Central and North Burnett Times - - MIND - MIND YOU WORDS: ROWENA HARDY Rowena Hardy is a fa­cil­i­ta­tor and coach at mind­

Iwas lis­ten­ing to a pro­gram re­cently about early ed­u­ca­tion and the im­por­tance of al­low­ing chil­dren to ex­plore their cre­ativ­ity and imag­i­na­tion as part of their de­vel­op­ment and ex­pe­ri­en­tial learn­ing about the world around them. They were talk­ing par­tic­u­larly about clay and art work and the mes­sage that came across was that you can learn a lot about the child from how they en­gage with the ac­tiv­ity as well as from what they cre­ate. The pro­gram also de­scribed that, up to a cer­tain age, chil­dren en­gag­ing in these ac­tiv­i­ties just start with a blank page or piece of clay with­out any ex­ter­nal in­flu­ence or sug­ges­tions and go from there. They don’t com­pare what they cre­ate with oth­ers or judge it as good or bad, artis­tic or not, they are just en­joy­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence and cre­at­ing work that re­flects their imag­i­na­tion in that mo­ment. Around the age of five is when self-es­teem starts to de­velop as part of our over­all self-con­cept and we may be­come more crit­i­cal of our­selves and our abil­i­ties as we start to com­pare our­selves to oth­ers, par­tic­u­larly if we feel we come up short. If that con­tin­ues, by the time we reach ado­les­cence our self-es­teem based on ex­pe­ri­ences, ex­ter­nal in­flu­ences and pres­sure is cre­at­ing an in­ter­nal di­a­logue that is likely to be neg­a­tive and we then tend to judge our­selves harshly. It isn’t al­ways us that we judge harshly. Be­ing hu­man, it’s easy to form judg­ments about sit­u­a­tions, events and other peo­ple based on our per­sonal view of the world through our unique ver­sion of re­al­ity and what we be­lieve is right and true or not. While pass­ing judg­ment may not al­ways be harm­ful in its in­tent, it is fre­quently neg­a­tive and there­fore has the po­ten­tial to be dam­ag­ing to our­selves and oth­ers – par­tic­u­larly if we be­come stub­born and in­flex­i­ble in our view. So, we all do it at times but why do we judge? It can be be­cause we want to make sense of some­thing but only have cer­tain in­for­ma­tion to go on, so our brain fills in the gaps and leads us to an as­sump­tion. The si­t­u­a­tion, event or per­son is some­thing that chal­lenges our own think­ing and per­cep­tion of re­al­ity or has us feel threat­ened in some way. If we stop for a mo­ment to con­sider what it is for us, we may re­alise that most of the time we know very lit­tle about what’s re­ally hap­pen­ing. We may only have frag­ments of in­for­ma­tion or have over­heard or mis­heard some­thing – all of which may lead to mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tion and in­cor­rect con­clu­sions. We all strug­gle to un­der­stand our­selves and our mo­tives at times, so judg­ing oth­ers and what they are do­ing or not do­ing is ab­surd. If you find your­self mak­ing a judg­ment then it’s worth re­mind­ing your­self that we don’t see peo­ple as they are, we see them as we are. There­fore what­ever you are judg­ing them about is some­thing you need to pay at­ten­tion to in your­self. Chal­leng­ing? Yes, and also worth keep­ing in mind for next time.

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