Monday, December 3, 2012
Give a man a fish ...
One thing that I hold close to my heart in working with the children is this teaching ... "Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he'll eat for ever.'
I endeavour to hold myself conscious of whether I'm doing things for the children, or seeing them as individuals and supporting them to find their own way to do things for themselves. It matters they can carry the pride of self achievement ... as well as knowing they have the capacity to do what they are, with them for life. It also sets them up to be part of the web of life and able to pass on to others the things that they have learned along the way too ..
The longer a child share's the farm experience the deeper this goes ... and on friday morning, Ted showed me that he was ready to eat fish forever and help others to do so too.
Near the big Oak tree that's become a favourite place to hang out, is a huge hill. It's big enough to give children who are able to climb a sense of their own phyiscal strength and capability ... and is enough of a challenge so that over time, others find their way to the top ... and they receive the power of the sense of themselves that comes with having done this for themselves.
On friday morning Yoshi made it all the way to the top of the hill on his own for the first time. He was ecstatic. He called from the top. 'danella, danella, I did it! I did it!' ... and his smile beamed megawatt around Melbourne.
Here he is on his way down the hill a happy little man ...
Everyone was happy for him and after a few more goes to make he really could do it ... all the children scrambled up the hill to be together at the top. Once there, they invited me to join them. It's the first time that's happened and I could sense how strongly bonded this group of children are. We were not going to feel whole until we were all at the top together and happy.
To be honest, climbing the hill was one of the last things I felt like myself ... yet when I looked up at the faces and felt the inclusiveness, I knew changing my attitude within this moment mattered a lot.
Off I set, saying outloud. ' I don't know how far I'll get, though I'll try.' ... and up I went as far as I felt comfortable to and announced, 'I think this is far as I can go.' Without missing a beat, Ted called to me, 'Danella, you can do it, I think you can' ... 'just keep coming.' ... and he encouraged and coached me as I have done for him over our long time together, up the hill. I fully engaged and could feel how much of a difference my faith had made and my encouragement too. Ted had totally got this teaching and was able to reach out with faith and love and encouragement to me. I could feel his love and desire for me to be up the top to enjoy what the children were all sharing ... and I could feel how much he was able to hold faith in the possibility that I'd get there ... in a positive and encouraging way ... which is all I've ever done for him.
This hill had been one of Ted's great quests and achievements. An obstacle at first and eventually an achievement and here on the day that Yoshi had found his way up and everyone joined Yoshi in his happiness ... Ted showed he'd mastered his own capacity to hold faith and encourage.
The funniest part, was that everyone joined in at one point and by the time I was 3/4's of the way up, there was a moment's quiet and I was met with, 'Now just hurry up!' 'Get to the top.' So seems I stretched the 3 and 4 year old patience a bit too.
It's been my experience that children can over time embody a capacity to teach others that is profound. It's such a privilege to witness ... and here's what the Oak tree looks like when you look down on it from the top of the hill ...
... and as always ... life surprises us in ways we least expect. We found a bounty of extensions cords and power boards hidden in the undergrowth and everyone was wrapped to be able to have something to carry 'like a workman' ... all the way back to the farm. Turns out they belonged to the farm and had been overlooked when a celebration took place under the Oak tree on the weekend.