Why is creativity important to teaching meditation?
Since 2003, we’ve been teaching adults how to help kids and teens practise meditation.
What’s interesting is the way that we adults (initially) approach the idea of teaching kids meditation.
- Some of us look for a ‘mindfulness wand’ that we can use (metaphorically speaking) to calm our children.
- Some of us want to analyse and dissect meditation; how it works, the benefits, why bother teaching it.
- Some of us think that it’s good for kids to learn it because we practise and thus try to teach our kids meditation in the same style/manner of our meditation practice.
The fact that you are even interested in teaching a young person these life skills (in our opinion) is amazing! The intention to offer this to young people is a gift and at Connected Kids, it’s our passion to leave this legacy for future generations.
But often we may attempt to teach children and find that either:
Like me you have probably become aware of the #MeToo campaign which highlights the level of sexual harassment that women experience throughout their lives.
As we can see, it has been an underlying epidemic that females have tolerated for thousands of years in all areas of life.
But I’m uncomfortable with the idea of saying #MeToo and adding my voice to social media.
I don’t deny that I’ve had some unsavoury and traumatising experiences growing up that I would rather forget. My yoga and meditation practice has (and continues) to help me heal from this.
However the #MeToo campaign leaves me hanging. It feels a little bit like watching a tragedy on the news and feeling helpless to ease the pain of those involved. I observe friends saying #MeToo on social media and then I start to worry and wonder about them and their experiences.
It also hangs guilt and shame on the wrong shoulders – of the decent boys, teens and men who don’t want to treat women that way. Perhaps If I were a man, maybe I would lower my gaze and no longer feel confident engaging with females.
But if I sit and reflect on the #MeToo campaign through my meditation practice, I have a sense that …
One of my friends is an experienced mindfulness teacher.
She sent me her weekly newsletter and within that there is mention of Dr Rick Hanson – the psychologist – with a link to one of his excellent presentations.
It was so good I thought I would include it in my regular blog (see below).
But it got me thinking.
Dr Hanson talks about the importance of him learning meditation skills, especially to help him recover from the difficult times he had growing up – you know the regular growing pains most of us go through and the feeling of not fitting in or being quite good enough.
He talks about how mindfulness has helped fill the ‘hole in his heart’ that these experiences created. Continue reading
Some of you may remember that several years ago I attended an Educator’s retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh.
During the retreat we learned some mindfulness songs for kids – this was one of my favourites.
Acknowledging the breath can be a difficult concept for kids to grasp. This breathing meditation video for kids gives a great example of actions, words and song to engage their interest.
By helping kids of all ages to notice their breath they have a self-care skill that can help them move out of fight/flight/freeze and lower anxiety levels.
Book Review – ‘the Whole-Brain Child – Dr Dan Siegel’
Enjoy my review of this fabulous book about child development; how to help them process difficult feelings and thoughts. Learn why I think it offers some practical tips on how to cope with difficult behaviours. Continue reading
Emotional vs Academic Intelligence
The other week we caught the end of the TV show ‘Child Genius’ – where children with (usually) a high score on Mensa take part in a quiz to become the Child Genius for that year.
These kids demonstrate an amazing array of skills – from their ability to remember facts to computing arithmetic sums at lightening speed. It was impressive.
What was not so impressive was watching the stress these children experienced. The emotions they were feeling were bubbling under the surface (some cried) and yet the parents seemed to focus on scores and winning. Continue reading
Are Kids in Canada Coping with Stress?
I’m writing this post with a focus on Canada. Why? Because I’ll be going there to teach in September and I wanted to find out more about how Canadian Kids could benefit from meditation.
What I find fascinating is that many of the issues facing young people in Canada are similar worldwide.
With 1 in 5 Canadian kids diagnosed with a mental health issues and research demonstrating that meditation can help, the time is now to equip young people with these life-saving skills.
Issues include a lack of self esteem, inability to self regulate behaviour, poor body image, bullying, high stress levels and an inability to cope. Continue reading
I’m looking to change the education system in order that kids benefit from meditation – every day.
The very fact you are reading this blog suggests that you are interested in…
a/teaching your children meditation
b/teaching other people’s children meditation
… and you want this world to be a better place for children in the future when we are ‘not around’ any more.
The growing body of research suggests that there are valid and economic reasons for children and young people to meditate regularly.
Let me explain.
Reducing the Mental Health Bill
One of my students Ali Gray, is very passionate about the world learning meditation.
He is one of our Connected Kids students and together with his colleague, Gary Young, is pioneering a project to make it part of the school curriculum in Scotland.
At a ‘business and mindfulness’ conference, he heard the term ‘mindfulness cowboys‘ and wondered what this was about.
He asked me. I sighed.
You see, the term (and subsequent conversation at the conference) suggested that mindfulness was the only type of meditation available.
This is simply not true.
I wasn’t sure what to write about in my recent blog.
I get a bit tired of emails or blogs all sounding the same and a bit ‘salesy’.
But that’s not me.
So I decided to let you know why I feel responsible for your child’s happiness.
Every time I read about the stress young people and children experience or the difficult circumstances they encounter with no skills to process it, it makes me think of me.
I think about my life as a young child, with a single mum who did her best to clothe and feed me but who didn’t always have the time to play. I know that had my mum known how to create bedtime meditation stories to help me sleep she would have helped me (and her) cope with some very anxious times.