First Day of Spring! See It Through A Child’s Eyes

flower-artMar. 20, 2009 It’s overcast here on the water today, which shifts my annual spring ritual into a different lens of wonder.

Whenever things get too wacky in my world (and lately, that’s been hourly) I instinctively start removing clutter of the mind, media, and heart to time travel back into childhood, and just stop ALL stimulation.

These days I worry that kids never fully gain that command of ‘quiet time’ to feed the senses, nurture the soul and break the cycle of the tug-o-war for attention and cacophony of noise that pervasively bleeps, beeps, rings, shouts and chimes into a level of sensory overload that often makes babies literally cry out in ‘over stim’ mode.

So today, I’m sharing a cool video of a sweet crawling baby exploring the tactile, colorful world around him all compressed into time lapsed minutes of free play and joyful discovery. Whether it’s a baby’s toes or a spring flower, children examine and explore in sublime fixation, where you can almost hear those imaginative cogs turning…

“Hmn. What’s this? Can I touch it? How did it get there? What’s it for? Does it feel soft? It’s so bright! What will it do if I nudge it?”

PD*7581392After all, LIFE is media in itself, a veritable canvas of discovery if we just ‘stop, look, and listen’ long enough to be amazed by what unfolds naturally around us. It’s remarkable, but often missed with the encroachment of gizmos and gotta dos that skew the balance of our lives.

I notice Google has a spring interpretation of its logo today based on the art of Eric Carle who still receives 10,000 fan letters from children a year as he inches like a caterpillar into being an octagenarian, having shared his art in more than 70 books delighting kids and the adults who read to them regularly!

Little touchpoints like that can help remind people to embrace the beauty of spring, make note of the ladybugs, insects, animals and flora around us with heightened awareness.

Great way to use media as a mental reminder to GET ‘EM OUTSIDE.

I’ve even set my cellphone screensaver to a Sayulita photo taken from the quick trip in December I wrote about here, as it centers me with much needed perspective and renewal so I can ‘go there’ in my mind when I need to and retreat, relax, restore.

TuberoseI also purposely try to treat myself to scents and fragrances like this fresh tuberose flower below, because it literally wafts memories of my childhood in Hawaii, taking me back to simpler times.

I learned this trick from Betsy Burroughs’ Future Catalyst mindset to help ‘bring the inside out’…Great tactics for focusing, thinking more productively, and tapping into natural gifts.

Conversely, yesterday I saw a child texting with his head down en route to school, stomping right over a flower that was trying to peek its way out of the sidewalk…It saddened me in one sense but inspired me to vault into action and start writing more about the springboards between media and nature that need to transpire fast in order to preserve important online to offline bridge building…

It became quite an allegorical epiphany for me.

dock-dudesMind you, my dog (and my bro, in this photo on our dock at left) have been grounding forces along these lines ever since I started Shaping Youth a couple years back, reminding me that ‘life’s too short’ and ‘get outside and play.

Annie, my dog,  literally plops her tennis ball at my feet every so often reminding me to get the heck off the computer and feel the sunshine. Stretch the legs. Quit letting my body atrophy into shoulder lock-down in ‘gotta finish this first’ deprivation. Pay attention!!!

And Mark, my bro, is always globe-trotting on some eco-sojourn hither and yon turning me green with envy at his ability to ‘blow off’ certain aspects of work and reprioritize to fit his own lifestyle. (I haven’t gotten there by a long shot)

So today, on this lovely first day of spring, I challenge you…

child-flowerEven if you’re stuck in a cubicle at work or at a desk in school, fixate on an object, presence, or visual just outside the window.

Tune your auditory and visual lens onto a child’s frequency, and think of how they might perceive that same person, place or thing with amusement, fascination, excitement, inquisitiveness, or a fresh perspective…No matter where you live or what the weather is like on this first day of spring,  carry the magic of mindfulness with you, and you might just find yourself springing into renewal.

As Mark Twain said, “In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.”

See? Focus. Fixation. Never know what you’ll turn up, baby!

A Few Related Resources on Shaping Youth

If Kids Could Be Dolphins: The Power of Creative Play

Media Savvy Kids and Nature Deficit Disorder

Shaping Youth Through Nature, Media Unplugged

Shaping Youth: Get ‘Em Outside!

Shaping Youth Joins Eco-Literacy Coalition: NCLI

Shaping Youth: The Nature of Tweens: Wired Worlds & Outdoor Ed

S.Y. The Case for Make Believe:Defending Pretending

S.Y. The Case for Make Believe: Eco-Twister, Inter-connectedness

School Gardens Grow Healthier Kids: Seeding Green With Richard Louv!

Children in Nature Collaborative: Reconnecting with the natural world

Childrens Books for Spring (Apples4TheTeacher)

2009 Publisher’s Weekly: Childrens Books for Spring (fun picks!)

Ideas for Celebrating the First Day of Spring (eHow)

Vernal Equinox: Education World-Ideas & Activities

Focus. Filter. Fixate. Find yourself discovering a child’s world. Enjoy!

Time-Lapse Video Via Amazing  AOC pal Brian Reich

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