SEP 29 2011

Mindfulness training 01: guiding toddlers.

Exploring attitude

Exploring whatever you want: the woods, your own backyard, the city -you may explore the world, your inner world or the virtual world …really, whatever you want-, is the main subject that has being covered lately here in Frugal Science.

Krishnamurti on learning

In this article you will find a discussion based on your very own comments and a referral to a mysterious book that made a big impression on me, a long time ago. Let me start with the book:


The perfect explorer handbook.

I found this book when I was fifteen years or so. I was very into exploring and that cocky title seduced me. The book was very well written and I enjoyed it a lot but, it was full of philosophical stuff that did not appeal to me at the time.

It said things like: “exploring has nothing to do with being reckless” and “the only thing to learn about dealing with sneaks is to not get bitten” (for a better understanding of these statements, click on any of the preceding links to a previous article).

At that time I was awed by the heroic stories of Captain Robert Scott, Jacques Cousteau, Jane Goodall, Lewis & Clark and David Livingstone, and what the book proposed had nothing to do with adventure and heroism. I read it and put it away.

Once I experienced working as a professional explorer and learned what exploring was really about, I realized that the lessons written in that book was more than just amusing: much of its advice made sense then. I tried to read it again but I never found the book.

That’s why I called it a mysterious book: I really took time to find it using many resources but it seemed to be disappeared from the planet.

The point in telling you this story is one phrase that the book contained which I think it explains by itself: “…You need two things and two things only to become a true explorer: mindful attention and some frugal science. Anything else is accessory…”

(No, it is not a coincidence with the title of this blog, if you are wondering)


Mindfulness training 01.

In the prior post about exploring, I received many great comments from you (the most, so far, for a FS article). And –could not have being different- some of them provided with great insights and lessons about exploring.

One idea became recurrent among your comments: the natural exploration ability that small children possess. And so, connecting with the two things you need to become an explorer proposed before, I decided to write about some suggestions for training our mindfulness.

Here is the first one: guiding a toddler

Toddlers are naturally mindful and guiding a son, a daughter, a nice, or a grandson through discovering anything is a great learning opportunity for both the child and the grown up.

This is not something new for parents with toddlers. The honestly awed look and the accuracy with which young children apply themselves when inquiring about something never stop to amaze us.

If you haven’t had the experience, I totally recommend it. If you are single, grab a young nephew or nice, or the neighbor’s toddler for fifteen minutes (asking for parents permission might be a good idea in this cases) and go through the experience of observing… anything (clouds, leaves, ants, anything).

You will first notice the toddler’s reaction: a pure sample of human capacity of astonishment (capacity that we seem to have lost somewhere in our road to adulthood). And then, by comparing, you might notice your (lack of) reaction inside of you.

What do you think produces the difference between the toddler and you?

The conversation in now opened…

There are 11 comments

  • critters and crayons on said:

    I have a pre-schooler and a toddler- before motherhood, I didn’t savor much about the present. Now, we dwell in it. Watching rocks “be” or literal ice melting to demontstrate the concept of what happens when something cold is introduced to something warmer- becomes a fascinating experiment. For them and for me. :)
    critters and crayons recently posted..C&C Craftless Series: “Let Kids Create” Stick Puzzles

  • Danny | Excited By Life on said:

    Children have the concept of “beginners mind”. Everything is new and exciting to them. One of the reasons I started my blog was to recapture that feeling of “beginners mind” I had as a child. Children have no judgments about anything or anyone – just the excitement of exploration and discovery. Nice post.
    Danny | Excited By Life recently posted..Farm Life | An Exciting Childhood

  • gustavo on said:

    Hi, Patricia!

    You got the idea perfectly. Also, you mention “savoring the present” and that’s the point I want to focus on. I am guessing that, in spite all the fantasy the usually handle, they are more capable to be present than we adults.

  • Gustavo| Frugal Science on said:

    Hi Danny!

    I think you just hit where the money is, and the key idea is to look at things without judging them. Unlike children, we adults always immediately ask ourselves how this thing we are looking at is going to affect us (positively or negatively).
    Gustavo| Frugal Science recently posted..Mindfulness training 01: guiding toddlers.

  • Desi on said:

    Anticipation is actually a developmental milestone for infants and toddlers. If a child doesn’t develop a basic understanding “if this happens, then this will happen” by age two then something might be wrong. What my six-man crew has taught me, though, is that there is a BIG difference between anticipation and expectation. They anticipate something amazing, and want to learn more about it. We expect something we have experienced before, and if that something turns out to be amazing (read: a new experience) we are more likely to read it as a failure of our ability to accurately predict an outcome. Baggage, right? I so admire their sense of wonder :)
    Desi recently posted..Not Fat, Among Other Things

  • Sherrie Koretke on said:

    Wonderful, Gustavo.
    It’s so true. I’ll never forget my child’s reaction as a toddler when she first discovered planes. It lead to all sorts of exploration which by the way was also a great bonding experience.
    Great post!
    Sherrie Koretke recently posted..Allowing Space for Your Life’s Work

  • Gustavo| Frugal Science on said:

    Discerning between expectation and anticipation is a very intelligent insight, Desi! I have the feeling that there’s a lot to learn about it. I am guessing: the sense of failure has no room when you have a genuine sense of wonder. Having such a sense is already a victory.
    Gustavo| Frugal Science recently posted..Mindfulness training 01: guiding toddlers.

  • Samantha Bangayan on said:

    I loved learning more about the background behind the title of your blog, Gustavo! Sounds like an amazing book! =)

    I also completely relate to the natural curiosity and exploring ability in toddlers! In fact, when I worked with mothers and children in rural communities here, we also encouraged mothers to explore their natural environment with their toddlers! It’s not only the basis for mother-child interaction and a learning experience for the child, but also a great way to get in touch with our natural curiosity as human beings! =)
    Samantha Bangayan recently posted..Tourism in Huancayo: 4 Reasons You Should Visit

  • Gustavo | frugal science on said:

    Wow Samantha! I didn’t know you did that kina of work in Huancayo (although I remember reading your post about doing some similiar work in Japan). That must habe being quite a learning experience.

    You are right about the natural curiosity that human beings have. It must be tightly related to human exploring nature.

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    Behind Frugal Science
    Hi there! I’m Gustavo and Frugal Science is about helping you rediscover your exploring nature and enjoying the benefits of looking life in a different way. Anybody can become a true explorer –it’s our nature-, all you need is a mindful attention and some frugal science.
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