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GET BACK YOUR KID MOJO

GET BACK YOUR KID MOJO

Children fascinate me.

The coolest thing about kids, I think, is this:  They come into this world as a bundle of wonder and curiosity.

BEGINNER MIND POWER

Kids know they don’t know, they’re hard-wired to find out, and they are absolutely single-minded in their efforts.  They are the epitome of relentless, the very best role models for persistence.

Every one of them is working on mastery.  They all want to know how to do it all well.

It doesn’t stop:  walking, talking, tying shoelaces, making friends, riding a bike, playing games, finding out how something works and why you do this and not that.  On and on and on.

halcyon-days
Halcyon Days” by Sel Felin via Flickr [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0]
They notice everything (especially the stuff the adults would rather they didn’t) and they are interested in every single little thing they encounter.

Their major mistakes are usually the result of ignorance.  They just don’t know enough yet and a lot of their plans fall apart because of that.  (That tends to give the people who care about them the heebie-jeebies, but so what?)

When they’re starting out, kids are determined to catch on and catch up.

determination
“Determination” by Susan Lloyd via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
They want to do it themselves.

They want to get good and they want to show they know what they know.

SMALL IS COOL

Kids start small.  After all, they are little and they are weak and have to depend on the Bigs around them just for survival.  (But, THAT is gonna change!  Uh-huh.)

small-steps
“Small Steps” by john mccaffrey via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]
Every time they make a misstep, it’s usually just a small hiccup in their forward progress.

The little guys haven’t gotten to the big stuff yet and if they’ve got Bigs who help to keep them mostly safe from the ordinary life-threatening stuff, kids can pick themselves up and try again…and again and again…until they get to where they want to go.

If the circumstances in their lives are harder, more unfortunate, or even downright dangerous, then the ones who survive learn more and they learn faster and often they get even better at not giving up.

ratchathewi-skytrain-stop
“Ratchathewi Skytrain Stop (Bangkok, Thailand) by drburtoni via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
Every little win is its own reward.  (One more down, what’s next?)

TIME IS ON THEIR SIDE

Kids know time is on their side.

time-is-on-my-side
“Time Is On My Side” by Daniel Novta via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
They’re going to get bigger.

They’re going to get those flabby muscles built up and that tongue moving right.

They already know how to act cute, and they are going to learn how to make friends and influence all those Bigs too.

They’re going to keep on going until they get there.

Kids only absolutely know they have Now, and Now is when they want to do something, so they work with whatever they’ve got going and they do what they can with it.

They’re going to find out everything they need to know about everything they want to know…just, EVERYTHING.

PLAY AS SERIOUS WORK

Kids also know that play is really serious work.  It’s how you learn what you need to know.

When they get the chance to play, they will go for it.  Why not?  Maybe they will learn something.

hard-at-work
“Hard at Work” by quadrant via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
You can just see the wheels turning as they play.

You can just imagine them thinking, You watch:  I’m going to get out there and I’m going to rock the world!  Yes, I am!

GETTING BACK TO THE MOJO

Sounds familiar, right?

We all started out like that.  Some of us manage to hang onto the wonder and use it to leverage ourselves up and on to doing more and more amazing things.  The rest of us wonder how come we don’t.

There are a lot of lessons you can learn about mastery by watching kids.  Here are some examples:

  • IT ALL STARTS WITH WONDER AND INTEREST.  Even as adults, we know this.  If you are not interested in something, you just don’t pay attention to it and you don’t notice the lessons that are right there in front of you.
wonder
“Wonder” by Cristian via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
  • SMALL WORKS. We’re all little compared to the Universe.  We all have limitations.  We get to where we want to go by doing what we can with what we’ve got.
vancouver-snowmen
“Vancouver Snowmen!” by danna & curious tangles via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
  • NOW IS WHEN YOU DO SOMETHING. It’s the only time when you can.  You can’t change the past.  The future is out of reach.  There really is no other when to do something.
now
“Now” by Kai Schreiber via Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]
  • PERSISTENCE AND WILL RULES. If you haven’t gotten to where you want to go yet, then that’s a sign that you’re not done yet.
persistence
“Persistence” by Jeff Sandquist via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
  • MIS-STEPS AND MISTAKES THAT DON’T KILL YOU DON’T MATTER. So you fell down.  Ouch!  Now try to get back up.  Not happening?  Well, hell…you can crawl, right?
mistaken
“Mistaken” by Paradis Photographis via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]
  • KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. Whatever you know is what you know.  What you know can be used to get to where you want to go.  What else do you want or need to know?  Go get it.
kids-at-deep-space-8k
“Kids at Deep Space 8K” by Ars Electronica via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
  • PLAY IS HOW YOU LEARN.

public-service-announcement
“Public Service Announcement” by Jason Mrachina via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
Isn’t it funny that these lessons are the same ones that we hear from all the wise guys and life counselors and self-help books?

FINAL THOUGHTS

My theory is that somehow, on our way to learning how to be adults, we got distracted by the details and have forgotten the power with which we were born.

I get the feeling that power’s still there, waiting for you to notice, and if you’ve forgotten what it looks like, then the Universe has lots and lots of little guys who can help you remember.

My own feeling is, if you’re stuck in the suck of trying to be a cog in some wheel not of your own making, the best thing you can do is watch kids…your own kids, kids belonging to your friends and family, stranger kids doing their thing, whatever.

Watch what they do.   See what works.  Do that.

This YouTube video is a compilation of jaw-dropping performances by some amazing kids.  It was put together by People Are Awesome in 2017.

Here’s a poem:


SAME LESSON

The world is a bigger cup

Than your small hands can manage.

It is heavy and close to overflowing.

The hot liquid heart-blood it holds

Burns your fingers

As you concentrate on not-dropping,

As you try yet again to

Navigate over another

Wide, slick, sparkly-clean floor.

 

Your wrists ache

And you grit your teeth.

You try, try, try,

Harder and harder,

To hold onto that cup

That seems to get heavier

As you walk along.

 

There it goes…

Another splat,

Another slip,

Another mess.

The cup’s lying there, emptied,

And all the stuff’s spread out

In one grand sploosh spattered all over

That proud new pair of shoes

As old issues come bubbling up to blindside you,

 

As the shouting starts you notice that

The issues are not even yours.

 

Toddler lessons revisited:

My small, but not my bad.

It helps to remember that

The world is heavy

And it’s way, way big for small people…

It helps to remember that

We are all small.

 

Hmmm…

Maybe we just need smaller cups.

by Netta Kanoho

Header photo credit:  “Power” by BadWolfBobbi via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]

Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you’d drop a note or comment below and tell me your thoughts.

 

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OWN IT

OWN IT

Among the treasure trove of ideas in Seth Godin’s book, POKE THE BOX, is this one:  No one has influence, control, or confidence in their work (or any other area of their life) until they understand how to initiate change and predict how a thing will respond.

The “box” Godin is talking about in his title is any complex bit of your life that you want to understand better with the goal of making your interaction with it more effective.

The “box” might be that brand-new computer program, just sitting there waiting for you to poke at the buttons on your machine and make the new do-dad do things, make it dance.

The “box” might be a market you want to tackle and make sit up and take notice of you.  Maybe that “market” is just one special somebody whose attention you crave.  It might be a customer or it might be your boss or maybe a somebody you’d like to be significant in your life.

Whatever the “box” is, the thing is a puzzle that can be solved in only one way – by poking.

POKING IS A WAY OF BUILDING A PRACTICE

My brother Michael was an intrepid bug explorer in his youth.  He was forever hunkered down, watching lines of ants or other critters, chasing down caterpillars and watching them turn into butterflies, studying spiders in their webs, and grabbing up crickets and grasshoppers.

caterpillar-on-finger
“Caterpillar On Finger” by Tom Phillips via Flickr [CC BY-2.0]
He spent hours watching what the little guys did, poking at them with fingers and sticks, seeing how they moved and what made them do things differently.

When you do THIS, what happens?  When you do THAT, what happens?  Hey, it ALWAYS does this when I do that!  Wow!  Now, why did it do that? 

Michael sure did learn a lot about bugs.  They were his “box.”  After a while he got really good at knowing what assorted bugs did and how and why.  He turned an initial wonderment into a passion and that passion became a sort of practice for him.

ANOTHER KIND OF OWNERSHIP

In a similar way, if you poke at your own puzzles, your “box” reveals itself.  As you get better at questioning and poking, you not only get smarter but you also gain what Godin calls “ownership.”

You step into the box and make it your own.

boy-in-a-box
“Boy In a Box” by David Dodge via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
Godin’s kind of ownership does not have to be equity or even control.  Ownership comes from understanding and from having the power to make things happen.   “Ownership” is another name for mastery and influence.

THE WONDER OF IT ALL

It all begins with that sense of wonder, and it begins by asking questions and looking for some answers:

  •  How does this work?
  • Why does it do that?
  • How can I make it do something else?
  • Can I do this with it?  What about that?
  • What are its limits?
  • Can I expand those limits?
  • What happens when I do?

As you unravel your puzzles and wander around in your mysteries you’ll find your own answers.  As you test your conclusions in the real world, seeing whether the things you’ve thunk actually work outside the confines of your own head, you will develop own your way of walking.

peace-of-mind
“Peace of mind…” by Lalit Shahane via Flickr [CC BY-ND 2.0]

GUIDED BY THE ANSWERS

Consistently asking your questions and faithfully following where the answers lead you eventually gets you to a place where nobody else can answer the questions you still have.  By then you’ll have built yourself a practice and a method and means for exploring this world you’ve discovered.

The answers you start finding and following are going to be different than the run-of-the-mill, regular ones.  You’ve already gone past those everybody-knows-that answers.

breakthrough-green-road-sign
“Breakthrough Green Road Sign” by Wonder woman0731″ via Flickr [CC BY-2.0]
If you do it right and don’t fall down some pothole or other and the creek don’t rise, maybe you’ll spark up more questions that other people can use to construct their own paths.

THE QUESTION-BOX HEADS OUT

It all starts with being aware.  It all starts with noticing.  It all starts with a determination to go where the answers to your questions lead you.

Godin says, “Winners turn initiative into a passion and a practice.”  With his book, he shows you a way of doing just that.

The following YouTube video, “Make Your Life Spectacular,” was published by Goalcast and is a tribute to one of my favorite funny guys, the late Robin Williams.  What a heartful man!

Here’s a poem, constructed for one who followed his questions:


HYMN FOR A LINED FACE

Of all the wonders World displays

Not one can match your face.

What is the meaning of this line,

Or that one that I trace?

 

This deep one here, from eye to chin,

What sorrow etched it there?

The others feathering everywhere

Show pains and joys quite clear.

 

I would not want some lover with

A face smooth as an egg,

That shows a quiet life unlived,

No cup drunk to the dregs.

 

You are a wonderment to me,

A glory and a joy,

Behind the marks of a life lived large,

I see a luminous boy.

by Netta Kanoho

Header photo credit:  “mystery box” by spinster cardigan via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]

Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you’d drop a comment or note below and tell me your thoughts.

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WHOLE BRAIN PLAY

WHOLE BRAIN PLAY

I notice that many of the people making comments about the offerings in this thing seem to be separating Left and Right Brain like this:

This is Creative —–> [Right Brain]

< —– This is NOT Creative [Left Brain]

The thing is we (people) are really not half-a-brain.  We are WHOLE brains and both halves are needed whether we want to be Makers or Takers, Movers and Shakers, or Wakers or Fakers.  There seems to be this Great Divide in people’s minds, but, for real, it is an illusion.

RIGHT BRAIN PROFILE

Right Brain, the guys-who-know tell us, grounds us in the here-and-now.  It helps us see what is right in front our noses and allows us to take in any kind of knowledge and sink it down into our bones.

For example, Right Brain helps a car mechanic understand that the clunking or whiny noise you hear is happening because some little gizmo in a very complex machine has worn out and is screwing up the works.

Right Brain raises the hackles on the back of your neck when you meet someone and the warning klaxons go off in your head because you “just know” THIS guy is NOT your friend.

Right Brain starts a warm glow in the pit of your stomach when you’re surrounded by the happiness of family and friends.

LEFT BRAIN PROFILE

On the other hand, they tell us, it’s Left Brain that can wander through your memories of the past and your visions of the future.

It’s Left Brain that can gather together all of the different alternatives and options, just-the-facts-ma’m stuff, and piles them all in a heap.  It’s Left Brain that develops the linear processes that help you make some dream come true, that helps you build a something out of all the Nothing that is really only-just potential until you put your hand to it.

HALF-BRAIN COMMUNICATIONS

Right Brain and Left Brain have to work together, making a synergy that gets everything slotted in place so you can build the worlds that have meaning and mana for you.

Smooth-running doesn’t happen automatically.  The brain-halves communicate differently, for one thing.  Left Brain uses words and numbers and other mind-constructs like symbols and metaphors.  Right Brain uses pictures, smells, tastes, sounds, and body feelings.

It’s kind of like a game of charades between a talkative computational device and a doofus St. Bernard puppy.  It can get frustrating trying to round up all those lemming thoughts and trying to get monkey-mind to settle down long enough to connect the dots.

ALL TOGETHER NOW

One way that can help facilitate a meeting of your own brains is what I call “poetry-mind.”  You use it to build bridges between your two half-brains so you can get input from both of them as you work on building your worlds.

It starts with knowledge and respect.

  • You need to know what each of your half-brains is capable of doing and what each one cannot do.
  • You need to respect each of your half-brain’s strengths and understand where each half-brain falls down.

Think about it:  You have your own Human Resources Department in your head and you are both the Operations Manager as well as the CEO in this lash-up.  You will not expect your little old grandma bookkeeper to run out and dig up and turn the soil in a new garden plot.  It’s not the best use of her time or her particular knowledge.

In the same way, as you learn more about what each of your half-brains can and cannot do, you’ll be able to marshal your forces better and use them more effectively.  It’s likely you will end up with a viable and sustainable way of doing what you want to do, it seems to me.

MIND GAMING

For the past few decades, with the evolution of technology, there have been innumerable studies by neuro-this or –that scientists looking at how the brain works.  These new findings have sparked a diversity of new thinking about how being human works (or doesn’t).  Each new and exciting discovery gets reiterated, trashed, and re-hashed as every psychologist, philosopher, life coach, and know-it-all neighbor weighs in with some kind of opinion about the ramifications of every revelation.

By the time you’ve looked into this fascinating subject by reading a plethora of books, checking out online resources and listening to assorted in-the-know people talk, you will probably gather some exercises or suggestions that can help you make connections between your two brain-halves.

As you play this way, it will get easier and easier to use your whole brain to work on solutions for any problems you encounter.  This is a very good thing.

SO….

In a nutshell, here is the THREE-STEP WHOLE-BRAIN PROGRAM

  1. Get to know your half-brains, your Right Brain and your Left Brain.
  2. Introduce your half-brains to each other and encourage courtesy and respect.
  3. Let your half-brains play together and see what they make together.

It may amaze you…

SEED THOUGHTS AND SUGGESTIONS:

  • Check out the “A Very Short Course on the Brain” video on the http://wholebrainteaching.com/ website for the latest theory on how the brain learns. The site has a lot of information about Whole Brain Teaching, which has become all the rage among more progressive middle school educators.  The kids and the teachers who work with it seem to be having a lot of fun.  Whether the method is more than a fad remains to be seen.
  • One of my all-time favorite books is THE INTUITIVE BODY: Aikido as a Clairsentient Practice by Wendy Palmer.  In it, Palmer draws on the principles of martial arts and meditation to present a unique method for cultivating awareness, attention and self-acceptance.  In the intervening years since 1994 when this book came out, Palmer has developed her embodiment learning practices into a system called “Consciousness Embodiment and Intuition Training.”  It is quite fascinating.
  • Check out the “Laughter Works…Pathways to Healthful Living” website by Kay Caskey and Laurie Young: http://laughways.com.  It looks like a lot of fun.

And here’s a poem:


WONDER

 Wonder is the child of mystery.

It really is what makes history.

Wonder taps the inner spring

That flows through all the everything.

When wonder calls, a haunting cry,

It bids your heart to spread wings and fly.

The dull gray world-clouds fade away

As you romp with wonder in numinous play.

The world turns real and so do you,

When wonder transforms familiar into new.

And when it’s all real again and true,

Then new gates open and invite you through.

Mystery always opens for her wonder child,

Her gifts she gives freely to wonder running wild.

And if you follow wonder’s spiraling way,

What marvels!  What joys!  What fun in the play!

By Netta Kanoho

Picture:  Brains by Cat Branchman via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]

Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you’d drop a comment or note below.

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