Maya Levanon

It is almost a cliché to say ‘children teach us so much;’ but like many clichés, there is truth to it, otherwise it would not have become one. So, if this is true, and children are important teachers of us, adults, then it is important to examine some fundamental questions and issues this statement raises. In this chapter I will first describe lessons adults can learn from children and our interactions with them through the ‘pedagogies’ children use, which most often are unconscious. In addition I will include different contexts in which these interactions occur, and subsequently the different adults engaged in these contexts. Lessons such as being present, humility, acceptance, flexibility, or self-improvement will be unpacked in order to understand their true meanings, the ones that go beyond the cliché; similarly, the different contexts include home, day-care, school, family gatherings, where those lessons occur, will be revealed, as well as the different adults including parents, grandparents, care-providers, teachers, and paediatricians. What I hope to find in this first part of the chapter is how the different lessons and interactions affect adults in both their personal and professional lives. In the second part of the chapter, I will humbly endeavour to provide a conceptualisation of childhood, as it is based on the analysis of the lessons and the contexts in which they occur. I will acknowledge the development of adults’ phenomenology of childhood throughout one’s on-going lived-experiences with children, as well as the influence of adults’ different spiritual inclinations. The chapter is based on a combination of academic and popular literature, auto-ethnography, and stories as told to me by adults who are engaged with children daily and mindfully.