We may believe that children are not interested in anything, just because they are not interested in what we’re interested in. But if we listen to them, rather than to ourselves, we can discover what fascinates them. If the other is not interested in what affects us or that we think of common social interest, we stop, or we are unable to go beyond, to enter the world of the other.
This was obvious when I worked as educator in a Middle East family. Parents continued to complain that their son Amir was not interested in anything and that if he had not been routed in some activity, he would not realize anything in life. This belief was so strong in them that at times threatened to affect me too. I decided not to listen to it to concentrate solely on that of Amir. More the days passed, more I discovered interesting aspects of this child.
First of all, he knew how to relax!
This aspect was considered of little account by the parents, because they were both used to never stop, encouraging the hard work. For that, this aspect of their son was quite embarrassing. Amir loved to relax with the music and he knew all types of music. He had done some yoga classes in the past and a few times, I was guided by him into beautiful relaxations in which I was about to fall asleep. This is an art and, frankly, seeing thus developed in a child of 10 years, in which it has not been particularly instilled, hit me.
Amir did not only know a lot of music, but also a myriad of movies and actors. He does great movie’s reviews and he loves going to the cinema. Amir knows many places throughout the world, and the collections of several designers. When we walked in a clothing store, he already knew the name of the summer collection. The salesman there confirmed that it was the exact name. Amir used its Ipad to search for information of any kind on the internet: history, news, science, computer science …
He is an affectionate and sensitive child: one day I was not in great shape and he continued knocking on my door to delight me with tea and sweets. I thought that he had read my mind and, on that occasion, I have renamed Amir, my guardian angel.
Amir loves to play basketball, even if it is not the favourite sport by his father, who wanted to see him excel in martial arts, where he signed Amir. One day I wanted to accompany Amir at his martial arts lesson to see him at work, because I had imagined seeing him very different from when he plays basketball. In fact it was so, he was awkward and slowed down and someone struck him.
Several times I repeated to the parents that a shaft of peaches may not give the pears, and I encouraged Amir to choose for himself, and not for his father. Amir loves to travel and touring: as soon as I arrived in the city, he wanted to do with me a sightseeing tour, but the mother has suggested waiting until the next season. Amir would be leaving for a tour every day, discovering new corners of the city: activities that should be absolutely encouraged by their parents.
When I informed the mother that Amir is a child full of passions, she was quite surprised. The father still wanted a son awake and energetic: when he brought him to the pool, the father expected Amir to do 70 tanks, while Amir hoped to just relax and enjoy the lovely warm water.
Parents can learn to listen to their children, by leaving them the freedom to choose what they love, interrupting the chain of duty-pain that is still so deeply rooted in many of us.
Elena Puntaroli and Lorenzo Sbrinci http://www.cascatediluce.com/en/