To make kids calmer at school and in life, shouldn’t we use the same tools we use to calm ourselves? Yes. We, the gurus and generators of our ever-changing and wonderfully rich culture, know this, inherently but are usually too consumed with calming themselves to realize that our kids need what we need.
Why is it so important to go to the mani/pedi appointment or the golf game regularly, or why do we meditate or go on a retreat? Isn’t it to release, relax and rejuvenate? Of course, that is part of it. And the way we need it, our kids need it.
In order to have calm kids, we must understand how we are calm adults. Obviously, we have given thought to personal balance, healthy environments, peace of mind. All we have to do is walk down Main Street, Anywhere, USA and count the spa, tai chi, massage, yoga, acupuncture and other studios that dot the body of merchants to see how important serenity is in our lives.
Our ENVIRONMENT is a key to our serenity. What our location looks like, how spacious it is, the surrounding smells, our comfort level in the space and more factors affect how calm we are. The temperature of the building we are in or the placement and type of lights in the classroom all have to do with our peace of mind. When these factors are physically built into the arena where our kids spend their time daily, we are using the first way to calm kids.
POSITIVE SELF-ESTEEM. Although it is nice to be in a nurturing but empowering atmosphere, not all schools or institutes, where kids receive a large part of their education, provide these traits. Some believe in the tough love type of teaching, where the student must keep up with the teacher. Other teachers consider it a responsibility to reach the pupil. Depending upon how a student learns, these two standards make a tremendous difference in the peace of mind of the student. If the student learns and evolves well through “the very old school method” of getting the ruler to the hand for not understanding the lesson, and the school provides this; the student’s self-esteem will be positively affected by these lessons. Likewise, if the student learns well from an instructor who is determined to teach without embarrassment or learning from fear, and the school offers the more compassionate side, again, the student will learn. In the scenario where the student’s innate nature and the method are mismatched, the student can experience stress which may lead to negative self-esteem.
How to cause harmony to flow aka, The Fix: the discipline watcher, the teacher, the principal, the coaches must be on the lookout for students in stress. Some students will act out; others will not; some will look stressed or sad or angry. The knowledge managers, meaning all the staff in a school and parents for home schoolers, can notice, say, a kind word and provide a program that addresses peace of mind. This method depends upon the responsibility of the people in these roles. Is it possible to be a diligent observer and provider when everyone is multi-tasking and has multiple roles? The answer, IMHO, is, “Yes.”
MIND-SET. It is the school’s responsibility to prepare the student’s outlook on socialization, commerce, art, and fitting in or out, whichever the student chooses. It is also the school’s responsibility to discuss the state of well-being. Yes, this is work for “at home,” but it is not exclusive and must be discussed in school. Many public and private schools hide behind the banner of the fine line not to cross between what belongs at school and what belongs at home. Students can’t excel without personal balance. So the topic of how to maintain and accelerate calmness must be available at school (again, it needs to be available in an designed way for home schoolers).
Take writing and penmanship as an example. When we are in the process of learning it, we don’t really know how it will open up our lives. But after our knowledge of it becomes part of our life, only then do we see its benefit. The same goes for talking about the state of well-being. In school, we are told to put our heads down to rest, to run around the track, to eat nutritionally. Are we taught why all this is important? Do teachers realize that this has to do with mind-set as well as code compliance? It is crucial to mention the state of well-being topic so that the student knows it is normal to consider it and so that, when the student is offered a class in well-being (such as tai chi or yoga), the student will connect the training to the topic and both to her (his) life and gravitate toward it. Also, talking about the topic is an important part of generating the result.
CALMNESS TRAINING. It’s one thing to talk about getting calm and another to be taught how to do it. Some type of mind/body training should be offered as part of regular curriculum. Although a period-long class would be great and should be an elective in phys. ed, the best training would consist of a five-minute segment on a daily basis. It should be part of the routine that goes along with checking into homeroom, saluting the flag, placing books in a locker, sharpening pencils, erasing the blackboard. These activities are daily, ongoing and are preparations for learning. This method of kid calming training is like erasing the internal blackboard so that the student is feeling well before taking the first step into the daily school schedule.
This regular mind/body daily training should be a standard in every educational institution. This training does not replace specialty training in a mind/body program such as tai chi, chi kung, yoga, meditation, kung fu. It is a separate tool.
KIDS CALMING THEMSELVES. The most important part of kid calmer training is for a youth or a teen to be able to take the kid calmer (aka corporate tai chi for kids training) from school into her (his) own life. Translated, this means that kids hear about peace of mind at school, are exposed to the physical training it entails at school and can easily use it to balance their lives away from school. This most important kid calming method is also the most challenging. What’s easy to do as part of a class is not always easy to do for ourselves. The purpose of training a small 5-minute segment of tai chi or chi kung training every day as opposed to one to three 40-minute classes a week helps us in consistency training. The mind gets used to daily work, the muscles start to remember the daily calmness, the student gets to consider the topic of peace of mind, the roller coaster ride of class, then no class, class, then no class is replaced with a daily, consistent body of work which makes the student calm.
IN CONCLUSION, relating in-school training to external life is what every good teacher tries to accomplish. When schools give kids kid calming tools, students can maximize their lessons and give them meaning. Students realize that going to the corner spa, tai chi, yoga studio is similar to what they do in school. They have some idea that working on a mind/body lesson is about beauty on the inside, rather than who can be the most attractive externally. They have established a small foundation in training for calmness. Because of this, they can call the training up when they are afraid to enter the next grade, when taking a test, when combatting peer pressures or bullies, when going to the college interview. when going on a job interview and other times because they like being balanced and peaceful.
We, as adults, find many ways every day to keep our cool, calm ourselves, balance our lives. The same opportunities should be afforded our kids at a much earlier age. If children begin mind/body training as 5-year-olds, they will have less stress and more temperance throughout their childhood, as teens and as adults. The experience of kids doing kid calming training will account for greater personal balance in kids today and tomorrow.
Jump start this type of thinking by going here to read about the grant I am applying for. You can also text 106422 to 73774 to vote for the project. Votes could mean adding 50 Kid Calmer programs in Florida School systems and more. IT’S FREE AND HARMONIOUS.