Learning From, Through, and With Nature July 27, 2010Posted by TheIntentionalSage in Nature, Visions.
Tags: Autonomy, Child, Education, Learn, Parent
His mom and dad watched as he explored the natural world around him. Chinwe (pronounced chin-way) would crawl around in the grass as he looked at various plants and insects. His mom and dad were being very intentional in their desire not to interfere with Chinwe’s autonomy. They understood the importance of Chinwe discovering the world around him – on his own – without any influence by mom or dad. This concept was something that was foreign to both of Chinwe’s parents.
The way that his parents were raised made it difficult for them to behave in this way, but they wanted to make sure that Chinwe was afforded great autonomy. Both of Chinwe’s parents were raised in a different time. His mom’s parents were very strict – to the bone, that is. His mom’s parents interfered at every turn. Whenever she would start to explore something, right away, her mom would pick her up and take her away from whatever had piqued her interest. This made his mom very sad much of the time. She wasn’t attempting to get into any trouble, and she likely wasn’t really in “trouble,” as this is such an arbitrary thing – trouble. As if someone could ‘be’ in trouble. Nonetheless, Chinwe’s mom’s parents were very strict about what she was and wasn’t allowed to do.
They were always making rules for her, especially when she was still quite young. “Don’t touch that… don’t eat that… stop playing with that… you’re going to hurt yourselves… That’s going to make you sick!” His mom was instilled with such limiting belief systems early on. All of this, of course, was unbeknownst to Chinwe. All he knew was what was in front of him and thankfully, that wasn’t his parents’ scorn.
Like his mother, Chinwe’s dad had an equally traumatizing childhood, which needn’t be described. Chinwe’s parents were raised in a very different time, so by definition, Chinwe had the opportunity to be raised in a different time. Because his parents gained the knowledge they did in being raised in such a limiting manner, Chinwe was going to be free. His parents understood the smothering that they experienced as children and knew that they didn’t want that for any of their kids. Chinwe was their first child and their first opportunity to put into practice what they had longed for.
Chinwe’s parents didn’t look at Chinwe as if he was their child, no. Chinwe’s parents didn’t believe that any human being could belong to another human being. It just seemed so wrong that one person was ‘owned’ by someone else. As if “Johnny could have a son and it be his.” To Chinwe’s parents, it was just outlandish to think in such possessive terms. In the eyes of his parents, Chinwe was a gift. Chinwe was a gift, created through the love shared between his parents. It may sound strange to think of a child not as someone’s, but just as any other human being existing on the planet, but this is the way that Chinwe’s parents felt.
Chinwe’s parents knew that there were other people scattered about the Earth who felt the exact same way that they did, but they also understood that they were alive at a time of great change. That is to say that there was much upheaval and structural uncertainty in the way things happen on Earth. In the immediate generation prior, things were immensely different than they were in the generation before that. In their eyes, it was as if the learning curve of humans was speeding up and they were so pleased to get the chance to be part of this particular spot on the curve.
Chinwe continued to crawl around and explore things. He crawled up next to a flower and watched as an insect flew round and round until it landed on one of the petals. His parents could see that Chinwe was really learning things about life through the natural world around him and they wouldn’t have had it any other way. The things that Chinwe was learning by observing nature being nature was a better education than he would ever get reading a book or listening to a lecture.