Creative-C Learning: The Innovative Kindergarten
©2015 Peter Fritz Walter. Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
— Chapter 7 : Love, Self-Love, and the Heart
‘Creative-C Learning’ presents a pre-school curriculum for a sane, holistic, brainsmart and systemliterate education of small children. The author’s educational approach is tailored to how our brain works and develops from ages 2 to 6. It’s a functional approach, not an idealistic one, based on the actual constitution of the human being, with all the complexity inherent in it.
The author contends that children are born sane and are rendered more or less insane by an educational system that till now considers the human being as the impossible human, that is, a creature that is basically faulty and has to be improved and upgraded by education, and morality. The present view opposes this age-old educational paradigm and shows that traditional education brings about fragmentation, ignorance and widespread violence.
The present curriculum emphasizes the natural integrity and wholeness of the small child, who is by nature a systems thinker. The curriculum builds upon this fact and presents a way to raise pre-schoolers in a learning environment that fosters systemic thinking capabilities, so that children become systemliterate at a young age.
The author also emphasizes the need for teaching emotional awareness to teachers and presents techniques to be applied in the vocational training for early child care workers and pre-school teachers that teach how to cope with stress, and that show the details of the trustbuilding process both between teachers and students and between parents and teachers.
The audience for this guide are all those involved in educating children, as well as educational policy makers, also parents, educational associations, politicians, pediatricians and child psychologists, and also the lay public, especially those who are looking for a new way to educate children now and in the future.
Chapter 7 : Love, Self-Love, and the Heart
Nobody can teach us to love others or ourselves. To believe it is naive. Whoever loves himself loves others.
Why does one love himself and another hates herself? It’s a question of self-respect. Self-respect can’t be taught. When children grow in a milieu where they are respected and loved, they have enough self-respect. Everybody will agree.
What to do when they lack self-respect? This question is often veiled in traditional education by the command ‘Love Another As Yourself.’ Nice command, really, when you don’t love yourself. Read it: LAAY, sounds like ‘LIE’ — right?
You can’t quantify self-respect, you can’t quantify love. You can’t teach it. If you are honest, you can’t even talk about it. What you can do is live it, live by being full of love, respecting others by respecting yourself, by having high self-respect.
When you see that, you become aware that the only one who can be possibly addressed for being taught these values, is yourself, the educator. People who talk a lot about love do not love. Children know to love, and they do it daily, but never talk about it. They do it spontaneously, they love as they breathe, as they eat, as their sleep, as they play.
Loving is something real, and something living for the natural child, not something to worry about, to think about, to make a hassle about. If you know children, you know that what I am saying is correct. Tell your preferred child ‘I love you’ and watch the reaction …
How will the child react? Will they burst of joy? I guarantee you that they will not waver, and look at you without expression, even if you say it one hundred times. Simply because they don’t understand what you are saying. An adolescent, yes, he or she may blush and feel uneasy, and perhaps even reply ‘I love you, too!’ But a small child will not understand what you are saying, while they do well understand loving gestures, tenderness, smiles, and the love you give them by granting them enough freedom and autonomy for growing into life.
What is the secret that children are so fresh and charming, and their teachers so odd and boring? It is that the child is connected to their body and many adults have lost that connection. In other words, many adults are not body-conscious, they are self-conscious.
The small child develops and grows to make the transition from the world-between-worlds and this present world. When the child accepts their body and knows it, they incarnate fully in this body, and this in turn is the condition for realizing excellent physical and mental health and emotional balance.
Children who are psychotic or assessed with schizophrenia simply are not incarnated in their bodies; they are floating in the air, lacking grounding. Their first chakra is blocked and they are barely conscious of their body.
Only on the basis of the full acceptance of the body can we build a sane education, and as a result, a sane society!
How do we build self-esteem in children when their minds are pervaded with compulsive morality?
It should be obvious that self-esteem cannot be build on shame, and body-denial, it can’t be built on denial, but on acceptance. To bring about emotional and mental sanity, all denial of nature has to be rendered conscious; once you are conscious that you are actually working against nature in all your are doing, you will change. The very awareness of your denial attitude will bring the change, and open you for embracing nature as a result.
Beauty, physical beauty, is not a chance event either but a result of body acceptance and of body denial. There is no inborn beauty. We form our body through our thoughts. When we think beautiful thoughts, our body will be beautiful, when we think ugly thoughts our body will be ugly.
A child who accepts their body thinks of their body as something precious, beautiful and unique, something to love, to cherish, to adorn, something to show to others. At any moment in your life, when you fix your attention on what is ugly, you render your life more ugly; at any moment you contemplate beauty, you will be more beautiful as a result.
This is the law of consciousness, the law of resonance; what we focus our attention on, we bring about in our life, we realize, and we strengthen.
In a consciousness-based educational background, and with teachers who work there not because of the payroll but because of their motivation to educate, children build high self-love. All lies and sentimental falseness adults exhibit toward children as a result of society’s repression of children’s sensuality negatively infringes upon children’s beauty, sense of identity, and outgoingness.
How can somebody who is pervaded by murky feelings about himself or herself build a really embracing attitude toward life, and become positive and outgoing? It is impossible.
Think about it. Most of us have suffered from having belonged to society, to our parents, to religious authorities, but not to ourselves, in our younger years, and this is why our identity is weak and fragile. That is why so many of us are constantly suffering from emotional stress, and from recurring anxiety and depressions, that is why we are only randomly positive toward life, if we are not outright negative for some hours every day.
Sanity cannot be built on the soil of a distorted emotional life early in childhood, it cannot be built on the grave of freedom, not upon oppression and denial of our most basic longings.
An educator who really loves children expresses this love without shame, and without bothering what others ‘think’ about it. A loving educator will tell the child that he or she is beautiful and desirable; there is no need to say it verbally, as it can be conveyed by body language, by gestures, by smiles and a warm, empathetic and accepting attitude. The educator can only do that when being affectional, not when being cold, principle-minded and ‘dogmatic.’
Under the spell of postmodern fundamentalism, this cannot be done; the inevitable result is that our children’s basic integrity and psychosomatic health will be gravely impaired. Our present generation of children won’t have more chances than we had to develop into sane and happy citizens; they are perhaps in a worse situation because of the power of the postmodern media culture that hypnotizes them with uniform monolithic messages that put up the consumer child up as the cultural model.
The often appalling vulgarity of children in postmodern international consumer culture, their ruthless egotism, their lack of respect and tact in the face of others, even older people, their egocentrism and their addiction to objects, all that is the direct result of the consumer paradigm; children who know their bodies and who are conscious of their behavior will attract praise and encouragement naturally.
Of course, in authoritarian cultures children are building behavior patterns that are pleasing, smooth, smart and gentle, yet the question remains if such behaviors are authentic or if they are just polish?
This is also the reason why children in the past showed much more mature behavior, and were by far more responsible in their overall attitude than modern consumer children. The reason is that children were given more responsibility in the past, while today they are supposed to ‘just play.’
Natural growth cycles have been distorted through our prolonged educational cycle, while still in the Middle-Ages society did not distort the natural evolutionary cycles and boys and girls married around the age of puberty.
But all this is quite relative as an insight for good behavior is ultimately not the result of discipline but the result of love, love given and love received!
There are a number of psychologists and child therapists who speak on the same lines as I am doing it in this book, and who urge society to give up its judgmental rigidity and open up to embracing the emotional nature of the child, not as a matter of controversy and academic ‘discussion’ but as an open path toward a possibly sane society of the future.
There is no long-term physical health without a sanely balanced life where the self is not pervaded by guilt and shame, nor by obsessions and perversions, but imbedded in sane relationships with others. As a slogan I would coin it in ‘Humans are sane when they are fully human.’
The self-regulated child is obviously smarter, more mature in dealings with others, more respectful, more outgoing, more social and less egotistic, and very little narcissistic, and way more balanced than the bulk of repressed and emotionally deprived, unhappy children that are still today our cultural model.
The most important, to begin with, is that educators are not persecutory in their general attitude, that they don’t insist to know all, that they are not following up the child everywhere when they want to retire in their little corner with a little friend, or alone …, which means nothing but having a respectful and yielding attitude toward the child’s intimate life, even where this respect would go against the outdated rules of the establishment.
The dedicated educator will prefer to change institutions rather than giving up their pro-child and pro-life approach in matters of education, and their dedication to the best for the child!
That’s why when put under pressure by educational authorities, excellent educators will not comply with death education wherever it is practiced, and wherever, as a result, the sanity of children is sacrificed on the altar of social convention, but stay true to their convictions — and look for another employer, or open their own school!
Mere intellectual knowledge that is not rooted in our affective life is devoid of meaning as it cannot be integrated in the whole of the personality. This is so much the more important when we are talking about children between ages two and six. For the small child, all knowledge is mediated by the body, for reaching the mind, and not the other way around.
You can compare the acquisition of knowledge with building a house. When we build a house, we have to begin with the foundation, the root, the base layer. The earth and base layer of the human is our feet, and not our head. That’s where we touch Mother Earth. And the first chakra is the lowest, the closed to the earth, and it’s through the first chakra that we absorb and assimilate the Earth’s energies. It is through knowledge about the body and its pleasure function that the child begins to construe the foundation of his or her life; this is not a knowledge that can be given at school, it’s to be given by the home, the parents, and siblings, and the child’s own body as a wistful teacher. Sexual knowledge is by no means intellectual knowledge and the moment it is intellectualized, it is distorted.
Research on kindergarten and primary school children in the San Diego Bay Area in the United States has shown that the established system of sex education renders children emotionally confused, if not bewildered, because it’s not a knowledge they can integrate if they lack direct sensual experience.
It’s actually total madness when you think about it; one must be insane to think of the idea to teach children ‘sex’ while at the same time doing all to deprive them from experiencing it! Only a deeply schizoid society can get such nonsensical ideas!
All sexual knowledge is knowledge about life. As such, it is too vast to fit in a residual concept called ‘procreation;’ it is a holistic and systemic knowledge about the networked and hologram-like interconnectedness of all living systems.
This knowledge can only be acquired gradually by direct observation of nature, on one hand, and by living naturally, and sexually, on the other. Sexual knowledge is knowledge that must be balanced by the whole of the body-mind-emotions entity, if it is to be useful.
So far the reader may have gained the impression that for sane education emotional and sexual freedom of the child alone are needed, together with emotional maturity on the side of parents and educators. This would however be a reduction of what I am saying, as things are not as simple as that. And I have included this paragraph here to clarify matters.
Let me give an example. For a ship to float on the water it is necessary to check that there are no leaks in the boat, but that alone is not enough to steer the ship safely through the ocean. For this to happen, a captain is needed who steers the ship, and who knows the waters. Now, for a ship to journey, both is obviously needed, no leaks, and a steerer. With education it is the same. So far I was talking about all the leaks that are in the boat of modern education and I was giving ideas of how to construe a new boat that doesn’t leak.
But I was of course assuming all the way through the book that the boat of education will have to be properly steered!
Who steers the boat of life, is it sexual freedom, is it autonomy, is it emotional balance? Or are these conditions only the basis, the foundation as it were of sane education?
I believe the latter is true, and that the steerer of life, of love and of sane education is the heart, the human heart. I believe that it’s the qualities of the heart that direct our lives toward meaning, toward purpose, toward joy, toward fulfillment, and toward goodness!
This is basically what all our religions are saying, only that they say it with too many words. The divine steerer in us is the heart, and connected to the heart, a natural striving for goodness, for positive impact upon self and others, and for harmony with all-that-is.
This is a spiritual desire, within all of us, and within all children, while an education based solely on ‘material’ conditions will not satisfy the complete human because the values of the heart are not necessarily fulfilled when I am free, when I have autonomy, when I have a fulfilled sex life, when my emotions are balanced, and my mind is sharp. Not only my research on Shamanism and on native populations, but in a way my whole life showed me that the desire for religio with the whole of creation, call it God, or otherwise, is ultimately the quest to understanding the meaning and purpose of one’s existence.
All native cultures value art, and natural spirituality, while they are considered ‘poor’ according to modern standards. In truth, spiritually speaking, they are richer than all consumer cultures taken together!
The human soul expresses its originality always in paradoxes, and it cannot be reduced to social values only; this means that caring for a child to meet their needs is not all there is to draft a sane, consciousness-based education, an education that helps the child discover the true meaning of life, and that leads to joy of living, to a purposeful direction and to harmonious social relations. It would be a misunderstanding if the reader thought I took so much time for explaining how to meet children’s true needs for reducing the whole of the educational quest to the mere satisfaction of needs and natural longings!
No, I believe that having our meets met is not enough to give us the spiritual direction and fulfillment we long for, as a natural and authentic quest of the human soul.
Shamanism is an effective guidepost for reentering the realm of nature’s wisdom and true connectedness to all-that-is. People caught in the biological, scientific or social little critter of life often forget to open the windows of their inner house to see the greater picture. This greater view of life isn’t possible when you stay on the biological and social levels of the human; while these levels, to repeat it, are important, they are not all there is to make a human life meaningful and ultimately successful.
While I do not think it’s useful to talk about ‘spirituality’ as a special independent quest of the human, because spiritual values can’t be separated from our soul values and not even from our social values, there is no human being on this globe, big or small, that is not spiritual. This is simply so. In all of us, there is an inner quest, which lives in us alongside our quest for having our needs met, and the two quests are not contradictory in the ideal case. They can be contradictory when the mindset is schizoid and emotions are not balanced, but not in the case when the person has received a positive, and life-affirming education.
I have always seen that people whose inner setup is basically sane do not stress spirituality or religion as something distinct from basic goodness, and they in most cases not even mention these words in their daily exchanges with others. While they live these values through their attitude, their way to meet and respect others, their capacity to really listen to others, they are spontaneously supporting those in need.
This is actually what all our religions ask us to do, it’s that we irradiate natural goodness, and conduct positive, meaningful existences that leave a trace, and bring light to the world, and others. Only that most people as it were take the finger that points to the Moon, for the Moon, and they worry about the specific precepts of their particular religion, the little critter, while they overlook that the details are of minor importance compared to the ultimate goal they contribute to realize.
Now, how to realize this in education, without losing the regard on the whole of the question, without arrogantly trumpeting one should give children a ‘spiritual’ education, and without getting stuck in the little critter of religious dogma and ritual? Honestly, there is not much we can do about it, but quite a lot we can stop doing about it.
First of all, educators who are not complete humans because they have not responded to their spiritual longing, cannot do the job. It’s similar with shamanic healing; our doctors give us medicaments for healing us, but the shaman takes himself the medicine that is going to heal the patient. When the educator is a complete human, they don’t really need to do anything to bring spiritual values over to the children they are around day by day. That happens automatically, as a matter of personal charisma or telepathy or morphic resonance, however you want to explain it.
But as I said earlier, there is much that educators can stop doing for not negatively interfering with the spiritual quest that is dormant in every single child. The most damaging kind of interference, in this context, is to establish a ‘religion class’ or even to call the whole of the educational method a ‘religious education.’
This, in my opinion, will from the start destroy the seed that naturally loving relations sow for fostering spiritual growth. Where there is love, spiritual growth is present on both ends of the relationship, and there is nothing additional needed to happen, to do, to trigger or to manage for the child to become a truly spiritual and wistful person.
I had not really a problem with integrating my spiritual values. I didn’t need to depart for a forest existence, didn’t need to buy special clothes, didn’t sell my car and didn’t need to sign up for a ‘spiritual workshop.’
In other words, I did not need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I had no problem living a comfortable life and yet be considerate and caring toward others, and I was praying the years through when I was oppressed, and poor, and am equally praying the years through now, rich and in peace, enjoying a comfortable life.
I was doing charity work that ruined my health in the years I was poor, and depended on scholarships, and I was publishing all my writings for free over the course of the last fifteen years. I do not reflect if when I am doing things for others, without personal gain, I am ‘spiritual’ or whatever. I am just myself. I cannot honestly understand people when they are using those categories, and engage small talk about those matters. It embarrasses me, to a point I never attend such kind of social meetings. In my life, there was always a continuity. I used to be an agnostic in my student years, and I am no more an agnostic since many years, but my lifestyle didn’t change, nor my basic convictions, nor my literary and musical interests.
I think it’s absolute nonsense when parents or educators suddenly are on the ‘spiritual’ track and from day one of their new lifestyle tell children they’d better pray every day, better eat vegetarian food, better be always nice and loving to others, and always do good, because the world is so bad … it’s simply ridiculous!
The world doesn’t change if you are a materialist nerd or an enlightened sage; the only thing that changes is your regard upon the world. You can keep the whole of your lifestyle, and you don’t need to infringe upon the other, material, social and emotional values you cherished once you feel you are beginning to embrace spiritual values.
When you do that, you are actually leading a split existence. To split life off in a spiritual and a non-spiritual part is not philosophical, it’s schizoid, and when you do that when you educate children, you better change your job, or remain a simple human, without ‘spiritual’ pretensions.
I believe religions are a natural attempt for an integrative lifestyle, for completeness, not more and not less; they are an attempt to catalogue spirituality, to make it like an alphabet where you can read the letters from A to Z, where you can write down what actually can’t be written, can’t be said and can’t be expressed in verbal language. So actually, religions are an impossible thing because they attempt doing something which is impossible, that is, to express the divine with the words of the world the divine created for manifesting itself.
Naturally, the divine can only be expressed through itself, the divine; accordingly, it expresses itself through divine language. That happens when two sages sit together for an hour; they don’t need to talk, because the inner god of one speaks with the inner god of the other, so divine is talking to divine. In such a case, there is spiritual communication.
In writing a book called Holy Bible, those who wrote it certainly wished to establish spiritual communication with the reader; but this attempt is accidented, simply because the communication media is inadequate.
As for myself, I do read once in a while in the Bible, in the Vedas, in Buddhist textbooks, in the Koran, in Sufi literature, in the Kabbalah and its interpretation by famous Rabbis, and all this does good to me. I do not think this activity really brings me immediate spiritual knowledge and insight; it may trigger a quest for higher spiritual evolution, it may be the beginning of a road to take, or it may subtly influence my actions and decisions.
But it’s not something I would qualify as ‘spiritual,’ simply because, as I pointed out above, language is an inadequate tool for communicating spiritual knowledge. What study of the scriptures can well effect is to trigger spiritual insight as an indirect consequence, as an inflow of divine purpose, through other than verbal channels.
I would like to apply this idea to education; it means that educators actually should not talk about spirituality, but live as much as possible in accordance with the spiritual values they subscribe to and have accepted as guidelines for conduct. Then they will, as a matter of resonance, bring about the light, the joy, and the goodness that shines within them.
I might have been a bit extreme once in a while when talking about the nonsensical values of our postmodern consumer society. But that does not mean I am against material wealth, comfort, safety, computers, or generally, technological progress. It’s nonsensical, I think, to be ‘against technology’ because such an idea actually blows up technology to something much bigger as it is, it gives too much importance to technology. What is technology? It’s a tool, nothing more, and nothing less.
The MacBook Pro laptop I am writing this book on is a tool for my creative expression. It serves me through its perfect typeset and layout possibilities, besides through its harmonious and clean design; it also enriches my living space, and brings beauty and order in my life.
Through the technological possibilities that this modern computer offers me, my life is easier, my managing time, deadlines and events is facilitated, my office work is eased and brings proper results, the design of my books, letters, brochures and emails is bordering professional quality, and besides, it’s really so silent that I can collect my thoughts for expressing them in my books.
Furthermore, I can record and digitally produce my piano music using this computer as a production studio. So to summarize, this material object, this laptop, gives me more than just material comfort; it also positively meets some of my spiritual longings, such as my need for aesthetic surroundings, for beauty, and for effective self-expression as a writer, designer, counselor, artist, and musician.
It’s often in my observation an excuse for honest dialogue when people jump to condemning ‘technology’ or ‘modern lifestyle’ in order to put the stress on their particular religion or ideology. They may not have done their homework, and may foster an ambiguous, yet inarticulate attitude toward the material world.
They may live that way but when they begin to educate children, they begin to be a disturbing influence because children are naturally accepting the material world. Children are actually very wistful because they don’t need to reject the material world for being more-than-material; by not rejecting material values, and wealth, children can naturally expand within the world, without rejecting the world.
That is the best attitude we can have, and it is expressed by Zen in the words ‘The sage lives in the world but is not entangled with the world.’ And this is, then, all I have to say on this subject.
©2015 Peter Fritz Walter. Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.