Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Nelson Mandela and more.....

Nelson Mandela is an amazing man who showed us that it is possible to make a difference, to build a new nation, a new culture. He died at the age of 95 on Thursday in Johannesburg. So many of us are grieving his loss and also celebrating his legacy: as we work together for a world of equality and inclusively.

Photograph from The Guardian 7th December 2013 Flowers and tributes for Nelson Mandela outside South Africa House in central London. Photograph: Laura Lean/PA

For love, peace and reconciliation. His fight was ultimately for spiritual freedom, within us all, no matter what our circumstances. 

Is this you?

Caring for each other, simply because we are alive and we have common feelings and needs and we live on the same planet is often far from our thoughts when we are in conflict. An attitude of reconciliation is rare. 

What I have learnt is that our true nature is to love and to contribute to each others well being:  I invite you to look into the eyes of a baby to see if this is true.   

Why do we deviate from what is our true nature?

It seems it is because of the way we are being educated. In schools, familiesbecause of our history, our culture, religion, language etc and the result of our education is often that we sense we need to fight for survival and our actions follow this. Competition rather than togetherness becomes the norm.  Mandela showed us that it is possible to learn to love and forgive even when this has not been the way we were raised. 

“Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world”

“We are taught to hate and if we can teach a human being to hate we can also teach a human being to love, to embrace, to forgive”

I just listened to Mandela's daughter Makuziwe speaking about how difficult it was for her father to express his emotion and her sadness about this and this caused me to reflect on how difficult it is sometime to notice what is going on emotionally with children, from the impact of all aspects of their lives.  I think we need to get better at this in education, knowing how to engage with children who struggle to show themselves. Recognising that children are part of a family, part of a community. This is when our children will flourish.

I long to see an education system that places relationships and community at the heart of the curriculum.  If our children value life and their interconnectedness to each other and the environment around them a new culture can be born. 

In the past few months I have been introducing teachers and childcare professionals to the power of music, imagination, dance and movement. We have been engaging in activities that bring groups together and foster a sense of belonging. Through some simple activities we can help children learn how to appreciate each other, to learn how to resolve their differences and to make choices that serve life

Nelson Mandela was a courageous man who made a tremendous difference in the world his work for humanity his work can continue through us. 

Here are questions to consider, in your school, home, setting, centre etc:

Do the children feel confident, competent, comfortable with themselves and others?

Can they deal with their conflicts?

Do they feel supported, celebrated?

Do they know their roots and the roots of their ancestors and how this has affected what they believe and who they are now?

Do they know that they have a choice about what they value and how to be?

Are they free to share their stories?

Are they being listened to?

Are they willing and motivated to learn?

Are they connected to the feeling of being alive?

Do they feel that they matter?

How often do you dance and sing and create as a community together?




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