Updated: Mar 14, 2021
Of all the educators, kids are my favorite. I learn from their flexible thinking while playing; I learn from their skills of invention while using their imagination; I learn from them how to free myself from my ego. They have flexible, blank pages as minds that enfold unlimited options. They are the original canvas, and thus I learn from them so much about originality and creativity.
In order to learn from them I have to switch between my default natural "I know everything" parent's lens, with the nurtured "I want to learn from you" one.
Whenever I learn something from them or teach them something, I try to get down to their level and speak their language. Sometimes it's a perceptual move, rather than a physical back-bend.
For example, when I need to convey the notion of a 30 minute car ride to my four year old’s abstract mind, I use a perceptual anchor. I remind then about the length of one episode of their favorite TV cartoon.
In this video I physically go down to my four year old boy's level and explain to him how to inflate air into the car's wheels. When we are on the same level, he feels safer as he's being treated fairly. From his point of view, it feels like: "I've been seen". When I play with my kids, I often engage with my inner child. This enables me to be fully present in the game. When I join their game and follow "their rules", they feel worthy, and that their choices are acknowledged positively by a powerful authority. This move strengthens their self image and self confidence. It fills both sides with joyful happiness, and it sparks my imagination.
While shooting children photographs, I also follow the rule of getting down on their level. By doing so I make the scene more real, or more accurately, I document an authentic scene. I also shoot them as they are and never ask them to pose for the camera. By doing so I achieve several things: first, I capture authentic moments; second, I teach them nothing but being themselves, because children learn in two dimensions: via doing/saying (active) and through being (passive learning); third, by capturing moments from their eye-view, I widen my perspective and train myself to see things from their point of view. This serves me in moments of conflicts to act with greater empathy.