This morning (Sunday) I experienced a revelation; I would actually refer to it as a fairly profound “a-ha moment.” As I put wood into the fire, I realized that I was feeling really good, awake, and productive. Within that thought, I also concluded that I had gotten out of bed (on a Sunday no less) at my normal wake-up time without the internal dialogue I have had to use recently to convince myself to leave that cozy nest. And I had even accomplished several items on the mental to do list before 9 am. The second thought was a question: Wow, what is going on here? Which was closely followed by the realization that we had “fallen back” last evening.
No, that alone was not the profound moment, and no, it wasn't the extra hour of sleep! I am a morning person: always have been and plan on being one till the end. Every late summer and early fall, however, I find myself dreading the beginning of every day. I drag my sorry butt out of bed and commence with the routine of yoga and getting ready for the day. But today is the day I finally made the connection! The nonsensical time change we persist on sustaining, even though its time of usefulness has been expired for quite a while (if it ever really had one), screws with my body big time, every single year.
I feel good this morning because we are back to standard time; the place my circadian timepiece is most comfortable. Okay, some would ask, why it has taken five decades for me to make that connection? I have always hated the change in time ; I just have never made the direct correlation between feeling blah and uninspired during August-October, with the stupid change in the clocks.
Now you are probably asking what my annual lethargy has to do with education, kids, or Deep Root Center, for that matter? Stay with me here while I connect the dots. Changing the clocks is a manipulation of time that affects our bodies. Most of us recognize that subtle “off” feeling directly after daylight savings time, but carry on. Some of us feel that shift more dramatically. To be honest, when we change the clocks in March, it throws me off balance for the duration of the summer and early fall.
Societal manipulations, food industry manipulations, media manipulations, etc. . . happen all around us all the time, and those manipulations affect us in one way or another. Our kids often feel the brunt of all of this outside negative influence, but don't recognize it as propaganda.
Society tells them they need to study and get good grades to get into college or get a good job. Their peers and media tell them they need to fit in with the crowd, have all the latest “do-dads,” and conform, conform, conform. These are messages based on fear. “If you don't do this, you won't be able to do that.”
How do we foster the whole kids they were originally designed to be? How can we support kids’ efforts to be themselves when everything around them is saying “follow us,” “look like us,” “do the same things we do,” and “you can be cool, too.” How do we counter that powerful message of fear?
They need to hear, in one form or another, the following positive, hopeful message daily: being well rounded, savvy, creative, empathetic, confident, respectful, and compassionate trumps everything else and always will. Our society needs whole kids who know who they are and who are not be afraid to express their individuality: children who are critical thinkers and can tease out the information they are looking for. We need youth who are problem solvers and open-minded, kids who are willing to take on the world.
The message that they are awesome and have fantastic ideas has to be loud and clear. Kids need daily assurance that they are not weird or strange because they choose to be individuals. Children need to learn basic guidelines and points of reference to be able to behave as equal members of society. They need to be treated with respect, so that they know how to be respectful of everyone. If children act out, they need to understand, through conversation, why it is wrong. Youth should have the opportunity to explore their world without rules or a “to do” list. They need to be trusted to make important decisions that directly affect their lives. Kids need space and time to be creative and to play. Sometimes kids need time alone to reflect and ponder their place in the world. They need, above all, to feel the love and trust of the people around them.
Most of us, myself included, have failed at most of those items more than a few times in our years of parenting or teaching. The one guarantee in life, besides the mortal part, is that no one is perfect. We all make mistakes: sometimes they are whoppers, sometimes just little blips, but whole kids understand all of that and forgive mistakes. They can do that because they, too, have made mistakes and have learned enough to recognize realness and honesty as opposed to propaganda and manipulation.
If you know a child or teen who is struggling to be themselves, against all the negative messages they receive daily from the outside world, please let them know Deep Root Center is here to support them to achieve awesome whole kid status.