Reflections on our Work and Dreams of what lies ahead …
“It is possible to cause seemingly biochemical changes through human emotional involvement. You literally have changed his chemistry by being his friend.”Steve Lopez,
The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music.
This quote makes me think about our work and the role we play in our work with children. It makes me think about the real value of human interaction and how we can bring the aspect of humanity into the educational setting with children, teachers and caretakers. We can call ourselves educators, Early Childhood Development (ECD) facilitators, teachers, practitioners … We can study and have a degree, and this is wonderful. Education is powerful and I think we must acquire as many wonderful tools and knowledge as possible to assist the ones whom we work with and whom we render a service to.
There is another element to our work, the work that we do as humans on this earth, being part of a bigger picture. The inner work.
The power of touching each other deeply through friendship can change and grow us. True friendship has the potential to be the most transformative experience that we can bring to an educational and therapeutic or simply, a human setting. It may not only transform our thinking, widen our horizon, introduce us to new cultures, food, music and languages, open our heart and give us a sense of belonging, but it might also create new pathways in our brain and give us permission to learn new things in a space that has no judgement.
Over and over again I have observed children make huge leaps in their development from simply being given a quiet space where they can practice their skills. I have asked myself, what are the ingredients that make children who are referred to Occupational Therapists (OT) or to other therapists, often with a label of “no return”, catch-up and develop beyond expectations on an emotional and physical level.
What I am sure of is that when we give permission, open age appropriate play choices, as well as time and space to children to practice their skills, and we combine that with an approach of true non-judgment and safety and hold that space even when there are setbacks, outbursts, tantrums and frustration, we give children a place where they are able to feel who they are and how to truly express their inner worlds.
Let’s make ourselves available beyond the knowledge, beyond the facts, beyond the great educational and therapeutic tools. Let’s make ourselves available, first to our own selves and then to others to simply, be a friend.
“… a friend is someone who inspires, who challenges, who sends you in search of some truer sense of yourself.”