The ability to love others

The final week of the job shadowing period in SCMS, Santarem, Portugal, occurred from the 20th of March to the 24th of March. The schedule focused on the observation of the activities undertaken by SCMS Youth Workers in the Kinder Garden of Misericordia.

The job shadowing is finished, an experience that has marked my life in many ways, I must admit. When I arrived I did not know what to expect, I just came in the hope of being able to contribute to change. And now that it’s over I understood that I never came here to teach, I came here to learn. This beautiful journey has left a mark not only in my history, but especially in my heart.

I have been fortunate to meet wonderful people, inspiring people who despite the economic, legal or social difficulties that appear along the way continue day by day working for children, and not only provide education, but also quality education.

I honestly believe that the people who are in this work are part of a new revolution, a new era for education where new and more revolutionary methods of teaching are being discovered, where the new and more impacting educational centers are being founded by people who see opportunities in places like Santarem, the greatest stories of people who have been impacted are being written in these classrooms, thanks to the people who are deciding to do something else. Because if there is to be a change in education I think it must be for the will and vocation of those who care about children and not for state policies.

These people are the ones who want education be directed once and for all, taking into account individual human capacities, differences in learning, fostering the creativity of children, understanding that these tools are essential for the “progress” of all society.

But in order to construct this “new age”, it is necessary first to learn from that ability to dance and to sing in spite of the terrible circumstances, to get up after falling, to clean our knees and to continue running, relationships that establish the children, which will allow us to reach another dynamic if we have the ability to see and listen carefully what, from their practice, the children, are able to teach us.

To learn, for example, that their critical sensitivity doesn’t express with words but with their actions and ways of life, a call for attention that makes us think of the need to return to the path of tenderness – in a world of disaffection – that leaves the heart of our children behind us.

A tenderness that is not abstract but concrete and with sensitive manifestations such as embrace, smile, look and touch, the word or a myriad of gestures that feed people in order to not to fall in lack of love. Therefore, it becomes an inescapable necessity of humanity. These qualities that we have been leaving aside as we grow and forgot that someday we were children, we felt and believed in something much larger than what is in front of our noses.

That is why the call is to resume the relationship with children, learning from their eyes, their transparency and the beauty they provide. We can not continue in a messy world that refuses to listen to its children, and is lost in a traditional and formal perspective. In that sense, it is necessary to retake the capacity to be surprised with new ways of being and feeling: in this perspective education plays a fundamental role.

It is time to return to that vital force of the human species which in children is expressed in their ability to love the other, in their tenderness and in their ability to move forward and not stay still, as I’ve understood during this journey.