Children of the New Age by Richard Seymour. Reproduced by kind permission of Richard Seymour.
That children are our future is a somewhat tired cliché. It is what motivates us to shape today the adults of tomorrow. But what sort of adults are we producing and for what purposes? Should we be content with merely knocking together well-rounded, law abiding individuals who’ll step into society as replacements for those who have grown too old be useful, thus keeping the now well-oiled machine turning?
But for every child who becomes a lawyer, how many Shakepseares, Mozarts, Einsteins or even Buddhas are lost to the world? For every occasion we educate a child on how to think, how many new ways of seeing do we miss out on? And for every school teacher we train, how many world teachers are having their unique lessons for us destroyed?
Teaching was the topic of Children of the New World: a recent conference held in England in the hope that our children will one day be seen not only as blank canvasses on which we may paint, but works of art that might inspire us: the Adults of the Old World who would do well to listen.
Speakers from both sides of the Atlantic addressed an audience of parents, teachers, healers and men and women of science upon such diverse subjects as the evolution of consciousness, neurology, rainbow technology and a ground-breaking school that is achieving startling results in India and the United States – with one constant theme: our children.
Dr. Samanta-Laughton (Dr. Munchie), co-organised the event and opened proceedings with a fascinating talk on the evolutionary process as affected by our consciousness; a leading-edge concept in science, which is how all good theories begin.
First of all disappointing the audience by debunking the rather romantic idea that children are being born today with different D.N.A. structures to the rest of us, thus rendering them genetically superior, Dr. Munchie went on to discuss the power of our minds over our physiological destinies:
"The human genome project is discovering we don't have enough genes to drive who we are," she explained. "There is something deeper than the gene and some biologists are saying it is consciousness that is responsible for making us human."
This is not the first time human consciousness has been placed at the centre of scientific discussion: quantum physicists have for decades understood that human consciousness is essential to the state of matter as we perceive it; a discovery that has forced modern physics to radically rethink its methods and has led some to draw the first comparisons with ancient mysticism.
"What happens is," continued the doctor, "as consciousness evolves then the human race will change. And that is what we are seeing with these wise children. It's a natural progression of human evolution."
Today, the trend is to call these children Indigoes or Crystals, which can sometimes lead to the misconception that they are somehow a species other than human. This, of course, is not the case. They are the sum of human potential as it currently stands.
Having laid the ground with bone fide science, Dr. Munchie gave way to Jenna Schulman. M.A., who spoke of the crucial transition from childhood to adulthood. She began by illuminating the reality of the interconnectedness of all things and the illusion of separation that pervades the world today.
"We are not here to ask how can we help the kids separately from how we help ourselves. We are the models. Kids look to adults and this is where the patterns are set. We just have to be the unity ourselves and this is a difficult challenge when everything in our society tells us otherwise."
It was the challenge presented by this responsibility that Schulman chose to speak so passionately about.
“It's how we perceive things, how we think about them and our thoughts that are the vibrations that are in themselves consciousness. There is much more than we could ever consciously process coming through us on a moment by moment basis and it manifests in the way we pattern ourselves, our families and societies and this is what we learn as children.”
And therein lies the complexity (or simple beauty) of the matter: it is the very way we think, so basic to our being, that forms the intellectual, psychological and emotional landscape upon which our children develop.
But how to change the way one thinks? And what changes would be better, or indeed worse?
"It's an awareness of ourselves," explains Schulman. "and how we process information in every moment. It's a challenge to live in that state of meditative awareness, but it is the intention that counts."
Teachers in the audience, disillusioned by the education systems they are forced to work within, were keen to know how, within the confines of a modern teaching structure, they could apply new techniques in the classroom.
Soleira Green, a global visionary who works at developing new ways of living and working, explained how to connect with the energy in a room and the collective consciousness of a group of students, that are perhaps unruly.
"There is an energy stream that flows between people and kids are astute at reading it," she says and asks if, as a teacher, there was ever a time when you were in touch with the energy -– where you really connected – and suggests that you cultivate that experience and begin to connect with the class on a collective-conscious level more regularly.
Paul Jacobs and Dee Shipman of the Rainbow Journey spoke enthusiastically about their two-pronged approach to education when they took to the stage in a blaze of colour and music and their methods (sunbeams, raindrops and rainbows) proved to be no less colourful than their entrance.
A person's sunbeams are their more positive qualities; those that should be recognised and encouraged. His raindrops are those characteristics that hold him back, whether they be low self-esteem, learning difficulties or behavioural problems. His rainbows being what results when his unique talents, confidence and personality are allowed to flourish, benefiting him and his environment.
Perhaps the most inspiring speaker of the day, though, was John Campbell whose own journey through addiction would have been enough to fill any talk. However, Campbell's recovery did not stop at himself and he has embarked upon a mission to bring a brand of schooling to children that is almost, but not quite, unique in this world.
The K.P.M. Approach to Children is based on the belief that every child is born with an innate wisdom that must not be ‘educated’ out of them, but allowed to flourish in the time and manner of its choosing. The process cannot and must not be rushed. His vision has already begun to take shape and a number of people from diverse backgrounds have undertaken to travel to India to learn this new approach with the hope of building new schools in addition to those in India and the United States.
The very fact that a grand vision such as Campbell's can inspire others to give up old ways of life bears testament to the fact that a palpable change is indeed taking place. Bringing it back to science, however, Dr. Andrew Curran -– a paediatric neurologist – explained, in a remarkably simple and engaging fashion, the intricate and endlessly fascinating processes of the brain as it applies to education.
By way of a highly entertaining and brilliantly convoluted, explanation, Dr. Curran arrived at the scientifically sound notion that a happy, well-loved student not only learns more easily, but retains information more securely than one that is scared into learning with the ever-present threat of failure and a life of struggle as their motivation. Curran, an Irishman, concluded his section with a rendition of Danny Boy, which, I suspect, is the real reason he was invited.
And if a reminder were needed as to why we had gathered together, we had the privilege of meeting some very special children who had spent the day in the skilled hands of Karen Turner, whose talent in creating subtley layered workshops for children has proved an uplifting success.
While there are many among us who are able to find themselves quite comfortable with intuitive understanding and mystical experience, it is a fact that the world tends not to change unless scientific evidence is employed to give substance to such arguments.
For many years, science and mysticism were opposing forces in this regard; but recent scientific breakthroughs have lead to a far closer relationship between the age-old antagonists that can even be said to be mutually beneficial.
If the Children of the New World conference's message could be placed under the banner of an academic discipline then it might, in all seriousness, be known as the science of love. It may make one or two of the pragmatists (of which I confess to be one) wince to say it, but that really is what it comes down to in the end. Then again, the rest of you knew it did all along, didn't you.
Copyright Richard Seymour 2004