The Principle of Imitation is everything
If there is one thing I am grateful for, it is the knowledge that imitation is everything when it comes to raising and teaching little children.
Every single day, I can see this principle in action.
When we are aware of this fact, then the role of educating a child becomes an active, rather than passive, verb.
That is, we plan and prepare, rather than letting it happen to us! We can use every teeny tiny action and activity as a learning opportunity.
Being with little children on a day to day basis, and the things we must do over and over, is no longer repetitious or boring, as we can use the Principle of Imitation as a meditative tool and instruction for the development of our spiritual/soulful lives. There are bonuses on both sides of the equation- for the children and for you. This is a big treat!
We can look at it like this:
There are at least three ways to wash dishes.
1. We can wash up the dishes and have our heads in the clouds (or in how we think tomorrow might unfold), paying little to no attention to the task at hand, yet they still get done.
2. Or, we can wash up the dishes and strive (STRIVE, STRIVE!!!!) to keep our mind on the job, taking the time to enjoy the soapy bubbles, to get into the flow of swirling the sponge round and round in a clockwise direction, feeling the cold water run over our fingers as we rinse and stacking the dishes carefully to make the smallest amount of noise. Of course, sometimes we just want them done. But other times, we can use washing up as a way to centre our thinking and catch our minds before they drift off.
3. Or we can just use the dishwasher!
When we are with little children, we too have a choice of at least three ways to be with them.
We can ‘get it done’, we can ‘do it mindfully’ or we can ‘pass the job on’.
It is probably impossible (unless maybe you are Buddha) to be mindful on the job 24 hours a day. But we can strive for ten minutes, a couple of times a day, to be the best role model for imitation
that we can be.
We might spend those minutes being aware of the tone of our voice or how we help the child to reach their own goals. We might include them in our tasks, move around the room with more ‘grace’ and fluidity than usual, or acknowledge their questions.
At the end of the day, when I recall all the good and not-so-good moments, it is the minutes that I spent in mindfulness with the children that often stand out as rewarding for all of us. It inspires me to try again tomorrow.
I’d love to know what you think!