My writing partner Stacy and I recently had the opportunity to interview Simon Paul Harrison. Simon is the author of The Truly Alive Child ~ For Those Who Seek A Grander Vision For Our Children. If you are an author who would love to be interviewed see my author interview details on my home page.
You can also find more author interviews under the “author interview” category. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Enjoy the interview and leave a comment about what you think about helping children connect more to nature to become truly alive! ~ Carol
Stacy and Carol: First of all what was your childhood like?
Simon: Like everyone else, I always considered my childhood normal. It’s not till we get older and have some perspective, do we discover that none of us have a“normal” childhood. I was quite happy really, playing soccer, riding my bike. We had fields behind our house where we would build shelters and play games. We were always out and about. I had a lot of freedom that seems to have disappeared for children very rapidly.
Stacy and Carol: What would you have liked to have asked your parents to change, stop or start to do with you while you were a child?
Simon: Great question! This one really made me think. There’s an awful lot of things I would have answered at the time of my childhood, but now looking back on them, they were all wonderful experiences. For example, we lost part of our pocket money if we left lights on, which was a real drag at the time. But looking back on it now, it was a great lesson in energy conservation! I’m very happy in my life, so it’s hard to say that something held me back. I think I was allowed to watch too much television, but both my parents worked really hard to pay the bills, so I can’t really criticize them. But, if I have to pick something, it would have been nice, looking back, to have spent less time in front of a television.
Stacy and Carol: What made you choose the John Lennon quote at the start of your book?
Simon: Because it’s wonderfully simple and to the point! I appreciate simplicity.
Stacy and Carol: At what age did your mind think of this concept you write about? Being truly alive and conscious of the role you have as a parent?
Simon: It really began to emerge when I was an elementary school teacher in England, so mid-twenties. In many ways I was amazed how damaging huge parts of the education system were to children. Most of all, arbitrary destinations we re-chased after without ever questioning them, which I found to be very worrying. The ability to question everything we create is fundamental. Things are ever changing and the ability to move with the flow of life is crucial for everybody’s peace and joy. It’s also important that we don’t just think this is something for parents. It’s everybody. Teachers, parents, uncles, aunts -anyone who cares about the next generations to come.
Stacy and Carol: Your idea’s are so completely do-able. What country or world we could create if people realize all they need to do is educate themselves and choose. What are you doing to set your book and idea out for all to see, read and experience?
Simon: I think that people who really need to read it will find it. I’m not really one for making a fanfare. I write a blog that goes out when the flow takes me, and that’s accessible through my website at www.simonpaulharrison.com. It’s a funny situation that I consider The Truly Alive Child to be hugely important, and at the same time, of no importance what so ever. I don’t have a master plan to get it out there, I just follow my heart.
Stacy and Carol: Your camp you promote for kids can carry them through-out their life with what you teach them. Do you feel you could franchise your camps out and and start them in each state? Could you imagine the kind of kids it would produce?
Simon: I don’t really feel the desire to franchise what I’m doing and I’m not sure it would work. I’d love to set up are treat someplace where people could come and stay for weeks and months, discovering, growing, and experiencing who they really are. That’s the next project!
As for the children this would create, it’s almost outside the realm of our conception. When I’ve made it happen, we’ll find out!
Stacy and Carol: Your quote, “An educational system isn’t worth a great deal if it teaches young people how to make a living, but doesn’t teach them how to make a life.” Author unknown. This quote says it all, how would you teach them to make a life?
Simon: By showing children that life is not to be lived on a hamster wheel, constantly chasing after illusory goals where happiness is always just out of reach. Being truly alive to me means following your heart, your soul and your vision every moment of the day. Children don’t have to follow and accept the beliefs and assumptions that we as adults have. We have a tendency to think that teaching involves words, lecturing and talking to children, telling them what to do. But our actions are infinitely more powerful. If we want to teach children how to make a life, we ourselves must have a life that we live with passion, with love and with joy. Then children might think about following in our footsteps.
Stacy and Carol: What could we do to help children live in the present moment more often as opposed to stressing over the next test, memorizing the next set of numbers, doing what someone else is always telling them to do?
Simon: Well all the examples you give, which are very common, are all created and perpetuated by adults. It’s no use telling children not to stress about these when they see the whole adult world stressing about them. We must ask ourselves who we are, looking deeply without deciding the answers in advance. Are we separate individuals all fighting against each other, or are we the entire deal, the whole shebang, the ocean at the same time as the wave, inextricably connected in one beautiful rhythm? When we realize that stressing over “success” and reaching a destination are complete fabrications, entirely based on illusions, children won’t be subjected to that world.
Stacy and Carol: To create real change you state we have to think, act & immerse ourselves in a different world. Can you speak a little on the different world you would like to create for our children?
Simon: If we are to move towards supporting peace and joy in children we must show our children that we are all one. Without the ability to move beyond the illusions we have created that we are all separate, individual units fighting against each other for our survival we will not change the life experiences of children to ones of peace, joy and creativity. When we see ourselves as both the wave and the ocean, individual and all one, we act very differently. We treat each other with compassion and love, not because someone says we should but because we can imagine no other way of being. We do not need to indoctrinate children into a world of competition and fighting, for who would it be that was winning? There is no I, and the illusions we have created that lead us to violence, greed and inhuman acts would simply fall away. Peace seems so far out of reach for our children that we don’t know where to even look for it anymore. But the secret is always in the place you least expect to look- right inside each of us.
Stacy and Carol: You speak about the violence in today’s world, in our movies, video games, T.V. shows, etc, how they all portray it as normal human traits. This is a learned and taught trait. What would you do to turn this mind thought around to help our kids be who they truly came here to be?
Simon: We must become conscious that everything is food. Every word, image, action, and even thought encourages some things to grow and others to retreat. Continually subjected to messages of violence, these seeds grow in our children. It’s not our children’s fault if they are deeply un-peaceful. So we as adults have to question deeply what “food” we are feeding children. It’s remarkable we can still pretend these things don’t have an effect, but it shows how numb we have all become. Life just isn’t wondrous and sacred anymore. It’s disposable. We must take time to smile at the blue sky, marvel at the petals of a flower, touch the bark of a tree – experience life once again as something to be revered, marveled at and, dare I say it, seen through the eyes of a three year old.
Stacy and Carol: Simon, thank you for sharing your incredible book with us and our parenting community. We truly admire the work you are doing. Please share with us the best way we can stay connected to you and follow your endeavors.
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