Human Stories

Story from our school

A colleague trainer of mine says: “we are living in a culture of oppression- the oppression of children”. When I see how many times children hear the sentence: “No (you should not…!) ”, and when I notice how it feels inside when my partner/friend/neighbor is telling me: “NO Yoram (you should not…!)”, it is then that I start getting what my colleague is trying to say.
Here is a story about the risk of a ‘NO’, with a 4 years old child in our school.

The effect of saying ‘NO’ to life (or- moving toward saying YES to life): 
A new boy came to our school (L.I.F.E.!)- A 4 years old who was labeled as ‘not fitting in the normal school system’ and with a ‘taint of autism’. As I understood, what was behind ‘not fitting’ is that he is not a big fan of people telling him what to do… and, he was showing it very clearly…
So he signed up for a ‘try out day’ in our school.
On the first day of school, while not knowing anyone, the boy came fully equipped with his ‘fireman toys’. His father told me: “He is so happy, as in the other school, he was not allowed to bring toys from home and this was very difficult for him.”
I went to the boy and he immediately started speaking and explaining me all about his fireman stuff, showing me how each works, slowing down and patiently repeating the Dutch words I didn’t understand, looking at my mouth pronouncing, smiling at my awkward accent, correcting me to make sure I am with him (I will never forget the word ‘Brandweerman’- I am very grateful for my little teacher).
The rest of the day, I was amazed seeing him getting in contact with EVERYONE in the school- to each person he met, he presented his fireman stuff. I never saw such a quick integration while he didn’t know anyone before!
Without intending any harm, such a small ‘NO’ rule (‘children are not allowed to bring toys from home’) risks to take away the natural means of connection and leaving a child with nothing at hand. Leave him with a title ‘autism’.
When I was at school, I was constantly being taken away from my means of communication: I really liked joking with kids, but I was not allowed to speak during the class. I really liked painting forms, but I was not allowed to paint during class. I really liked playing football, but I was not allowed to play football. So I spend my time learning to count seconds/minutes on my watch and looking out the window…
When I now go to parties, social meetings or family gathering, and when it seem to me that my toy (In my case, my toy is called ‘speaking about feelings’) is not welcome, I too become ‘autism’- I do not know how to connect, and then I prefer going back home, sitting on my computer and watch youtube…
As a dancer, I learned it the hard way when each time I had the desire to move in a certain way and my mind was telling me: “No (this is not Beautiful)”, in that moment I got cut from ‘flow’ and I couldn’t dance anymore.
I so long to create a safe space- for myself and others- where we can say YES to the intuitive movement of life.
With much hope for YES,