What is the real nature of a human being? What is our highest potential and how can we live it to fulfill the essence of our purpose?
We live in a world of impulses, noise, external light and constant movement. The silence of a forest has disappeared from our life, we no longer listen to the sound of crickets before we fall asleep, hundreds of frogs waking up at 3am, a water source running through our backyards or wander around desert dunes listening to different types of winds.
Mother Earth has given us an amazing range of shapes, colours and sounds that a normal city dweller might only explore in an hour’s ‘outing’ when they escape from the ‘norm’, the reality of white walls and working desks that imprison their followers to a lifelong time of work.
Children need lots of opportunities to be ‘outside’ to develop their basic soft skills
A wild and wonderful kaleidoscope of dream-like shapes and figures of plants and animals is no longer our day-to-day reality. We escaped from it and replaced it with a matrix of square buildings, enforced ‘cleanliness’ and endless roads with their soulless grey.
The beauty of any flower pattern, or simply a shape of a branch, immediately connects us with the forever present field of life that has an amazing mathematical intelligence that pulsates through all living beings.
Man-made objects follow straight lines that are not a reality of any shape present in nature. Our cars, mobile phones and TVs try to replace the soul-full impressions we get from a field of Narcissus breaking through a layer of grass, or a swarm of bees sharing at a water-source. The inner peace that melts us when we are surrounded by a nature’s wonder is limitless.
Our state of consciousness is very different between trying to cross a crowded street in a major city and falling into a meditation while observing the shape of a tree in the middle of a mountain path. Migrating into cities, we have created a torturous environment for our souls, in social structures around houses that look like boxes and high walls that separate us from the world of insects, birds, wondering beasts, both predators and harmless animals.
Colourless grey is also predominant in our schools. Children are fascinated with gardens but much space in schools’ grounds is turned into parking lots. Schools must learn to nourish, protect and at all times use wisely the spaces outside classrooms. Our schools’ playgrounds, sports grounds and green spaces should never be left unutilised.
Each outdoor space gives a child a golden opportunity to run, to breathe, and to learn outside of the ‘box’. Perhaps we cannot take our little ones to mountain paths every day, but we can do so much more with our outdoor spaces.
Writing a creative assignment is much more fun and mentally stimulating if it is done wondering around schools’ playgrounds or green grounds in search for poetic inspiration.
Children who learn to enjoy the outdoors will become adults who enjoy hiking, gardening, jogging and cycling; adults that take care for animals and plants and protect the environment. Using open spaces we help children fulfil some basic childhood needs: racing, yelling, hiding, experimenting, a need for freedom and adventure and an opportunity to explore the unknown.
Today children’s lives are contained and controlled by schedules, rules, regulations and restrictions imposed by society. They fight for their physical, mental and emotional spaces against endless cars, car parks, adults’ obsessions against balls, scooters and bicycles, and teachers’ persistence to stick to the old-fashioned methods of sitting in the classrooms for hours on end, curriculums that inevitably lack music, arts and sports. For some reason, schools’ football grounds are always empty.
Children need lots of opportunities to be ‘outside’ to develop their basic soft skills and the whole range of social competencies. Children learn both cognitively and intuitively, observing the subtle inner relationships within nature. Free creative play that develops spontaneously among children playing ‘outdoors’ is an invaluable gift that cannot be ignored.
Being able to wonder at nature, observe worms gliding through or butterflies emerging, being able to play ball, hide-and-seek, or to run aimlessly, are all keys to growing creative and inspired children.