JUST USE YOUR “NAGINATION”
Three-year-old children are wired for mindfulness. This is because three-year-olds and some young four-year-olds are considered “pre-operational thinkers,” which means that they rely solely on the concrete appearance of objects rather than ideas, they focus on only one relationship at a time, and they often see things from only one point of view—their own.
We can thank Jean Piaget, the French-speaking Swiss developmental psychologist and philosopher known for his epistemological studies with children, for teaching us this around 1969. Piaget also concluded that three-year-olds have good memories for things in their immediate experiences. However, they have not developed effective strategies for recalling information over longer periods of time. Children’s wonder for things that they have repeatedly experienced is related to their under developed memories, that’s why three-year-olds can repeatedly watch the same puppet or read the same book 40 times and still show the same delight as they did the first time they were engaged in these activities.
The ultimate experience of mindfulness!
I have spent a lovely chunk of time with my almost three-year-old twin nephews this summer and am struck again and again by the magic that comes with experiencing everything again and again for the very first time! Every moment, meal, book, game, toy, encounter is absolutely new and holds the promise of “the magic of discovery.”
I have found myself trying to adopt a “three-year-old mindset,” gaining new information about almost everything if I require myself to experience it as if for the first time.
One day when we were playing, I asked them what they did with a box that was sitting on the floor. They looked at me as if I was asking the silliest question ever spoken and said, “just use your nagination.” So there! We did just that.
As we gradually develop our “authentic selves,” over the span of our lives, we may need to return time and time again to age three to remember and relearn the virtues of dreaming and creating and unstructured time and play and boundless curiosity. Since three-year-olds can only live in the moment cognitively, they are our best teachers of true “mindfulness.”
In addition, they respond well to routine as a touchstone for understanding expectations and imbedding a sense of security.
So I invite you to go make a friend who is three years old and see what you can learn. Here are some of my lessons:
*Mindfulness is in fact rather simple if we adults do not complicate the concept.
*Routine is the basis of ritual. When we create and practice rituals, we build our toolbox for dreaming, creating and living mindfully.
*Take your “nagination” with you wherever you go! I can’t think of a better idea!
To schedule a mind wellness retreat/experience, contact Laurie Morgan Silver.