January Inspiration for Teachers & Parents
...borrowed from Albert Einstein
The weather outside is frightful and the delightful fires of Christmas are waning. Welcome to January and all the existential and climatic challenges it brings. I usually approach January with apprehension. It is my least and most favourite month all at the same time - it brings hope of change but as the football quote goes - it is the hope that kills. So where does that leave us yogis, struggling with the duvet/sun salutation dilemma on these dark wet mornings?
As a yoga teacher people expect positivity and serenity at all times. As a children’s yoga teacher and a parent my kids expect me to have a bottomless resource of energy and patience. So, as January dawns to my tired eyes and I feel myself not being able to live up to all these exhausting expectations, it begs the question..where to go for inspiration?
In times of trouble I invariably turn to Einstein quotes, for his simple but cosmic wisdom. However, the words that jump out at me seem to be throwing the question back…
'Creativity is Contagious, pass it on.'
So I get on my mat and create my own inspiration - a January fire sequence that mirrors my energy levels from dead log to dancing flames and back to charred wood. At bedtime I asked my children to rate it. It got an official ‘lemon’ rating - apparently that is good! Then they joined in and made an even better one.
The message I’m getting is that parenting as well as teaching should be less about telling and more about inspiring. My eight year old is happiest cutting up bits of old clothes and sewing them together to create cushions..or slugs..whatever she happens to be into that day. My lazy contribution? Leaving bags of clothes intended for the charity shop lying around the house. The creativity myth is that we need to be good. Creativity is the essence of yoga. Start where you are. Don’t expect results. Enjoy creating. The reason children are naturally creative? It is their fearlessness. Children have not yet set out their expectations of success or failure.
‘If at first the idea is not absurd there is no hope for it.'
If being creative feels as accessible as holidaying on the moon…do more of what you love. If it is sleeping, go to bed earlier and write down your dreams. Creativity comes from indulging your imagination and imagination can be brought to any activity in the world.
'Knowledge is limited, imagination encircles the world.’
Thanks again Albert.
If setting New Years Resolutions is your thing… do one creative thing every day for a week. If it's not..do what you love anyway. Watch to see what happens. By the way.. my new year's resolution is to watch more TV - evenings are not my creative hour and I am not a fan of guilt-driven and guilt-inducing resolutions - particularly during the coldest, shortest days of the year. As teachers or parents, if we are to really empower children we need to feel empowered, if we are to inspire children we need to feel inspired. If we want children to be creative…create!
So my lesson for January is to do what makes me feel happy and trust the rest will follow. I made flapjacks this morning and I could not be happier now drinking chai, eating flapjacks and writing this blog. Next week I've promised my children it will be brownies. Pass it on….
Co-Founder Children's Yoga Tree, Yoga Teacher, Single Parent, Dog & Cat owner, aspiring ukelele player (in no particular order)
Here's some more grist for the creative mill:
The Creativity Post
Campaign for Creativity in Schools