From an early age, children are immersed in the practice of judging themselves first and foremost. Both at school and at home, there is limited access to assessment—whether rules have been followed and how particular behaviours are perceived by adults. This is more evident in schools, where there is a formal grading system for learning and behaviour.
And so, through successive generations, we are no longer taught the art of making connections with the world. Parents often do not focus on how to instil in their children a sense of belonging in a world based on abundance and self-love. Schools do not teach this either. Instead, they provide many other valuable tools, but the basic values are missing. The art of building relationships with oneself and relationships with the world is not taught, even though these shape our lives.
Mind and time management
As we get older, we acquire the skills to prioritize and manage our time properly. Sometimes we do this to our own detriment because the supply of time is not actually discussed. The school teaches about the physiological importance of sleep but makes no mention of disorders such as workaholism or poor time management.
The same is true of the issue of managing one's own thoughts. Many are supportive, but there are also those who are "products" of childhood beliefs, programs, self-sabotage, anxiety, or ego. Is anyone uncovering these layers for us and paying attention to our communication, which, after all, is the outward expression of thoughts? Communication is usually seen as a tool and not as a diagnostic image of what has accumulated over the years in our subconscious. Sometimes it is also seen in terms of judgment—what tone the child used, what words he or she used. What if communication could be treated as an ally? "Speak up, and I will listen to what is being expressed through you."
If mindfulness or meditation techniques were taught in schools, it would eliminate many of the diseases of civilization, but above all, it would foster communication—with oneself and the world. People would know how to filter their emotions, name them, wait them out, organize their thoughts, and sort them into the right boxes. We would be less rushed and more in touch with our own needs.
At the doorstep of possibility
A child on the cusp of adulthood is provided with guidance and various developmental options. They have access to knowledge and opportunities, as well as a backbone of values regarding what is allowed and appropriate. However, what often remains missing is the anchoring of personal values and self-identity. What the individual identifies with, what they belong to, and how they see themselves are essential aspects that are not always addressed.
These questions, among many others, are not typically explored in depth. This is not due to a lack of will but rather a certain pattern that prioritizes immediate needs like sustenance, shaping interests, and providing security. The realization that understanding oneself and relating to the world requires learning is often overlooked. Instead, it tends to happen spontaneously as part of the growing-up and maturing process through situational understanding and inference.
However, building a healthy relationship with oneself requires initiation and assistance. While there is no manual for this, it is crucial to give it attention so that young individuals can navigate the maze of available options, understand themselves better, and prioritize their resources accordingly. Otherwise, they might end up prioritizing things blindly, giving importance to people and activities that do not nourish or energize them. One effective strategy to help children open up and self-regulate their emotions is to ask open-ended questions that encourage deeper thinking. These questions are akin to Socratic questioning, which aims to work with beliefs and guide individuals towards personal conclusions. Examples of such questions include:
- What is my priority?
- What would my emotions say if they could speak?
- How does my body communicate through illnesses?
- What values am I investing in?
- Do I know how to relax?
- What do I learn from interacting with animals?
- How can I learn about myself?
- How do I remain myself?
- Why is it important to update my dreams?
If the questions seem too difficult, explain their meaning or create simpler ones. The areas of questions should be based on a certain ethical corpus of the child but also go deeper into the resources for managing one's own emotions. These types of questions allow you to operate on your own feelings, so children learn to give them personal meanings and priorities.
Conclusion: be an observer
In adulthood, we have the intensive work of acquiring knowledge and skills for which no one prepared us. We have to confront what we have been taught with the reality around us as well as in union with our own resources. Navigating this triad on your own is a triathlon with obstacles. Building relationships with ourselves and the world is an essential step in collectively developing communication skills. Well, we create communication as much with others as with ourselves.
The lesson of the future, therefore, is to involve parents and teachers in helping to carefully shape the personalities and emotionality of children. Without judgement or gloomy diagnosis, but with the reflection of an observer, we can touch what we access as a blessing witness.