One of my friends is an experienced mindfulness teacher.
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.
So my first thought when I hear this is “why don’t we teach this more regularly in schools and incorporate it into the curriculum”?
The problem, I believe, is that many think that meditation is only about helping children build emotional intelligence and resilience (which it does). But it is so much more than that.
It reduces stress which we know affects brain development in children, focus and concentration skills and therefore ultimately their academic performance.
It is commonsense that we teach this in schools. The results speak for themselves with schools who are introducing meditation instead of detention where attendance increases and suspension decreases.
But there is this myth that meditation must be regularly practised for long periods of time before we can see results. Yet Dr Hanson talks about the 15 seconds it takes for us to help our brains balance out… to move away from our natural, pre-historic tendency to seek the negative (for survival) and embody the positive.
These 15 seconds gives our brain the chance to reduce our stress, wire neurons in the brain to create and reinforce powerful pathways that help brain development.
What about mindfulness for the teachers?
Our teachers who are stretched physically, mentally and emotionally to a point of exhaustion and withdrawal also need this practice.
I wrote about this in ‘how meditation can save your teaching career‘ but it makes sense to teach the teachers mindfulness so that they can model a practice that children grow up with. Just in the same way each class has a roll call before the lesson begins – 15 seconds of mindfulness would fit right in there. Plus they may be able to manage their huge workloads with less stress.
I wonder what the resistance is to introducing this. I ponder over why our government seem so slow to adapt taking meditation into the education system – the formal training of our teachers, the school day for toddlers to teens, before parent’s evening, school meetings, in service days…
All it takes is 15 seconds.
I can see some progress with the current trials of teaching about mental health in the classroom – this is encouraging. But we have to do more.
I don’t want the children of today to have a ‘hole in their heart’ or their potential suppressed by stress. I wish every child to learn something simple that helps them make decisions that nurture, love and accept themselves for the incredible beings that they are. Like these kids who tell it like it is – Mindfulness in Schools >>>
But while we wait for our Governments to catch on, do what you can to take meditation and mindfulness skills into the classroom. However big or small, what you do now makes a huge difference for those children.
Do it now.