Can we build a better child?

student_meditationIt is a hot, dry Tuesday afternoon in a country Victorian classroom. As they do every day, the children of 4D are talking about their feelings.

Nine-year-old Evie Kuchel is feeling confident and enthusiastic. Looking at her ”mood meter”, she gauges she is a 3+ for energy and a 2+ for feelings. On the chart, divided into red, yellow, blue and green quadrants, she plots herself in the yellow. But not every day is like today. If school’s been tough or someone’s been mean to her, she might find herself in the blue. If she is feeling particularly chilled out, she could be green. Read more

 

What is meditation to kids?

Jude, 14

My dad once jokingly said to me ‘Why not try meditation, it has got to be better than sitting around doing nothing’. And so I did.

I believe meditation to be one of the best possible things one can do. It doesn’t just connect one to a higher power, it also guides you and grants knowledge and answers that assist you in fulfilling an intention in any path you choose. It is a gateway to a solution to all aspects of life. Zen Buddhists call it ‘the gateless gateway’.

I have tried many types of meditation and found each one illuminating in its own way, and in each, rather than teaching me something new I feel like I am remembering a forgotten truth, or waking up to what is already there.

Even if you think you don’t have time to meditate, you can do it any time. To me it seems silly not to be productive and meditate, even as I study and work. It is more rewarding than the time it costs. Rather than feeling lost in a maze, or stuck behind a locked door, one can meditate for a map, or a key, to find a simple way out.

People think they need alcohol, drugs or material things to be happy. We get addicted to so many things which we think make us happy but in the long run they are unfulfilling and have horrible side effects. There is a free alternative that is much more rewarding–it is called meditation.

I have come to the conclusion that meditation is in the thoughts that we think, and even beyond our thoughts and our mind. We are always meditating and everything is meditation. I recommend that you persist in meditation, then you will come to know that meditation is the essence of all and all of us are always doing it.

Georgina, 14

I enjoy meditation because it helps me centre myself. For me, meditation is a way to relax and be calm and still. In my busy life I can find things to be very overwhelming, so I like to use meditation to unwind. I use meditation as a way to calm nerves before big events and to help me fall asleep at times when my mind is racing. I also like to use the mantra during meditation, because I find it stops my mind from wandering. When I meditate I like to visualise success. Doing this makes me more confident within myself, which gets rid of self-doubt.

After meditating, I come away having learnt many lessons. Most are about myself and my views of life. From meditation I have learnt that on the outside everyone is different, but on the inside, we are all the same. So therefore we should not judge anyone. I have also learnt that everything is for a reason and everyone is doing their best in the situations they have been put in.

Sam, 11

Meditation for me is a relaxing way to become peaceful. It makes me forget all my worries and just be myself.

By meditating I become more open to life and that brings privileges that many others unfortunately will never get. I sometimes become very excited about things and I use meditation to calmly ground myself.

It is beneficial for me when I have trouble getting to sleep. When I meditate before I go to bed I find that sleep comes so easily. I also notice, before some of my big sporting events it’s a great way to calm down and ease my nerves. Finally it is just a wonderful thing to do anytime anywhere because of what it brings.

I have learnt a lot of things about myself by meditating. I have learnt that you are who you are and be happy despite what happens in life. No matter what, there is someone there who always loves you and deep inside you there is a lovely soul.

Jordan, 14

Meditation has been a big part of my life over the past 18 months, helping me relax, getting me to fall asleep and keeping my mind calm.

Using a mantra has been great support! When I’m stressed or worried, I can just say the mantra that my teacher has given me silently in my head and no knows that I’m doing it.

Most adults who meditate have told me that they wish they had been meditating when they were my age. So I highly recommend young teens to start up mediation at this age, I can say it will defiantly help them down the track.

 

Room to Breathe

Room To Breathe is a surprising story of transformation as struggling kids in a San Francisco public middle school are introduced to the practice of mindfulness meditation.

Topping the district in disciplinary suspensions, and with overcrowded classrooms creating a nearly impossible learning environment, overwhelmed administrators are left with stark choices: repeating the cycle of trying to force tuned-out children to listen, or to experiment with timeless inner practices that may provide them with the social, emotional, and attentional skills that they need to succeed.

The first question is whether it’s already too late. Confronted by defiance, contempt for authority figures, poor discipline, and more interest in “social” than learning, can a young mindfulness teacher from Berkeley succeed in opening their minds and hearts?

 

More links

Here is a link to Senior Reach Facilitator Tom Harkin talking about ‘The Inherent Power of Young People.’

Also check out this video from a mindfulness guru in the US: