As Albert Einstein wrote: “Remember your Humanity.” Engaging alternative and meaningful activities with our families and communities will help us do so!"
Alteration of habits and activities is key to developing a momentous capacity for creating new plans and patterns of learning and development. Again, I want to highligh the importance of us parents and mentors to be our Children’s Role Models. We can and we do set up the tendencies to create and learn, not the other way around. I discussed with specialists at my son Lorenzo’s school about the importance of "alternatives" to improve his level of focus and attention. Lorenzo, like many other young students, was struggling to manage his academic agenda and needed unplugging practices in order to diversify his approach to learning and his understanding of various critical and creative possibilities of learning
Since the learning specialists at Lorenzo’s school did not provide the conditions for such practices, I am in charge of implementing useful practices for my son like Google did with their very busy employees, including knitting, painting, cooking, and playing chess. (Although, at this age, it will be hard to convince him to knitte anything, I am afraid). Such activities help people, including and specially teenagers like Lorenzo, to be fresh for possibility, to value spontaneity, and reject the rigidity of habits that are not successful in achieving goals.
Ideally, I should have taken up these initiatives earlier. However, it is very hard to maintain certain behaviors when the school is developing others, specially maintaining the communication with the students via e-mails at anytime, including at night, making the " unplugging" mode, more difficult. Regardless of the context or the time frame, whether the educational curriculum is successful, we still
need to help our children to unplug and refresh their brains. For example, when Lorenzo started high School I tried to join the Wellness and Sustainability Community and wrote a Green Guide with different suggestions for fostering development and education. I started with ways of reshaping our way of communication and especially following a code of ethics to use technology. After all, while we keep condemning our children for using their phones and video games, we are the ones who prematurely encouraged them to use them to be up to dated technologically! We caregivers are often inadvertent bad examples and we not even notice how we are not cultivating the proper conditions and activities for our children to achieve success in whatever field.
The wis here is for a better world and this is possible exclusively if we move a chain of positive ideas, actions, and enjoyment!
Let's keep excelling, working hard, but PAUSING in between. We should NOT be the model of constantly escaping the present and turn into a perfect picture of anxiety. We need to attend to the emotional as well as educational needs of our children and adopting new activities that go beyond the regiments of academic curriculum or daily domestic activities is essential.
Here is my list of essential principles, practices, and goals:
Maintain and Practice family traditions - (Bring sense of belonging, connection with love ones and cultural knowledge) Family Meals/Play Music
Cultivate simple, possible healthy and engaging habits/projects at home: reading together, playing games (chess, Domino, Puzzle); engaging in meditation or prayer; planting seasonal vegetable and undertaking gardening
No phones or electronic devices at the table ever
Communication in person or, briefly, by phone; avoid text messages with the kids except for basic information
Always engage in family outdoor activities, at least once a week
Write handwritten notes and be sure to communicate personally and openly