How much time do you spend reminiscing the past, dreaming of the future or stuck in regret of what might have been? How often are you truly in current time? Focused and completely lost in the moment. A moment of time.
Time can have so many meanings. It is a measurement of seconds, minutes and hours. A way to add structure within our day, lunchtime, dinnertime and bedtime. It is how we plan, schedule and predict. Our existence revolves around it. To some adults, time feeds their desire for order and control. It gives reason to their actions and order to potential chaotic mess. For children time has not yet developed these meanings. Time is continual. Time is irrelevant. The present time is a moment in time to just be.
Too many times we have missed the moment. Whether it be that we have been focused on other agendas, become lost in time travelling thoughts or blinded by distractions, we are all guilty of not being mentally present. It seems that with the introduction of more technology, comes more distractions. Our brains become clouded with more thoughts, regret and dreams. Subsequently we have developed a fear, a fear of missing out. This fear takes our brains on a little vacation to a virtual reality. People have such a desire to stay overly connected to each other, to know everything about everyone and well, over sharing just doesn’t seem to be an issue. Oh great, you ate over cooked steak and soggy vegetables last night. I can sleep soundly in knowing that, Thank you. Our time is consumed by creating a particular image of ourselves or trying to document the perfect image of our children, we become lost and miss the significance of the here and now.
Don’t get me wrong, I am connected up to my eye balls. I have three Instagram accounts- all for different audiences, my personal Facebook- in addition to three Facebook pages that I manage. I have five different email addresses, a blog, messenger, iMessage and then there is my iPhone and camera, basically an extension of my iHand. I take photos of everything food included, #guilty. I currently have 8,552 photos on my iPhone and would probably actually die if I was to lose it. As much as I am aware of my probable addiction, I struggle to create a balance and go for longer periods without……. But I just need to see the photos from my friends, friends, sister who I heard has just had a baby to my third cousins brother and apparently they gave birth under a waterfall. Oh and did you see that dancing panda that did a triple back flip while drinking a kale thickshake? Ah-mazing! My inner calm and balance comes from the comfort of my known connectedness to nature. I am just addicted to nature as I am to technology. While I know I don’t need my iPhone to climb my favourite fig tree, how amazing would a photo from that perspective be?! #selfie #sorrynotsorry
Our distraction has led to our disconnection from those right in front of us. The ones sitting next to us as we scroll through our phones, check our emails, distractedly think about documentation or spend time with them peering through a camera lens so we don’t miss the perfect photo opportunity. How will people know it happened if there is no evidence, right? Making memories and capturing time is more than just pretty documentation, having a trillion photos or social media records. It is the feelings, the thoughts and connection in the moment. Within Early Childhood Settings and even in our homes, we need to stop and think about the message we are sending to the children. We need to respect their right to privacy. Their right to unscheduled time. Their right to time in uninterrupted play, sans camera in the face, and preferably in nature.
The beauty of nature play is that time becomes redundant, it seems to go on forever. It is easy to get lost in the moment, lost in the play, deeply engaged and focused. You could possibly get lost in the bush too, but I’m sure you will have your trusty iCompass with you–after all it is all about creating a balance. As adults we can learn to prioritse our own time to re-think our role as Educators. We can stop and critically think about what really matters, the actual authentic moment or the documentation that will come later? Until you clear your mind of distractions, schedules and pre-determined agendas you will never be really able to become lost in the moment of time. The thought of leaving my phone at home when I go out, leaves me feeling naked and vulnerable. The actual act of not having it in my back pocket, leaves me feeling refreshed and free. I love it and I acknowledge that I need to do it more.
Creating a balance is all about mindfulness, purposeful acts and awareness. Time is continual, there is always tomorrow. Time is irrelevant, unscheduled your day. For children, time is a moment to be. Come out from behind your camera lens, put down your phone and log off. Disconnect from technology and reconnect with each other and the natural world. See the world for the beautiful place that it is, without an Instagram filter.