Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Solitude

Solitude - it's something we all need from time to time. Something we often seek out. Children and adults. Yet so often when we see someone by themselves we go out of out way to get them to join with others. Why do we do that? Anyway, that is a post for another time.

Personally I thrive on solitude at times. When I have paperwork that needs completing or a book I'm reading, being by myself eliminates many of the distractions around me.

The same can go for just wanting or needing a break. I love my family dearly, but there are times when I feel as though I need some time to myself. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but we should be careful what we wish for.

For five days recently I was on my own. My son was competing in a national junior sporting championship on the other side of the country and I was unable to get time off work. So while my wife, son and daughter were over 4000 km away I had the 'luxury' of having the entire house to myself for 5 1/2 days.

Now while there were times it was great to have all that time and space to myself, the fact is that for most of the time I simply felt lonely. The house seemed empty and devoid of life and character. I yearned for the everyday things that we take for granted, even complain about. Things such as arguments over petty things, getting in each other's way, or having someone to simply talk to.

Yes we were able to stay in touch and communicate through a variety of means, but that physical presence wasn't there. So while I might yearn for solitude at times and actually need it, being alone is a completely different proposition and that is something I don't strive for.

5 comments:

  1. I really appreciate how you have differentiated between solitude and being alone. Both very different states of being. Solitude is something that can often feel uncomfortable in a ECE setting. The sight of a child alone often leads people to mistake solitude for being alone, and want to "fix the situation". But so often it is just a child enjoying solitude, and the last thing they want is to be disturbed. It' something that I am very mindful of; often during a busy day there can be so few opportunities for a child to simply be.

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    1. Thanks Jason. It's easily forgotten how important some 'alone' time can be for any individual.

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  2. yes, creating space for solitude is vital but next to impossible in the ECEC setting. Building 'Secret Spaces' - both perm and temp - is a challenge for teachers and children. Why do they squeeze in behind the old tree where it's really uncomfortable? To be alone of course.

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    1. I wouldn't say near impossible ako. It might be that we need to be more mindful of the need for certain children to be by themselves throughout the day. Of course a well designed space will offer these sorts of quiet places without compromising supervision.

      It is true though that they will find somewhere, whether we provide it or not.

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  3. I had a very similar experience to you recently when expecting to enjoy some quiet time while my whole family was away, on the second night I felt lonely and a little sad.

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