“Be the change …”

by tamarjacobson

Quote of the day:

… But it's just so much harder to do the inside work. Gandhi didn't say, do it. He said, be it. "Be the change …" What does that mean?

Does that mean if I want others to listen, I must become a listener? Does it mean that if I want children to eat nutritional foods, I must become a healthy eater? Does it mean that if I want the world to be a place of peace, I must deal with the negative issues inside my head? Does it really mean that all the expectations I have for people in my life, all the hopes and dreams I have for the world, have to be grounded deep within me?

What a lot of work I have to do. To change myself takes so much energy. Bonnie Neugebauer, from: "Speaking," in Exchange. July/August 2011

I have been wondering what interests me most in the work I do with teachers and young children. After all, I have been in this field since I was … um … 19 … hm … 62 now … doing the math as I write, I come up with 43 years. Since my first years as a preschool/kindergarten teacher I must say I have been consistent in my interests and beliefs about teaching young children. Relationships has been at the core of my life's work. But more specifically, how my own early childhood emotional and psychological development affects my interactions and relationships with young children and their families. 

For a few weeks I thought I would shift the focus and explore children and technology. After all, I adore blogging, social networks, the Internet, my iPad, iPhone, and computer. Far from being a luddite, I have theories, questions and ideas about young children's interactions with cyberspace. Indeed, it is a vast and current topic. Fits in with the times – fashionable.

However, everything I consider brings me back to the effects of human relationships on brain development, the psyche, behavior, confidence, self-worth, achievement, social acceptance … what could be more important than all this I wonder?

Exploring my early childhood through therapy, I recently discovered that during my earliest years, I created a fantasy world, slipping into it through playing with dolls, or day dreaming about knights in shining armor saving me, and acts of extraordinary bravery that I would one day perform to save others. Joan of Arc became my hero. In fact, that way, I did not have to face my every day life at all. I understood that this could be one of the reasons I have very few memories of my early childhood. I submerged my feelings, desires, needs – my Self, and disappeared behind a fantasy life.

Nowadays I find myself searching for that long, lost little girl, yearning to discover her in order to better understand the adult me of today. In fact, I find myself unearthing me through relationship with my adult Self, here and now. I study carefully, observe and listen to what I am feeling or what I think I need – desire. I carefully separate out the fantasy with reality, and hold still with my fears. 

Relating to my Self means better understanding human relationships in general.

Bonnie concludes her piece, "Speaking:"

Just as the doing is a journey, the being is a pathway. I can't suddenly, immediately, be thin or physically fit. Being takes time and it can happen while we are doing. It's the mindset that matters.

Doing is out there, being is within ourselves. Doing can change others and the world. Being changes and enables us. Being gives us the strength and commitment to keep doing. "Be the change …" Exchange, July/August 2011.

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: The Green Buddha