To teach kids you have to think like a kid. Think about that for a moment. When was the last time you let yourself think like a kid? How the heck do you think kids think anyway?! What do their thoughts look like? Do they think in pictures or words or sounds? Do they think about the future or base their reasoning on the past?
Let’s stop there. First of all, if anyone’s ever going to figure this one out, the first thing we need to do is drop the word “think” from our vocabulary.
How about we start here: when was the last time you felt totally in your body? The last time you were moved by sensation… to laugh, sigh, squeal, yell, or cry. Don’t think about why (oopps… no thinking!). Just remember the feelings you had inside. Soak in this feeling for a moment and read on when you’re ready.
Teaching Kids vs. Training Kids
In Western culture, there is a strong lean towards dualistic separatism, meaning there is black and there is white, but there is no grey. Likewise, there are teachers and there are those being taught, or trained so to say. This separatism creates a subtle imbalance, a stagnation between student and teacher, a choke in education that hampers progress. This form of education keeps kids from thinking creatively and letting their mind and heart journey where it desires.
Children are truly brilliant and we have much to learn from them. Teens and young adults as well, have masterfully creative minds that when let loose can and will effect the future of this world.
Teaching Kids With a “Beginner’s Mind”
There’s a term used in Zen Buddhism and Japanese martial arts called Shoshin. It can be closely translated as beginner’s mind. Beginner’s mind is an attitude of openness, a way of seeing the world without preconceptions and desires of how things “should be.”
Viewing life through a beginner’s mind is seeing clearly: seeing everything that is without a particular lens to look through. In fact, it’s being able to put on all sorts different lenses, seeing the world in all the various ways that are possible and still being able to come back to the center and simply see what is.
In the early ages of life, this is how children think, to use the word loosely. It’s more like experiencing, feeling, sensing, and knowing. When babies crawl around touching things, tasting things, smelling things, listening, and seeing, they’re experiencing that precious state of openness, a beginner’s mind. As they grow, they begin to learn logic, which is of course helpful, yet not at the sake of losing touch with that powerful sense of pure being.
So we should really say that thinking like a kid, is not thinking at all, or at least not thinking in the way we understand thoughts. Now of course, we can utilize our more mature, experienced adult mind to create doors and pathways for children to blossom into whole beings capable of merging logical reasoning and pure being.
Being Like a Kid, Thinking Like an Adult: The Master’s Way
Again, I must bring up the concept of teacher vs. student. We can see each other as one and the same if we’re willing to transcend the idea of teacher vs. those being taught. We have so much to learn from children about beginner’s mind and the sense of pure being. When I work with kids I feel like I learn just as much from them as they do from me.
All of us… infants, children, teens, and adults alike, are moving towards a fully matured masterful state of being: wholeness, enlightenment, self-progress, whatever. However you define it, we’re learning how to be the best people possible. We’ve evolved to use logic, to create things, use technology, expand and explore the world we live in. We’ve ventured out and have become adults. Now let us become kids again. It’s not about dropping logic and reasoning or “dumbing down.” Thinking like a kid can merge with what we already know as adults to become fully mature, whole, and masterful.
Interested in teaching Kids Yoga? Check out Casey’s upcoming training. Train online by clicking here to find out more. Or if you live in the Colorado area, or willing to fly in for the weekend, click here.
Namaste & Play