From the East End Park East Van Stories Series
Featuring When I was a Child, rebel stories about spirit, connection and keeping your wings attached.
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When I was a child...
When I was a child, I used to make the best mud cakes. They were round and baked under the sun. I'd line them up in a row as if they had some kind of magical power. Now I know they were my teachers.
Circles play a big part in my art. They make me feel whole and heal my eyes every time I look at one, especially in spiral form. Then add stars and sparkles and off to the Universe I go!
The Circle is sacred and for me it represents the heart and that unbroken whole connection to life. It reminds me and reintroduces my consciousness again and again to the knowledge I am an eternal being, only changing form and ability from one life to another or sacred place on the spiral plane of creation.
So the Circle teaches me I am a sacred, magical spirit-warrior child, and I am allowed to be here in this time because I am here. And so are you and every other living precious being.
We were not supposed to pay rent on this planet. Mother Earth was a gift to be shared and experienced.
Have you noticed Mother Earth is round?
Connecting Words to Action, Thought and Heart
Building Foundations for
Kreative-thinking promotes proficiency, competence, possibility, options and ever-evolving solutions
Emotional well-being creates positive experiences and interpersonal skill
Learning from an open heart creates unlimited potential
Developing Foundations for
Empathy builds compassionate understanding
Vision creates individual and collective direction
Integrity develops honesty, self-awareness and positive relationships
Establishing Foundations for
Love is the Foundation
Creating Foundations for
Listening supports the ability to observe and work cooperatively
Awareness of the Self in all its aspects empowers one's life and purpose
Giving as an Art develops the heart; it empowers children to see themselves as co-creators and encourages the potential for Kreative-thinking.
Supporting Foundations for
Empowerment is the process of becoming stronger, and more confident
Setting Foundations for
Inclusion builds trust and friendship
Nonviolence builds trust and respect
Kreative-Compassion acknowledges children must experience compassion to understand compassion
Kreative-thinking leads to creative expression and in turn supports individual and collective creative potential. Recognizing individual potential supports each child and understands each child has the right to express and offer their perspective toward any given challenge, condition or changing environment. Therefore, Kreative-thinking recognizes every child has their own individual creative potential to manifest and express in the world.
Emotional well-being builds confidence, positive self-identity and courage. Well-being is paramount in a child's development, without it anxiety, stress, depression and self-doubt begin to grow and a child's health and potential is diminished.
Learning from a happy heart creates unlimited potential. Learning foundations rooted in heart-based curriculum supported by teachers with open-hearted teaching models recognize a child must feel loved before they can see themselves as integral, vital and engaging equals. A child rooted in Love believes in the unbelievable and impossible.
Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference. When a child experiences compassionate understanding for oneself, they are given a concrete experiential foundation for developing empathy toward others. When a child experiences empathy for oneself they become connected to their own self-worth.
Vision creates individual and collective direction for children to see the potential in everything they do. Vision is based in imagination and wisdom and supports the ability to think and plan for the future.
Integrity develops honesty, self-awareness and positive relationships. Integrity as a core value of Self and action guides children toward unlimited futures. Through integrity, the Self creates its own foundation and standard for positive relationships and values truth as its cornerstone to action.
Love is the cornerstone to Well-Being. It is the Universal Force of Creation. As a word it gives power to connection and well-being. Love therefore, connects, empowers, is creative and promotes spiritual, emotional, physical, cognitive, creative and social well-being. Without love a child cannot thrive.
Listening is a cornerstone to understanding the mechanics of knowledge and how awareness, consciousness, realization, cognition, apprehension and perception can support the 'Whole Self'. When we truly listen to children, they in turn learn to listen. Developing this skill of listening allows for deeper cognitive processes toward understanding and knowledge leading to wisdom.
Awareness empowers the child to understand their own unique personality and individuality within the realm of feeling, thought, action and being. Awareness builds and fortifies positive self-esteem because it accepts every feeling, thought and action as both spiritual and temporal.
Giving is an act of inclusion; it builds bridges from one heart to another. Giving connects children to each other, the community and the World. Giving nourishes and enriches the heart of the child toward the Dream of Peace on our planet, for we are all connected and supported through the shared experience of life.
Empowerment is the process of becoming stronger, and more confident. When Children feel nurtured, worthy, respected and confident, their behaviour naturally expresses these inner qualities. Empowerment leads to self-determination and autonomy. Empowered children become self-motivated. Self-motivated children believe they can achieve their goals and dreams because their own enthusiasm and interest drive the possibility of their goals and dreams toward realization. Empowered children become resilient.
Inclusion is fundamental to building a foundation of trust and relationship. A child must know they are equal to every other child before they can truly thrive and learn to the best of their natural abilities. A child that belongs is a child that counts.
Nonviolence in thought, action and feeling must be modeled first if a child is to understand nonviolence. Therefore a child must experience nonviolence in order to understand nonviolence. Through nonviolence the qualities inherent in each child can reach their fullest potential because the crippling affects of violence on the Whole Child, their self-esteem, belief and dreams cannot corrupt the healthy ego, or diminish the connection to the psyche, Higher Self and Creative-Spirit.
Kreative-Compassion recognizes children as co-creators in our human experience and evolution. Therefore, every child has the right to question, define and establish the healthy boundaries of their personal and collective environments. This prerequisite creates an experiential learning model for children to experience compassion directly. If we do not care for them, then how do they learn to care for others.
At the heart of the Kele Village iNK Philosophy is Love. Love is the first Foundation. Love establishes the roots of happiness and cooperation. The concept 'Integrity Nurturing Kreativity sets the standard for happiness and cooperation and affirms the right of every child to grow and learn in an environment of respect, kindness and support.
Kreative-thinking encourages every child to value their own ideas and offer their innate knowledge to the Circle. Kreative-thinking allows children opportunities to find solutions based on their experience and understanding. When children learn in an environment of diverse ideas and perspectives while being respected for their own individual creative potential, the drive to compete and be right diminishes and partnerships begin, ideas are shared and solutions discovered. Kreative-thinking allows for the process of intuition that leads to unconscious/instinctual knowledge, unconscious cognition, inner sensing, inner insight, unconscious pattern-recognition and the ability to understand something instinctively without the need for conscious reasoning. Kreative thinking opens the mind and heart and allows the unlimited Universal knowledge to manifest into awareness.
Emotional well-being creates positive experiences and interpersonal skill. Emotional well-being creates space in the heart to become Self-aware. Emotionally present children are aware of their own feelings and reactions, and can better regulate those emotions and reactions. This self-awareness builds self-esteem for the individual and self-confidence between peers- and allows the child to be open to learning. A child open to learning loves to learn. A child who loves to learn will find their creative-potential and expression in the world. When children are allowed to be themselves, they become happy. When children are happy, their hearts grow strong and they remember to breathe. When children breathe the heart and mind rest, and it is in this space we learn to observe before reacting. In this open space the higher-mind is able to guide and empower the child to their inherent identity and destiny.
Learning from a place of heart empowers children to know they are a vital and important part of Creation. When children learn through kindness and respect, they are empowered to learn without limitations of negative energies affecting their ability to process information and develop understanding. The unknown and unbelievable then becomes the unlimited potential for creative experiences that support self-development, critical and inter-dependent thinking and relationship. Learning from the heart builds foundations for trust. Relationships based in trust allow children to learn without fear of failure, limitation, criticism or indifference.
Kreative-Compassion builds self-acceptance and empathy for others. Kreative-compassion recognizes children have the right to express their dissatisfaction with the adults in their worlds. Through this opportunity to be genuine to their nature and perspective, children learn through expressing their true feelings. When children have living experiences that validate their true feelings and role in their development, their true feelings have a safe place to be expressed and acknowledged; and in turn their hearts and minds remain open to listen, learn, feel and act. Thereby the models for healthy communication are established and the concrete cognitive and emotional experiences necessary for compassion to become actualized in the child are given as living examples for them to draw understanding from. Children who experience compassion are given the tools to develop empathy. When their own pain and suffering is acknowledged and supported toward healing and fortitude, they learn how to breathe. In other words, they learn how to accept themselves and each other. From this sacred space, sympathy and concern become more than contemplative but active participants to finding solutions for one’s self and another’s pain and suffering. When children are given the opportunity to develop and learn through observation and experiences based in mindful and heart-based activities they grow and learn to their fullest potential. And it is easy for them to care and act on behalf of another being’s welfare.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. When a child’s feelings and actions are recognized as valid and real, they are given the opportunity to connect to their feelings and actions from another’s perspective. This added perspective helps to develop the understanding of empathy. When we express empathy toward a child, the child and their peers are given the opportunity to observe how feelings and actions affect others, and in turn how others feelings and actions affect them. This leads to reflective and contemplative thought where observations are reviewed and applied to understanding the observed experience. Young children need concrete learning experiences, they need to feel and experience empathy before it can grow into understanding and connection. When their feelings are acknowledged and actions understood by the adult role model, the child is given the opportunity to positively identify with their feelings and actions. When a child is accepted unconditionally, they will see themselves as part of a collective community in the process of learning and growing.
Vision gives the future form and establishes the creative potential in the present moment for action in the realm of creativity. Vision is the vehicle for creativity and the enterprising Dream. Vision validates the creative process and knows any obstacle that may appear is given to challenge the vision and dream toward success. Vision is rooted in the invisible realm of possibility. When we engage children in developing their own curriculum and experiences, they are given opportunities to dream, conceptualize and actualize ideas. They learn to build their own vision. With these learned foundations and concrete experiences, children are given models for bringing the non-concrete of ideas into creative form, in other words, they learn to actualize their own dreams from a place of imagination into the realm of creative and concrete reality.
Integrity is a state of being whole and undivided. When teachers teach from integrity children learn the foundations of truth, respect and equality. Actions based from integrity create less confusion because the standard for truth, respect and equality have been established. Integrity allows for each child’s value to be recognized, while maintaining one’s own personality in collective respect. Integrity establishes the right of every child to be loved and valued. It is a state in which the individual feels whole and undivided, therefore, integrity recognizes every child is whole and worthy of respect. Every child has the right to be treated with dignity. As a metaphor, dignity is the flower of Integrity, the seed is Love, the stem the path of Heart and the roots are the connection to Mother Earth. Therefore, from seed to flower the child is nurtured and supported. This living model of experience and connection fortifies the child to believe in their own possibility. Integrity begins with the adult, therefore, the concepts of punishment, shame and blame must be resolved in the adult first. Punishment, shame and blame must be seen as impediments to understanding and knowledge. Children are not less than adults, they are only smaller. If we follow the Path of Heart to guide our integrity, our own innate wisdom will manifest to help guide us in support of the child, and toward peace on our beautiful Earth.
Love is the cornerstone to Well-being. Love connects the child to the Ground of Being, the Universe, which is the unlimited foundation of Life. Love connects the child to Mother Earth, the unlimited source of life. Love is the first principle of Becoming. Without Love life cannot grow strong, be it human or animal. Love connects the child to itself and through that connection to the Universe. From this connection, the Universe (life’s potential) can help manifest that child’s true intention and purpose to be alive. Therefore, Love is the foundation to life. Love confirms self-awareness and gives rise to respect of all life. Love fortifies the individual to believe in one’s worth and the worth of others. A child who is loved is a child that has the power to transcend all adversity, because that child has experienced the power of the Creative.
Young children need to know they are loved in order to thrive. They need affection and positive encouragement. As they grow, their relationships evolve and mature, however, it is this foundation of experiences based in love that gives the child the foundation to inherently know they are worthy of respect and their well-being is important. Therefore, love is the foundation of trust. Love leads to a child’s mind, body and heart being ready to learn and empowered to create.
Listening teaches the ‘Art of Attending’ to one’s own thoughts and another’s point of view; it develops the ability to allow for meaningful exchange of ideas and cooperation between individuals and groups. Listening from the heart gives space for each child to be heard and acknowledged. Listening from the heart recognizes each child has a valuable contribution to the whole with the potential to add value to the collective knowledge of any given subject or challenging enterprise. By attending fully to a child, we acknowledge their right to be present. When a child 's value is acknowledged, they in turn are given the concrete experience to develop the ‘Art of Attending’, or the ability to observe, communicate, collaborate, develop tolerance and respect for all life. Therefore, when a child speaks, they must be listened too with full attention and an open heart.
Awareness allows knowledge and perception to be active partners in discovery of the Self and world. It guides the child through self-discovery and recognizes the child is competent to be aware of itself. Awareness leads to mindfulness and develops the ability to self-regulate; it creates a stepping stone toward empathy for the greater world. Mindful children become aware of the power feelings, thoughts and actions have on themselves and others. Mindful-awareness helps the child to slow down and see the patterns in their own behaviors. With mindful-awareness as an attribute, the child can gain an understanding of their relationship to the world. This interrelating relationship leads to wisdom because the first (mindfulness) focuses the mind in the present and the other (awareness) leads to the ability to directly know and perceive. Therefore, awareness leads to mindfulness, and mindfulness leads to awareness. Developing mindful awareness removes guilt and shame and replaces these two negative emotions with observation and discovery.
Giving recognizes we are all connected and supported through the shared experience of life. Through the act of giving a child grows emotionally in response to the positive reactions they receive from friends, family, community and the positive affect the act of giving brings to the child and heart's development. Giving from the heart develops self-worth. Giving builds meaningful relations because it connects children to their own hearts and develops the awareness the creative potential in every child begins with all their needs being met. Therefore, every child must experience love, be nourished with healthy vital food, and sheltered in warmth and safety. When a child is not hungry or living in fear they are living and acting from a place of contentment-.a place of Sacred Power. From this sacred place it is easy to give because one is not afraid of not having enough,
It is the responsibility of the community to help ensure every child's needs are met within the umbrella of the collective communities that make up this world. Therefore, the health of our children is dependent on the health of all children. This is at the heart of the 'Art of Giving' which recognizes every child is at the center of the Circle. From that nurtured space, Kreative-thinking has it's active foundation. Meaning, a happy healthy child with all their needs met is ready to learn and be creative.
Ꚛ Therefore, when we give to children, their own hearts are moved to give, and this leads to Kreative-thinking because in order to give one must see the potential to give; find a way to give; and create the gift that supports the recipient in respect of that recipient’s individuality, attributes or needs. Giving is more than presents. It includes our words, feelings, actions and thoughts. Receiving is also a part of the Art of Giving. It is just as important to receive with an open heart, which means the child receives or gives the gift guilt-free, without strings attached and in gratefulness. Giving is rooted in equality.
Empowerment as a right recognizes the role of children in their own lives and acknowledges the need for their strengths, qualities, abilities, dreams and aspirations to be respected and supported. When we empower children with opportunities to move beyond resistance, fear, diminishing thoughts or beliefs, we empower them to meet their present and future paths with confidences and an open-hearted-minded attitude.
Empowered children believe in their own ability to grow and change from moment to moment. When we empower children we give them the fortitude to be the best that they can be and not be afraid to change and grow. Empowering children with positive, constructive and self-motivated directions will support each child’s individual and unique personality; it builds self-awareness and self-esteem within the child and so creates opportunity for positive behavior and relationships. From this secure and honest place, children will have the courage to acknowledge their own challenges and find positive ways to change and grow. An empowered child can see beyond hate, greed and fear, because their own foundation is built on the confidence of knowing they matter. Empowered children have the power to transform the World. Empowered children recognize each other as co-creators for the future.
Inclusion is the foundation of friendship. It begins with the understanding everyone is welcome at the circle. A Circle is not complete when even one child is left out, and their place in the Circle is at the center. This understanding belongs to Sacred Awareness. When we model inclusion and create experiences for children to learn inclusion, they concretely learn they are equal to each other, competition naturally ceases and the genuine art of supporting each other begins. In other words, a child is not afraid to win or loose because they know they are part of the whole group and they are confident their words, actions or feelings are relevant and add to the whole collective experience. Inclusion creates the relationship of trust and helps to establish those healthy boundaries that have their positive role in the spectrum of learning, development and mutual respect. As well, inclusion is part of the extended communities’ responsibility to ensure all children’s needs are provided for. With this understanding the world surrounding children will feel and become safe, because by experiencing inclusion for themselves and witnessing inclusion for their peers, they learn they are at the heart of their own welfare.
Nonviolence builds trust and respect. A child that grows up without violence is a child that has lived peace. A child that has lived peace understands the difference between peace and war. Any act of violence is an act of war. War is created to engage terror. Terror is engaged to control or destroy another’s right to self-governance. Therefore, a child must experience peace before they can understand the power of peace and the choice of non-violence. A child that grows up in peace is not afraid to speak, act, feel, test or discover their boundaries. When a child lives with peace, a child lives in the heart. When a child lives from the heart, a child is not afraid. When a child is not afraid, they can learn, listen and act from their individual spirit. Nonviolence allows the minds, hearts and bodies of children to grow the way they are meant to grow. When children grow up in nonviolent environments their brains are not hard-wired to stress and the positive connections made between the neurotransmitters and receptors builds resiliency for future stress factors. Nonviolence gives children concrete experiences to help them measure the value of their relations and the affects those relationships have to their own health and welfare. Fear that is activated from continual acts of violence is destructive to every aspect of the child’s whole development; whereas for example, the neurotransmitter receptors that are activated and linked through natural causes to fear such as walking to close to the edge of a precipice, seeing a wild animal, almost getting hit by a care are purposeful and help to develop the arts of spatial ability, survival and safety.
Kreative-Compassion builds self-acceptance and empathy for others. Kreative-compassion recognizes children have the right to express their dissatisfaction with the adults in their worlds. Through this opportunity to be genuine to their nature and perspective, children learn through expressing their true feelings. When children have living experiences that validate their true feelings and role in their development, their true feelings have a safe place to be expressed and acknowledged; and in turn their hearts and minds remain open to listen, learn, feel and act. Thereby the models for healthy communication are established and the concrete cognitive and emotional experiences necessary for compassion to become actualized in the child are given as living examples for them to draw understanding from. Children who experience compassion are given the tools to develop empathy. When their own pain and suffering is acknowledged and supported toward understanding, healing and fortitude, they learn how to breathe. In other words, they learn how to accept themselves and each other. From this sacred space, sympathy and concern become more than contemplative but active participants to finding solutions for one’s self and another’s pain and suffering. When children are given the opportunity to develop and learn through observation and experiences based in mindful and heart-based activities they grow and learn to their fullest potential. And it is easy for them to care and act on behalf of another being’s welfare.
Children learn what they live and live what they have learned…
As Teachers, our role and attitude are key to the success of each child’s future. By setting the standard for ‘Right Relation’ a teacher can give each child a living model to observe, interact with and model. Therefore, it is paramount for each adult to recognize where they are in their own healing journey. They must be able to fully accept this first prerequisite. That doesn’t mean you have achieved some great healing result, only that you recognize the past has shaped you and these children are not responsible to your healing. From this personal understanding or acknowledgement, one recognizes a child’s behavior is not personal to them, but a reflection of where the child is at in their own time, and instead, we will see those behaviors as opportunities to reflect on our own childhood and journey. As we find common ground, one will be able to see, intuit or accept where each child is at in their own healing, growing, learning and playful journey. With clear boundaries of respect; personal space; and safety; each child will be supported in their growth and goal toward being a happy, confident and productive human being. With this understanding, the child in you now, and the one you once were, will also be validated, honored, accepted and encouraged to be the best that you can be, and the very children you have chosen to care for and teach will empower your own healing journey.
Ꚛ The Foundation for the Kele Village iNK Philosophy is built from the Cornerstone of Love
And the Four Stepping Stones that make this Foundation are:
Ꚛ Inclusion - the First Stepping Stone… when a child knows they belong and are accepted unconditionally and without question, they can stand strong in adversity. They will know they are loved without anyone having to affirm it. Love cannot be underestimated or diminished to a physical act. Love is a spiritual understanding of equality. Love has no opposite. It is complete.
Ꚛ Nonviolence - the Second Stepping Stone… by establishing nonviolence as a 'Sacred Right', including words, actions and thoughts, a child learns to see themselves and their peers as equals; and the need to compete and conquer another is not learned and soon diminishes. The role of the teacher is to model this ideal and to support those children who may not experience peace, By establishing peace in the classroom and giving children opportunities to honour each others gifts, children will naturally exemplify these qualities. When a teacher remains in the place of hert and is able to react to negativity, aggression or violence with care and support, a child is given the gift of peace. Meaning, they have witnessed nonviolence and love in action.
Ꚛ Kreative-Compassion - the Third Stepping Stone… when a teacher is connected to their heart and creative path they have found the source from where all wisdom and acceptance emerges from. When a teacher teaches through compassionate understanding (kindness, respect and support) a child can be fearless, test the boundaries of self and build an understanding between causes and effects. Through this exercise of intention and discovery, the child can come to observe the actions and reactions of themselves and their peers; see the common and different relationships between all things; and have the opportunity to develop the capacity to make positive changes within the self and outer world. Teaching with compassion needs creative facilitators, because a bored child becomes a mischievous co-creator or destroyer. Therefore, Kreative-Compassion creates the positive environment necessary for self-love to flourish and empowered children to grow. Kreative-Compassion is rooted in love, kindness, respect and support. Kreative-Compassion recognizes a child must experience compassion and be given the opportunity to allow it to naturally manifest in the child. A child full of love is able to care for the world around them.
Ꚛ The Parent the Teacher- is the Fourth Stepping Stone… As Parents and Teachers, our role and attitude are key to the success of these fundamental cornerstones. By setting, the standard for ‘Right Relation’ a parent, a teacher can give each child a living example to observe, interact with and reflect on. By establishing and ensuring inclusion, clear boundaries of respect, personal space and safety- each child is supported in their growth and goal toward being “Whole”. In other words, a happy, confident and productive spiritual-human being.
At the center of this foundation is Love. Love is the foundation that gives the heart a home for all possibility and dreams to come true. Love is the ultimate foundation because Love heals every broken heart and gives every child the power to succeed.
Love begins with one’s self. Therefore, it is important for each of us to remember our own childhoods; to connect to the child within; to love this child; forgive this child; honor this child; and laugh with this child. As we reconnect to our childhoods, we may find our garden has grown over with weeds (wounded memories), fences are broken (boundaries not respected), self-esteem diminished (abuse), our beauty and innocence forgotten (dis-connection from the heart), and we may need to rebuild our own belief systems and heal our bodies and minds to meet our True-Selves. Knowing we are all precious and that value contributes to the well-being of our whole planet can give us the power to recognize what we need to change in ourselves; how we need to evolve emotionally; and where our own thoughts and actions get in the way of our positive relationships. This fourth stepping stone brings the foundation full circle because it includes us.
Ꚛ The Right of Every Child to Live in Love and Peace brings the Kele Village iNK Foundation Philosophy full circle.
I believe peace is the universal goal of humanity and a part of our evolution. I believe there is a direct relationship between childhood and this universal ideal of peace. I believe when every child is born this dream is reborn and given power to manifest in our world once again. When a child grows up in peaceful environments the potential for our world to become more peaceful is empowered. Thereby, a child can better choose peace as a solution when they have a collection of experiences to draw from. Thus, experiences of inclusion, non-violence, compassion and love become the wellspring from which a young person can find models to create peace. They have experiences to reflect on, learn from, and develop positive solutions further- and the ‘Whole Child’, meaning the social, physical, emotional, cognitive, creative and spiritual potential in each child becomes fully engaged- and with that a happier young adult emerges from childhood.
Therefore, the underlying philosophy for Kele Village iNK is a simple goal… to have each child fundamentally know they belong and matter; they are worthy of respect and safety; they are part of the never-ending cycle of life; and that each day will be a day of discovery, adventure, creativity and fun, I believe this in itself will lead and inspire the children toward the Dream of Peace.
Love is the foundation of equality.
Equality is the foundation of peace.
Peace is a right for all children.
Children are at the center of every circle.
The Circle is the perfect symbol of the child.
Every Child is the perfect symbol of Love.