I have just returned from a trip to the UK for a conference and holiday and have been reflecting on all the wonderful sights, places and people I encountered.
I have plenty of time to think (as severely jet-lagged) so have twice the time for reflection!
I love the National Gallery in London as it houses so many of my favourite paintings and each year I notice how few people really look at paintings.
While in the room with many of Van Gogh’s paintings I just sat and watched people. There was a huge crowd jostling for the best space to click, click, click with their mobile phones and NOBODY looked. NOBODY gazed and tried to take in the incredible beauty, challenging messages, colours, juxtapositions of objects and sky and strange unsettling images.
Sadly they just wanted to have these little rectangular pictures on their phones to show and prove they had been there.
Don’t people want to SEE anymore?
Is it really too hard to interact and to have to think and reflect?
I was with my cousin, his partner and young daughters (4 and 5 years) and witnessed completely different reactions from the kids.
Their parents encouraged them to stand and stare at a couple of the pictures and then to try to draw them. The kids were SO engrossed and spent around 45 minutes at their drawings. They SAW far more than these people who were “doing the National Gallery.”
I want the kids I teach to SEE and to BE and to not fall into the trap of interacting with their environments in such shallow ways. To do that I have to plan learning activities where they can really THINK, REFLECT and INTERACT with learning materials.
When children are rushed they are troubled and the world is already so full of troubled people living lives at headlong speeds. Taking time, reflecting and really SEEING can be healing opportunities where we grow, find out who we are and dwell in the deep end for a while!