Suzy and I just got back from the jungles of Costa Rica. This latest trip was our best ever because we spent 12 days initiating our grandsons - aged 8 and 10 - to the wonders of the rainforest.

Then we spent another 3 weeks exploring the jungle’s
Sylvantherapy effects. From the Latin sylvestre (forest), the practice of Sylvantherapy optimizes human health by having us tap into the forces in Nature. We helped friends put together ideas for their jungle retreat in terms of Rainforest Stations (See http://www.chimaya-retreat.com/).

The grandkids experienced an adventure every day. After each, we were able to demystify and then go into great depths with them on subjects related to the meaning of life - ideas like courage, personal power and the need to take care of Earth-Mother.

If you love this Planet, you will want to protect it and safeguard its resources. Suzy and I planned the tour along the heuristic learning principles we teach professionally. Heuristic learning is designed to guide participants to self-discovery. We gave each of the boys a book that explained everything they’d experience - the places, the foods, the adventures, the visits, the discussions, etcetera

We were in the most biodiverse place on Earth and so were able to choose activities that provoked the responses we wanted. We knew when the oohs and ahs would happen, where fear might strike. We had prepared the required audio/visual presentations, found the appropriate movies online to show at night and advised our network of friends and collaborators of our intent so they could participate. Then, creative Spirit and Time flowed organically and lovingly, and the heuristic “aha” moments were manifest.

It was very rewarding to see the lads respond with a depth of kindness and the true spirit of adventure. By the end of their tour (which the boys agreed was the most awesome ever), each of them had surprised himself by growing in an unexpected way and each found that he had a new talent to develop. The youngest is a natural on horseback and as a surfer; with good voice, he loves to sing and entertain. The oldest boy is natural athlete; quickly very good at anything he tries, he loves competing and has a real talent for photography and storytelling.

I’ve known for the longest time that kids profit from a wide variety of experiences while growing up. I tell anyone who’ll listen that humans do 3 things with a new experience - We acquire it, we process it and we store it for later use.
How we process it will, in large measure, determine if the experience will be repeated, or avoided.

I often tell the boys they shouldn’t expect to be “good” at something, or to fully benefit from it, the first time they try it. Humans get “good” with practice. The 2nd time you do something, you already have a feel for the “script” so your Brain/Mind isn’t busy trying to figure it out. You can more freely act out the script.

The 2nd experience has a relative context and expectations and we can build on them. We can learn. We humans also have 3 ways of learning. We are Kinesthetic, Auditory and Visual:
  • Kinesthetic learners want to jump in and try things - even before they understand the rules or the common sense. Eager, they might be thought to have ADD - Attention Deficit Disorder.
  • Auditory learners listen to instructions, read the book, think things through and plan out their response to a new experience. They often seem to be the “deep thinkers” in a group.
  • Visual learners adapt ...as they go along. They add things up fast but will often remain 5 minutes late ...until they “see” it all in an AHA moment.

Repeatedly I saw the younger brother curious and raring to go. Within minutes of any guided activity, hardly able to contain himself, he’d be fidgety - while his older sibling was always calm and intent. I could see him concentrate on the instructions and visualize results. Kinesthetic, the younger lad is always first to jump in and have the experience - with guts galore. When his Auditory brother gets there, he’ll capitalize on his way of learning to shine: Thinking things through, he lets the tyke try it first and gets to see how things should or shouldn’t go.

I am a « Visual Learner » so I picked up on the dynamic. I made sure the little guy was getting the correct message: “
Don’t expect to be as good as your brother the first time you try something. Don’t even want to. Want to experience the first time you do anything as if it is a magic time - a pure learning experience. After you experience it, then you’ll know more. And as you already know, getting real good at something takes practice. You’ll naturally be better the 2nd time you try it... so imagine putting in 10,000 hours practice. Because that’s how long it is estimated to take humans to get real good at anything worthy.

And the kid answers: “
That’s awesome! So we should go surfing again tomorrow then eh?”