Posted by: coachingparents | August 11, 2009

Connecting………to Spirit in Unstructured Time


By Caron Goode

Today, it seems our children’s lives consist of spending time at school, joining in adult play such organized sports or other organized activities, or passively watching television. What is missing is unstructured time, the time children need to mature and develop their own unique expression and understanding. Only when children interact with the world on their own terms, rather than experiencing everything through the goals and attitudes of parents and educators, will they discover who they are in an intimate, personal way.

How often have you heard, “I’m bored? There’s nothing to do.” How often have you replied, “Go outside and play. Go watch television. Find something to do.”  Next time you hear that boredom complaint, say this, “Great. Wonderful. Take some space.”

“Space” is one of the best ways to allow the mind and body to integrate and find peace.
We can provide a space for our children to relax, reflect, or empty their mind. You may call it ‘take a breather,’ ‘time-out,’ ‘peace and quiet,’ ‘doing nothing,’ or being.

We use the term space to describe a state that is empty of expectations, conditions, and outcomes.  Having space is having unstructured time. Children and adults have difficulty with this. Unstructured time and space are challenging because we are used to the responsibilities of a skillful job or homework where the rules of how to use time are spelled out.

If we can teach children and ourselves to use unstructured time and space creatively, we can discover our beauty and unconditional worthiness.  Do your children know how to do nothing? Can they discover the precious instants of revelation hidden in moments of stillness and silence?

We need to provide this space for our children if they are ever to manage wholeness and integration along the stress continuum. It is a space where they are in charge and not stimulated by anything external to themselves. The space of their inner worlds inspires music and poetry. A child can learn confidence as a co-creator with life.

We often forget that life is creation unfolding. We create cells and tissues out of the energies found in the chemistry of the plant, animal, and mineral kingdoms. We create thoughts, words, and ideas from the limitless field of our experiences. We grasp life through the creative action of our senses and the endless searching of our hearts. Children need time to explore creation and the space to create.

Children create a world of events and experiences out of a space that unfolds as it continues to reveal itself, rather than beginning from a set of predetermined goals. Creativity is the world of the child– the child that we are responsible for raising, and the child we are responsible for preserving and nurturing in ourselves.

Spirituality reflects the simplicity of the heart. Our careers and our friends are all symbols that represent simple desires and needs of the spirit. What we want out of life is the experience of unconditional love, feeling secure about our unique visions, being affirmed, being forgiven and accepted despite our mistakes. We want to feel worthy without having to prove anything to anybody, even when we feel overwhelmed and powerless. We want this and our children want this.

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