Tuesday, December 28, 2010


This is something young children know——until they're given an education.

Later on, lucky ones may learn again——from spiritual teachers, poets, or whatever——the nowness they knew before they got to kindergarten.

What a clock looks like to a young child.

"Forever is composed of nows."

—Emily Dickenson


The Pollinatrix said...

I love this! I need a clock like that.

Your title reminds me of what was my favorite part of the Lord's Prayer when I was a child: "forever and ever, amen." i always like the concept of "and ever"; it seemed poetic and mysterious.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Wonderful reminder that now is what we have.

Bonnie said...

Yes, when we are not in the now - we lose time, and life seems much shorter. Live in the eternal now - a good reminder Dan.

Sabio Lantz said...

Cute picture.
I don't think it has anything to do with education, however. It has to do with the maturation of the brain so as to offer valuable survival skills.

That these skills come at a price, however, I'd agree. The trick, keep the skills and go back to childhood happiness. The skill is not bad and should be as highly respected as childhood. Idealizing childhood, I think, is an extreme.

Paul C said...

A short, most poignant post. You caught me fully in the now of your perspective.

Dan Gurney said...

Polli, I remember saying the Lord's Prayer as a kid. I liked the "and ever" part, too, but I never really knew why it was there; seemed sort of redundant to my child mind. As if "forever," somehow, wasn't already long enough. Just to be sure, they added, "and ever."

Dan Gurney said...

Now is all we've ever had, and it's always enough. Always will be, too.

Dan Gurney said...

Thanks, Bonnie. Easier said than done, living in the now, but as you say, a good reminder.

Dan Gurney said...

Sabio, we actually do spend a good deal of time at least in the early grades teaching kids about time, past and future, and how to read clocks and calculate using time. So education may have more to do with leaving the now and worrying about the past and future than you suspect.

I don't mean to idealize childhood generally; many childhoods contain plenty of miserable moments. But even childhoods with many miserable moments have sublime moments, too.

Dan Gurney said...

Thanks, Paul. I think Emily Dickinson says it best.

Sabio Lantz said...

@ Dan
We are taught language in school, but you don't have to go to school to learn language. We are taught how to get along with others in school, but we don't have to have formal teaching to learn that.

I wasn't warning against idealizing childhood, but against idealizing the child's mind, include their sense of time. Immediate pleasure without thought of consequence is also the mind of addicts to drugs, gambling and more.

I am just saying that knowing "not-now" also has incredible value. Sorry, I am not a member of the nowness cult. Smile

As a corrective, I understand its usefulness, as a perfect ideal, I see nothing but warning signs.

Dan Gurney said...

Sabio, well said. "Not-now" has value, too, of course. (Could "now" seem valuable independently of "not-now"? How could we know now without "not-now" to give it some boundaries?)

The usefulness of "not-now" is clear. I spend a good deal of time teaching "not-now" in kindergarten. My kindergarten is a formal learning setting, after all.

We learn a WHOLE LOT outside of formal learning settings. Formal learning settings as much about providing safe custody for children during the work day as they are about learning.

In my experience a great deal of valuable learning that occurs during in the INformal parts of the school day. That is why kids still get to play in my kindergarten.

Brenda said...

May I share this with others?

Dan Gurney said...

Brenda, yes, sure! Thanks for asking.