Question 185 of 365: What happens when you just watch?

Question 185 of 365: What happens when you just watch?

Image by andrusdevelopment via Flickr

I saw a twinkle of power and awe in my daughter tonight. She held her first sparkler and threw her first snappers (the little bits of explosives that are wrapped in paper). It created something within her that I hadn’t seen before. A kind of hope for creation and destruction and danger all rolled into one.

When I just stared at her and waited for that look to keep developing, I found that I wanted it to. I wanted her to know more danger and more uncertainty for how things would turn out
I wanted her to see the wonder of fireworks for the first time. And I wanted that wonder for myself too.

I think that watching what you have already seen throughout the eyes of someone who has not is the only way to gain genuine perspective. Sometimes I wish that I could bring my daughter into every meeting and brainstorming session so I can know what it means to be green again, to be unjaded by having seen bigger fireworks before.

If my daughter can be in awe of a sparkler, I can be in awe of my existence too. If she can be cautious about fire and throwing explosives, I can reflect on the risk involved in my every action. If she can be unafraid at trying something new, I can push the boundaries of what is possible.

I’m not sure I ever knew how much I would learn from a 3 year old.

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  1. Jacqueline L Cahill

    This is one of the many beauties of children…how much they teach us – just by being themselves – and not expecting anything in return for that lesson.

  2. We asked the teachers here in Cape Town to take out their cell phones to begin creating multimedia projects two days ago. Many of them didn't know how to take pictures with their phones. Even fewer had any idea how to capture video. We helped them.
    Then, for about 20 minutes, all they wanted to do was take 10-second videos of one another and then watch them right away. Not videos of each other doing anything, mind you, just 10-second videos.
    How can you stop that? How can you say, “I know it's new, but there's a lesson to teach?” Thank God no one was there to say that when Haley saw his comet for the first time or Madam Curie wanted to play around with radioactivity.
    When the session was over, I pointed out that I hadn't yelled at them. That they hadn't been told to put away the tools or had the tools taken away.
    “They were new and you were excited. I knew you'd get used to it, but taking them away would only mean you wanted them and weren't trying to do anything.”
    Let's all do that a little more. Let's all play with new stuff a little more. Let's all avoid telling people to stop playing and start learning.

  3. For me, play has to be answering a question. I play with things to
    figure them out and to ask better questions later on. Even blocks. I
    play with them to see how high I can make the tower or how big a crash
    my son will make when he topples them over. I think that all we have
    to do to make play a real part of our lives and schools is to validate
    the questions that are being asked during play. The questions are
    usually something like, “Can I do this?” or “What will this look
    like?” But these are life affirming questions with contextual answers.
    They make things actually fit together. I like those questions more
    than “How will this work in the classroom” a lot of times.

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