“Kids are naturally curious about the world around them. Everything is fascinating and holds their attention as they explore their new surroundings. Adults however, have grown up hearing the word ‘no’, ‘don't do that,’ and ‘quit daydreaming so often, they create their own little world, a world with lots of limitations. What then do most adults teach to their children? ‘No’, ‘don't do that,’ and ‘quit daydreaming.’ So, what can you learn from a child today…?” ~James A. MurphyI'm about to head out the door with two of my children to explore the Children's Museum. Most people consider this a wonderful learning experience for the children. I consider this an amazing opportunity to learn from my children.
You see, I've forgotten most of what I intrinsically knew as a child about exploring. I need them to teach me, once again, to be fascinated with things I would tend to consider mundane or miss altogether; to explore things in the same way I encourage them to explore.
I love exploring with my children. They have rarely been told no or don't when it comes to exploring the world around them. They have often been told yes! please! do! go!
We tell our children DON'T...
...pick mushrooms until and unless they've been properly identified as safe
... get so far ahead of us that we can't see or hear you / you can't see or hear us
... get too close to the edge, which means about twenty or thirty feet from the edge, because your mother has a fear of heights, not for herself, but for her children, and you don't want her having a panic attack at the top of the mountain ... do distract her with something first and go with Daddy
... touch things that clearly say do not touch or climb on things that say do not climb
We tell our children DO...
... stop and examine things - look from all angles
... touch, see, feel, listen
... take the path less traveled, or make your own
... look up! down! near! far!
... ask questions of parents, docents, curators, experts, friends, siblings (but don't expect everyone or anyone to have all the answers!)
... discover answers on your own
... explore and learn about what you enjoy for days or weeks or months or a lifetime afterwards
... keep in mind where you are and what the "rules" are - some places require quiet, other places celebrate children being children
... encourage your parents, siblings, and friends to come and see
... share what you've learned
and so many other things.
I wonder what I'm going to learn today...