Some of the most precious observations come out of the mouths of very young children. That happened at our house recently, when my wife and I entertained friends with two young boys, ages 2 and 4. The four-year-old helped me to build a fire in the fireplace. After it got going and the licks of fire were going up around the logs he stepped back from the heat and said, “It looks like dancing.” His dad and I looked at each other and could only smile. Mindfulness 101. Perfect. I hope you enjoy my reflections.
It’s always quite an experience to build a campfire or to make a fire in the fireplace with the help of very young children. The combination of danger and mystery could not be more fresh or true. They can feel the intense heat of the fire, so they know there is reason to be careful. They know there is reason to be mindful. But they are also drawn to the allure and magic of its mystery.
Perhaps you have experienced that magic yourself. I know I have. There is something enchanting about sitting around a campfire with family and friends, in silence, on a starry night, hearing the sticks crackling and watching the embers burn down slowly. If you have never had that opportunity then you don’t know what you’re missing. It’s one of my wife’s and and my favorite pastimes. I encourage you to give it a try.
In my case, it started young. My parents had me involved with groups that took children and youth camping on a regular basis. The first group, when I was very young, was a father-son organization. We went on those outings together regularly. Later, as I got older, I was involved with Boy Scouts and church camps that had us staying outside, over night, in tents or cabins. My Boy Scout troop prided itself on going out once a month, regardless of the weather: rain or shine, hot or cold. There were some pretty rough nights in those hot, sticky, stinky tents.
Regardless of how sticky or stinky things got, however, it was nevertheless always worth going out because of the campfire that ended each day. We would have fun building the fire, telling stories, and watching the fire slowly burn down as we arranged and rearranged the logs to keep things burning along. Both my wife and I still love that magical way to end the day.
There’s no better word to describe the experience than “magical”. It is truly an enchanting experience and that fact was brought home to me recently in a most delightful way. My wife and I had company over for dinner and, afterwards, we started a fire in the fireplace. Our friends’ two young boys, ages 2 and 4, were delightfully mystified.
Oh, to see things with such fresh eyes. It is so easy for adults to forget that time when everything was fresh and new. When we had not always “been there and done that”. When we were learning, up close and personal, not only how the world worked but also how to talk about how the world worked. Or even how to talk at all. Having young children around brought that all back in a flash.
It was so much fun, and so automatic, to reinforce the learning of language with these boys. They would see or say something and their experience would be reinforced immediately by both their parents and or my my wife and me. It was automatic. No one had to tell us, as adults, “Now help the children learn the words for things. Help the children learn how to talk.” We just did it. It came naturally. It was the way we all learned when we were children and it is the way we pass on our knowledge, generation after generation.
That’s one of the great gifts that children bring to the adult world: they help us to see things again through fresh eyes. I’m getting to experience that this week as my wife attends a professional meeting and I have the opportunity to stay with my 20-month old grandson. What fun. And also what an experience in mindfulness. Whenever I am playing or walking with him, especially up and down stairs, I am on high alert. I am paying close attention to make sure he is even as he explores this new world all around him.
What a combination. High alert and playfulness. I love the way that makes me feel and I hope we can all learn to bring that into our lives. When we do, the entire world will look like it’s dancing.
Coaching Inquiries: What thrills your heart? When do you notice the magic and mystery of life? How could you come closer to that reality? Who could coach and assist you to do so? Why not contact LifeTrek Coaching today for a free consultation?
To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form to arrange a complimentary conversation. To learn more about LifeTrek Coaching programs, Click Here.
Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Form or Email Bob.
I am inspired through my Wellcoaches Study, you and your Provisions, and also the small amount I know regarding your outreach specifically as it relates to education. It is my goal to be a certified Wellcoaches Health Coach by March. I then look forward to impacting the world with the gift of Health Coaching. You inspire me. So does the story Logan Laplante, a 13 year-old boy who was taken out of the education system to be home schooled instead.
Not only was he home schooled, but Logan had the ability to tailor his education to his interests and also his style of learning, something traditional education does not offer. As Logan has mentioned, when he grows up he wants to be happy and healthy. Your readers might be interested in watching this TEDx talk that he gave in 2013, where he discussed how hacking his education is helping him achieve that goal. Thanks for the thoughtful Provision, Time to Stand Still.
Your last Provision, Live With Purpose, reminded me of a poem that Leslie and I included in our wedding over 30 years ago, The Master Speed by Robert Frost. I attach a picture of our framed remembrance of this message to often stand still, together “wing to wing and oar to oar.” This was a relevant metaphor for Leslie and me as we were very active canoeing the whitewater Potomac River below and above Great Falls, VA! Your great Provision message rings true for us every day:
The Master Speed
No speed of wind or water rushing by
But you have speed far greater. You can climb
Back up a stream of radiance to the sky,
And back through history up the stream of time.
And you were given this swiftness, not for haste
Nor chiefly that you may go where you will,
But in the rush of everything to waste,
That you may have the power of standing still-
Off any still or moving thing you say.
Two such as you with such a master speed
Cannot be parted nor be swept away
From one another once you are agreed
That life is only life forevermore
Together wing to wing and oar to oar
My friend and colleague, Kerul Kassel, has written a wonderful new book titled The Thinking Executive’s Guide to Sustainability. What could be more important? Here is a brief description:
“We live in an increasingly global economy in which the effects of shrunken economies, broadened communication, and widespread meteorological incidents associated with climate change are leaving virtually no one untouched. As a result, a working knowledge of concepts such as the triple bottom line and sustainability, have become mandatory,
The Thinking Executive’s Guide to Sustainability offers a practical, relevant, and easily grasped overview of sustainability issues and the systems logic that informs them, supported by empirical research and applied to corporate rationales, decision-making, and business processes. Intended for business professionals seeking concise, reliable, and current knowledge and trends, it will support them in leading their organizations’ corporate sustainability, social responsibility, and citizenship efforts so they can remain competitive and successful.”
May you be filled with goodness, peace, joy, and health.
Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
President, LifeTrek Coaching International, www.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformation, www.SchoolTransformation.com
Past President, International Association of Coaching, www.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a Time, Online Retailers
Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services