As I walked to the gate to get on my plane back to Bangkok, from Phuket, departing passengers merged with arriving passengers just for a moment. A flight had come in from Russia and the flow of passengers was being blocked by a little boy, possibly four years old, who had stopped to look out of the window. Just across the tarmac of the runway was the clear blue sea of Phuket and he was gawping at it, shouting excitedly at his parents in Russian. Perhaps, and I know this is an assumption, this was the first time he had seen the sea, or at least a sea that looked like that!
Naturally, this got me thinking.
I wonder if, as adults in our capacity as teachers or parents, we sometimes forget about that emotional response to seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, sensing, knowing, making or understanding something for the first time. Are we sometimes guilty of missing that crucial moment of learning because we have become accustomed, blasé, jaded, cynical or ambivalent about the world around us? Does this mean that we become less able to teach or less able to bring up our children in ways that do connect with their emotions? Are we, dare I say it, too caught up in our own emotional web that we forget what naivety and real “finding out” feel like, not just for children but also for ourselves?
I hope not. This emotional response, I believe, is actually the essence of curiosity. Curiosity can, but doesn’t always have to, convert itself into inquiry.
So, I guess what I’m saying is… parents, teachers, anybody with a part to play in the growth of children, try to remind yourself to see things through their eyes. Try to reconnect yourself with those emotional responses . Try to live in a way that gives you those emotional responses too – travel, seek change, be mindful, look closely at the world around you, try new things, have a go, be open to people. Then, I am sure, we can all play our part as well as we are meant to.
I have to thank Louie Schwartzberg and TED for the video below. I wonder if, had I not watched this video , if I would even have seen and watched the little Russian boy at all: