I spent more than an hour skyping with Clara and Vicky from England yesterday at my office. These two young girls, we were living together in Italy few years ago when I was nanny and their mother was pregnant of the third child. At office I did not have the microphone so could only write down everything and listening to all they were speaking from the other side. The most beautiful chat: little things: stories, laughs, sending funny emoticons, chewing candies and so on. Just in the middle of the busiest time of my schedule at work. Just at the perfect moment for inundating the heart with something strong and sane.
Now the attention towards how the children do spend their time is growing more and more everywhere. They are becoming the centre of our mind. There are plenty of books talking that we have to keep our kids engaged as much as possible to learn, to grow, to absorb in order to develop their skills and talents. This is false actually. I think that orientatively if they can be busy for half of their time with homework and activities they can also do nothing for the other half of the time. I grew up at this way: School, home works and dance class three times a week were all on a fixed schedule for about ten years from 6 to 19. All the left free time was spent to create things with the help of parents or friends. Painting, reading, listening to music, playing an instrument without any instructor, just alone, toys, journals, swimming in the summertime, going for mushrooms, asparaguses or cyclamens and mimosas during spring time, pic-nics, tons of free walks around the town and so on. The love surrounding was soft and spontaneous, just enough to guide explorations and personal growth.
My birthday parties were memorable, sometimes at the central park among rocks and small animals sometimes at the beach, and aunties, mommies and friends were all enjoying at the same time. It has been going for years like that. There were no scheduled activities and we used to run free in the nature or making a volcano or a castle with the sand. Everything was really simple and familiar, the environment comfy and the people smiling. Love was developing on its own natural way… and still is.
Here in Hong Kong my friends-mothers tell that the schools are putting a lot of pressure on the little ones. They have to pass examinations and study hard even at night several times during the week. Plus at least three courses-activities in afternons and/or weekends. I am sure this is not the right path to educate children. I am sure both teachers and educators, parents are lovely and careful. But love and pressure do not combine nicely most of the times, do they? If a child feels he is too often forced to do something, that means he is not comfortable with this rhythm and this situation will be translated sooner or later in another problem. It is obvious. There are other ways to educate which are safer and more adapting to a child inner self. And it is in the inner self where all the talents and the skills already reside!