Learning to make decisions for ourselves

The Big Picture on Participation

Often when parents talk about participation, they are really talking about getting their kids to do something they want them to do. It can become a question of will, and of the child meeting (or not) the parents wishes about how they will be and what they will do.

When we get into whether or not a child will participate in something there is a deeper context. They are learning about lots of important things in those moments:

• What is it like to try things? (Generally quite scary the first time but very important if you are going to learn things)

• What is it like practising something so you get better at it (hard work sometimes and frustrating, but it can be wonderful if you enjoy what you’re doing)

• What is it like feeling the pleasure of mastering something (AMAZING but takes a long time to get there)

• What do I like and not like? (This is different for every human being of course. Learning this is essential if you are going to be a happy grown-up. It’s possible to do if you are lucky enough to have a parent who creates a safe place in which to learn, where you are encouraged, do it from your own will, and learn about your feelings as you go).

So I see participation in Cosmic Kids in this context – with me creating a safe place for their learning as they do the yoga (or don’t do the yoga). I see learning anything as an emotional as well as a physical/intellectual experience – and yoga is like this too. It’s hard the first time, gets better the more you do it, and you will learn loads about yourself as you go. When I learnt how to use a pogo stick when I was a kid, I just thought I was learning how to use pogo stick, but it turned out I was also learning how to practice something (and felt all the emotions that came up), what it feels like to fail, what it feels like to get tired and when to stop, and then the elation at being able to do it well – and then I started learning how to teach other people.

In my view there’s no forcing kids to do anything. If they don’t want to do the class, they can sit it out, in fact this is one of the reasons we have made Cosmic Kids available on line – it’s available whenever they want to do it.

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