(What If . . . )
Touch Today we are told not to touch children and fear disciplining them. Self-discipline is usually established through older persons, such as parents or teachers. These are the ones who guide children with an external voice until the child's own internal voice activates her conscience. Eventual self-discipline is a strengthening factor in grabbing life's reigns and feeling empowered.
Touch is not linear and flat like words. Safe, caring touch is multi-dimensional, expressing more than words can say. Safe touch can be a bridge when words are absent or do not fully embrace a message. Touch deprivation causes illness. It is another form of abuse and creates the illness of self-abuse, as do all forms of abuse. I tell people that as a mom, therapist, trainer, neighbor, and aunt, I will not stop touching children safely in a caring manner. Kidding and touching elbows, giving a pat on the back, asking if someone needs a hug, and joking with a "high-five" hand gesture—all are ways that a well-intentioned person can maintain the healing presence of touch as a natural factor in children's lives.
"We must be the change we want to see in the world." My long black sweatshirt carries this poignant quote by Mahatma Gandhi. This sweatshirt is my special reminder to be an adult who models for children what I want for them. "Ever slip, Janai?," you might question. Sure, it's the old eternal human factor. Slips are food. I use them as fuel to learn and continue onward, processing the slips with children when appropriate so we both learn. Children and slips provide ego balancing for adult guides.
What is possible? Einstein pointed the way of unlimited imagining as the first step of my bridge-making. In response, my mind soars with the freedom of an angel's wings in full flight headed for a special event. In my mind's eye, I watch a movie scripted and directed by Einstein and Gandhi....and I dare to dream.
What if....all children learn how to tap their inner resources and know themselves? What if....self-mastery of the mind/body/emotion connection is celebrated and nurtured within the family structure, socially, and in the educational institutions throughout a child's life?
What if....abused children learn to transform their demons into good, creative energy instead of self- and other-destructiveness? What if....they realize a continued state of dis-ease is self-imposed through negative self-talk, self-victimization, and through always giving one's power away by blaming others and circumstances. What if they learn that such dis-ease is perpetuated by abusing others, with the suffering that results from that.
What if....I find people around the world with whom I can network and find funding to carry out this work; people who recognize these issues as the most important priority on the planet.
What if....I realize through my own lifetime that enlightenment is possible if every thought, word and deed is healing in its nature....and What if....I can transmit that to the children I have contact with? And what if....they, in turn, plant those same seeds of kind light in their lives and relationships?
What if....we teach our children, on a planetary scale, to know themselves?
What if....children learn to heal the psychological wounds of childhood instead of letting those wounds become lifelong scars?
Sickly and scrawny, I was called "ugly stick" by some kids when I was a girl. "Ugly stick" became my subconscious director for negative self-talk. Unbeknownst to me, those taunting children were in pain. They were sharing and releasing it through hurting others. Not understanding that fact caused me more pain through low self-esteem and self-abuse. Once I understood, I forgave them and I healed. Then I was able to help others heal wounds.
What if....adults in the global village realize that children's wounds can be painfully life altering if the incidents aren't harnessed during these daily occurrences as opportunities for growth?
This is bridging, one step at a time, towards self-actualized children who are happy and healthy. The quality of their connectedness as they mature into adults, and inherit our world, does not have to be of stunted human potential as we are witnessing today in global relations. We can help them go beyond what we have created.
What if....We all realize that intrinsic worth is based not only on good values, but also practical skills....
The dreaming and visualizing is exhilarating. But it cannot survive unless it is anchored in our everyday world in a practical, step-by-step process.
The peacock symbolizes one who can take negativity or toxins from the environment and create something good to put back out into the environment. Children can learn this is their birthright. As their guides, we adults have to know how this works for ourselves, so the buck stops right here.
My Plan of Action For 22 years I have pulled a bandwagon, attempting many approaches to awaken interest. My latest attempt was teaching myself to write a grant (double ugh) to create a model program in the town of Drain, Oregon, entitled, KINDERGARTEN SELF-HELP PROGRAM. Children who know they have resources within them that can be tapped anytime, anywhere, will be confident in making their choices, good choices. They will manage emotions and stress, and practice competent problem solving. Such children can work with conflict resolution, manage anger wisely, know how the mind and body work together. In short, they will live healthier lives. They can use their imaginations to help the world grow in a brightly lit direction.
Drain is a small rural town with approximately 350 children in the elementary/middle school combination. In the 1995-96 school year, there were 250 referrals for misconduct to the principal's office. One year later, during the 1996-97 school term, the number of such referrals escalated to 1,278. This recent past school year, 1997-98, such referrals remained at the 96-97 pace. What’s going on? Don't bother blaming budget cuts alone. Wealthy school districts are equally afflicted with such statistics. The problem is complex and Band-Aid solutions are no longer acceptable. This illness calls for long-term investment and long-term change. Such vision and action find a home in the Kindergarten Self-Help Program. If it works here, it can work anywhere in the world.