Passion and energy

You’re going to see angry kids taking that kind of stuff out on other kids.  But I think what we’ve provided there is a place where kids can use that energy and make it a really positive thing for them. 

Things to think about

What outlets do you have for passion and energy?
Have you seen healthy aggression turn into violence?
How can you change your environment today to make it more appropriate for children’s energy?

Highlights from Playful Wisdom
by Michael Mendizza featuring Bev Bos and Joseph Chilton Pearce

I have said for years that women are changelings; they morph into different creatures at different ages and stages, while guys are more like golden retrievers. Toss the ball and they chase it. Becoming a mother is one of these dramatic morphing events and the role of a father is to adapt and adapt again, like a fireman with a net ready to catch, hold, applaud and encourage. You can’t do that clinging to whatever it was you thought you needed. Pass me another Bud. That is what parenting and early childhood education is all about, being forced to put another’s needs before your own, to grow our capacity for responsive empathy, to see that most of what we “think” is important isn’t in the larger scheme, and to realize, embrace and practice what Marshall Rosenberg, founder of Nonviolent Communication, called “the art of giving.” This is what being a parent, and especially a father, is all about; an inner journey of self-discovery, broadening and becoming who we really are, which is so much more than our social labels. Can you imagine a greater spiritual practice, meditation or Samurai training? In our real-life drama it is the way we respond to conflict—my needs, my schedule, my sleep, me, me, me, or – being the caring, attentive fireman with a net. That’s the true measure of who we are as men.

One of the things I think about is aggression, passionate energy.  Aggression is what you really want.  You want the passion and energy.  Violence is what you don’t want.  So there’s a real distinction for me. What I see with kids, if you watch kids walk into our place they take a look around, is there anything interesting in here that I’d like to really pursue or do I really need to go outside and start digging?  See I think if you watch the way those kids ride those bikes with such speed, with no concern, you know I go to some places where they have arrows on the sidewalks so kids can only go a certain way, riding hard, they have found creative avenues for that energy that might be in a place that insisted that they sit, be quiet, shut up, all those kinds of things, where they give them a teaspoon of play dough, then you’re going to see violence.  You’re going to see angry kids taking that kind of stuff out on other kids.  But I think what we’ve provided there is a place where kids can use that energy and make it a really positive thing for them.  I can find a way that I can take care of this.  One of the things that releases the energy of anger is big movement.  What people want to do sometimes to kids who are really upset is make them sit down.  They can’t do that.  They’ve got to use, everybody has slammed the door in their life.  Everybody has driven a little too fast when they’re angry.  And I think if you are really truthful about that with yourself you will know that kids need a place to put that kind of energy.  They cannot sit.  I would think a hundred percent of the people that you talk to who have creative minds at all spent a lot of their childhood looking out the window at school because they’ve just needed to be outside.  They needed to be doing something else.  Well we’ve got to understand that energy for children and that we, for better or worse, create environments where kids can find a place to put that, that creative kind of energy.  I do think almost a hundred percent of those issues are environment.  We simply do not understand the energy of young children.  First of all, before kids come to school in kindergarten they’ve watched, what is it Michael, vive thousand hours of television?  At least five thousand hours of television.  All that energy is stored.  They haven’t had any place, they sleep 8 or 10 hours, get up and eat a breakfast and then ride a bus to school or ride in a car to school and we say sit down.  Well there’s a natural incredible energy in kids and I just think we do them such a disservice.  And that’s power over kids.  When you don’t recognize that they have an energy, then when that energy turns violent then we say oh, well this kid is not okay.  But we’ve actually done it to them, I think.  I believe with all my heart we’ve created that situation.