nature more and more and you will realize the finer and subtle qualities of life and will appreciate the things around us in a much better manner.