To Teach, There Is No Need To Hurt; To Learn, There Is No Need To Suffer
To teach the beauties of life, there is no need for yelling, harsh words, or severe gestures. There is no need to suffer to know joy; to the contrary, happiness will seem like little more than an unreachable star.
It is possible that your childhood was a stage marked by severe, authoritarian education. If this is the case, you will know firsthand that far from teaching you good lessons, what it left was probably the mark of the void of love.
Educating is an art that is created through affection, emotions, and the subtle intelligence that understands that teaching is learning twice and that learning must always be a pleasure.
There are people who like to say that “the best teacher is suffering.” In fact, this idea is rather extreme. Having suffered doubtlessly teaches us the value of certain aspects of life, it offers us strategies, and it usually shows us what path to take and which to avoid.
So then, time and experience keep offering life lessons, but if we start on a steady foundation, that is, if we start out with a healthy childhood, we will be off to a good start. Teaching is not only passing on knowledge and norms. To teach, it is not necessary to suffer, nor to get yelled at and reprimanded: teaching is educating emotions to be strong in life.
Teaching is the art of igniting curiosity
Clearly none of us has the magical ability to give authentic, lasting happiness to our children. We must not forget is that to educate, we have to understand, intuit, and above all else, “construct.”
Happiness, respect, and joy are also key for life lessons, because they teach us to be strong, because they make us understand what is worth fighting for and above all else, preserving.
He who never knew happiness in his childhood can only see life with a bit of mistrust and fear. Suffering in the early years of life, far from teaching, limits the proper development of a child. This is something to keep in mind.
Growing up with fear implies living with a high level of stress and anxiety. A brain with a high level of cortisol will not develop properly and will not accept lessons in the best way.
The lesson that is given severely will not leave a mark, but rather a scar on the soul, which will stay. And all negative emotions internalized into the mind and heart of a child will become a wound for the adult tomorrow.
To teach, we do not have to impose, we do not have to raise our voice or forbid: we have to ignite curiosity. Paulo Freire said that teaching is not passing on knowledge, but creating possibilities for its production. And this can only be obtained through proper Emotional Intelligence, through respect and sincere affection always accompanying a child.
To teach, you have to educate the heart
We often make an effort to teach children concepts that they can look up themselves in books, on the Internet, and which surely will not be useful to them in the future. We should focus on teaching them to love, be free, reflect, know themselves…
It will do very little for us to educate a child in math or geography if we do not first make it easier for them to be happy, for them to learn what empathy is or how to deal with their moments of anger or sadness.
While it may end up being much easier to teach them their multiplication tables than to develop their self-esteem, we should keep the following in mind:
- Always promote democratic education at home, where dialogue and communication are possible and where each norm is understood by the child. It is not just a matter of imposing rules, but making it understood that at home, as in society and their own life, there are limits and responsibilities.
- Never forget that the first years of a child’s life are their roots and the way they will understand the world tomorrow. If there is a lot of yelling, fear, if they feel misunderstood, tomorrow, they will be adults who “try to defend themselves” from the world.
- Pay attention to your children’s emotional language, intuit the way they will deal with anger, their sadness, how they interact with everyone else. This promotes an environment based on trust where there is not arbitrary punishment, mocking, or irony.
- Always educate from a joy of living, use positive reinforcement and the closeness of someone who knows how to understand, who protects, and at the same time encourages independence, maturity, and happiness.
Images courtesy of Marie Descombs, Art Graphic Estele