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Intergenerational learning and trust - An unexpected story. (About light.)

Some years ago I met a wonderful little girl. Luckily, we still spend time together, she is my teacher and I her student, at least I think so, the one willing to learn, take in, understand, not just blindly follow. I love her as a mentor. She never gives me rules, forms, doesn't show me the way. She gives me light and says: „Take it so you can see the dark.“ So I don't wander as much as many others do. After all, she knows the light will always show me the way, I don't need a map. My path is different from hers anyway. Being is never repeated, each one of us is unique. She knows this well, that's why I love her. And amazingly, in this cluster of others' opinions at every milimeter of our breaths, she doesn't succumb to any social network. She knows she can live without them, that her life is more beautiful that way. She is satisfied with herself and thus has no need to brag. Not that she wouldn't have plenty of reasons to.

She says of herself only that she has inexhaustible imagination, creative hands and a BIG HEART. She likes to express herself through movement. She has been dancing ever since she was a little kid. She's been dancing since she was able to walk, in a store queue or heading down the street. She knows beauty must be felt, music must be felt and dance must be felt in one's body, mind and soul. It cannot be achieved under the burden of rules.

She is not only a dancer, either – when she wants to, she is also a seamstress, a sculptress, a gardener, a circus virtuoso, whatever she wants to be.

She is 12 years old but she says it is possible for her to younger while she plays, loves and imagines, or older when she talks about dedication, responsibility, effort, persistance… She is just natural, spontaneous, honest and needs no proving herself.

What is this constant human need to prove oneself, anyway?

I often see her jumping around with her little dog, scribbling, sewing, molding, hugging trees in the woods, talking to them, and then somehow those trees hug her back. She says to me: „That's how I learn to listen.“

Sometimes I feel really stupid around her. I listen to her, watch her and ask myself what all those rules are for, the instructions, guidelines, books on how to raise children, what all this overthinking, tensions, restrictions, needless destructions of the beautiful, unconscious nature of being a child are for. A child knows to live simply without a plan, a goal, here and now, not tomorrow, not yesterday, because it somehow instinctively knows that what may not ever come and what has already gone is irrelevant compared to NOW.

She talks joyfully about loving planes, mountains and skies as they show her how small she actually is and I can only laugh and somehow understand how small I am compared to her. So many years have shown me so much beauty and yet I can't help but feel I still can't see them very well.

I've read somewhere that the best way of learning is to teach, as what you aim to learn will not be learned until you understand it well enough to be able to teach it. It really is so.

We can learn so much of what is worth and what is right from children. Maybe even learn that our whole life is about the wrong things. That everything is turned upside down, that our approach is wrong, that everything what is beautiful has become irrelevant, useless to us… That we only look for what we can gain from something. Some of us more, or all the time, some of us less. And that is something we are thaught from the very beginning, the entire education system, culture, civilization teach us how to become renowned, first one here, first one there, winner of this and that, how to become „of use“. When asked „Who are you?“ nobody will reply as the little girl does: „I am the dancing cosmos, inexhaustible imagination, creativity, dedication, responsibility, honesty, the wind, the shoes, I am the playful nature and its' big listener, I am a BIG heart, I bloom for myself…“ They're more likely to say: „I am a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, a carpenter.“ Whatever do they mean when the say that? Those are not personalities, those are functions, roles. That is not their being, that is only usefulness! Some philosophers mention the new sense(lessness) danger: people are less and less about humanity and more and more just about human function! Just like there is the ordinary machine function. A man has a function, a machine has a function. Of course, how horrible! The society uses you as such and the more it finds your usefulness important, the more it values you?! But is this the answer to the question „Who are you?“ If so, if this is our only point, we will become things, genuinely unfulfilled, marked, valued, spent, lost…

Let's listen to our kids, learn from them. You would be surprised at how much you don't know, how much you're losing, how much you're not feeling thinking about life instead of living it, managing it according to some theories thinking you're such masters at it, putting yourself in ridiculous frames that at the end of the day mean you are everything except very much alive.

Believe. Don't look at your clock, those numbers are boring, rather divide your time simply: have the night begin when you kiss your child good night and end when you smile and hug them in the morning. That's when your clock starts again. The learning to live clock. Experience it. It's amazing.

The ending message you just read was something the little girl has said to me in her own unique way. And my conclusion would be:

Whenever the juices of life and love, awareness and knowledge flow through a society in many directions, the foundation for sustainable society is being built. And whenever we disregard this, the tissue breaks. We are not well,not as a community or individuals. And I think to myself how present this unfortunately is at the moment.

That's why, with joy and purpose, I take my little friend as a very important teacher. While I still have time, before she (too) grows up.

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