8/16/12

A Conversation With Author Simon Paul Harrison

We 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.

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 weget 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. Wewere always out and about. I had a lot of freedom that seems to havedisappeared for children very rapidly.

Stacy and Carol: What would you have liked to have asked your parents to change, stop 
or start todo with you while you were achild?
Simon: Great question! This one really made methink. There’s an awful lot of things I would have answered at the time of mychildhood, 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 areal drag at the time. But looking back on it now, it was a great lesson inenergy conservation! I’m very happy in my life, so it’s hard to say thatsomething held me back. I think I was allowed to watch too much television, butboth my parents worked really hard to pay the bills, so I can’t reallycriticize them. But, if I have to pick something,  it would have beennice, 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 ofyour book? 
Simon: Because it’s wonderfully simple and tothe point! I appreciate simplicity.

Stacy and Carol:  At what age did yourmind think of this concept you write about? Being truly alive and conscious ofthe role you have as a parent?
Simon:  Itreally began to emerge when I was an elementary school teacher in England, somid-twenties. In many ways I was amazed how damaging huge parts of theeducation system were to children. Most of all, arbitrary destinations werechased after without ever questioning them, which I found to be very worrying.The ability to question everything we create is fundamental. Things are everchanging and the ability to move with the flow of life is crucial foreverybody’s peace and joy. 


It’s also important that we don’t just think this issomething 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 worldwe could create if people realize all they need to do is educate themselves andchoose. What are you doing to set your book and idea out for all to see, readand experience?
Simon: I think that people who really need toread it will find it. I’m not really one for making a fanfare. I write a blogthat goes out when the flow takes me, and that’s accessible through my websiteat www.simonpaulharrison.com. It’s a funny situation that I consider TheTruly Alive Child to be hugely important, and at the same time, of noimportance whatsoever. I don’t have a masterplan to get it out there, I justfollow my heart. 

Stacy and Carol: Your camp you promote for kids can carry them through-outtheir life with what you teach them. Do you feel youcould 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 tofranchise what I’m doing and I’m not sure it would work. I’d love to set up aretreat someplace where people could come and stay for weeks and months,discovering, growing, and experiencing who they really are. That’s the nextproject!
As for the children this would create, it’salmost outside the realm of our conception. When I’ve made it happen, we’llfind out!

Stacy and Carol:
Your quote, "An educational system isn't worth a greatdeal if it teaches young people how to make a living, but doesn't teach themhow to make a life." Author unknown. This quote says it all, how would youteach them to make a life?
Simon: By showing children that life is not tobe lived on a hamster wheel, constantly chasing after illusory goals wherehappiness is always just out of reach. Being truly alive to me means followingyour heart, your soul and your vision every moment of the day. Children don’thave 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 talkingto children, telling them what to do. But our actions are infinitely morepowerful. If we want to teach children how to make a life, we ourselves musthave a life that we live with passion, with love and with joy. Then childrenmight think about following in our footsteps.

Stacy and Carol:  What could we do to help children live in the present momentmore often as opposed to stressing over the next test, memorizing thenext set of numbers, doing what someone else is always telling them to do?
Simon:  Well all the examples you give, whichare very common, are all created and perpetuated by adults. It’s no use tellingchildren not to stress about these when they see the whole adult worldstressing about them. We must ask ourselves who we are, looking deeply withoutdeciding the answers in advance. Are we separate individuals all fightingagainst each other, or are we the entire deal, the whole shebang, the ocean atthe same time as the wave, inextricably connected in one beautiful rhythm? Whenwe realize that stressing over “success” and reaching a destination arecomplete fabrications, entirely based on illusions, children won’t be subjectedto that world.

Stacy and Carol:  To create real changeyou state we have to think, act & immerse ourselves in a different world.Can you speak a little on the different world you would like tocreate for our children?
Simon:  Ifwe are to move towards supporting peace and joy in children we must show ourchildren that we are all one. Without the ability to move beyond the illusionswe have created that we are all separate, individual units fighting againsteach other for our survival we will not change the life experiences of childrento ones of peace, joy and creativity. When we see ourselves as both the waveand the ocean, individual and all one, we act very differently. We treat eachother with compassion and love, not because someone says we should but becausewe can imagine no other way of being. We do not need to indoctrinate childreninto 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 reachfor our children that we don’t know where to even look for it anymore. But thesecret is always in the place you least expect to look- right inside each ofus.

Stacy and Carol:  You speak about theviolence 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 andtaught trait. What would you do to turn this mind thought around to help ourkids be who they truly came here to be?
Simon:  Wemust become conscious that everything is food. Every word, image, action, andeven thought encourages some things to grow and others to retreat. Continuallysubjected to messages of violence, these seeds grow in our children. It’s notour children’s fault if they deeply un-peaceful. So we as adults have toquestion deeply what “food” we are feeding children. It’s remarkable we canstill pretend these things don’t have an effect, but it shows how numb we haveall become. Life just isn’t wondrous and sacred anymore. It’s disposable. Wemust 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 andour parenting community. We truly admire the work you are doing. Please sharewith us the best way we can stay connected to you and follow your endeavors.
Simon: Bestway to stay connected is through Facebook  and Twitter.

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