By Marjan Companjen, &samhoud foundation
Many teaching programmes on social emotional development start from a problem and then focus on potential solutions. Of course teaching implies communicating knowledge, emotions and impressions towards a child. As they internalize it, they may adjust it, but often turn it into qualities. Children are like small learning factories.
However, when we teach children about connection we try to go the opposite way. We avoid one-way communication and a problem-solving starting point. We act like miners by shining a light on what’s already inside. And then bring it to the surface and use it. Share it. In fact, we try to make better use of the internal resources children already possess. A lot is already there, like answers to questions such as: What do you want? What are you capable of? What dreams do you have? What are your talents?
The mining equipment we use resonates with the core within children we try to reach. And that is positivity. Optimism. Positivity opens doors. And positivity inspires to connect. We simply need each other to make our dreams come true. We need each other to have fun as a group and also to do well in our studies. And children are very sensitive to that. More importantly: it works!
Interacting in a positive way is something you can teach and learn. Even though our lesson only lasts two hours, teachers tell us that they see positive effects very quickly. Children become more self-confident, learn to connect with each other in more positive ways, and solve problems between them more easily. They play with other children than they did before because they have learned new things about their classmates. We won’t go as far as saying that connection lessons are a solution to sensitive matters such as bullying. But we do experience that positivity, and becoming more aware of and applying our own positive internal resources is a very effective way for children to connect and understand each other better. That is one of the reasons why teachers invite us back in their classrooms year after year.
What about your internal resources? Your dreams and talents? It will do you good to shine a positive light on them, to bring them to the surface and show them more clearly to yourself and the outside world. It’s the basis for true and meaningful connection!