Kids Need to Learn to Be. Be What? At Peace With Themselves.

Gram looked up from her cup of tea. “There are many things to do! But you don’t have to always do something. You can just be.”

Gabby looked at her grandmother “Be what?” she asked.

“You don’t have to be something. Just be you! Bring your Loving Self as close as you can. Forget about all the outside things your ‘all about me’ self is involved with, and wants to do.” imagesQMP5XHRX

Gram took another sip of tea, “At first you might need to lie down, or close your eyes, or be in a quiet space. Then just be.

Kids need to learn to be at peace with themselves, to think by themselves, to love themselves. We all need to let go, breathe deeply and be one with quiet. As I sit here in the moment, I feel a breeze on my face, the rustle of leaves, a distant boat and many birds. I am grateful for all of it, but I had to learn to be.  In an article in the Huffington Post, this is also called mindfulness training.

In a world of TV, video games, email, Instagram and phones that do it all, sitting alone has changed. More and people are not participating in the events they go to, much less spend quiet time with their thoughts. It is an easy change, but takes some effort.

So why should kids (and you) learn to be at peace with yourself? My first thought is to find out who you are. Sure you know what you think you think but is that really you? Do you sound like your mother? Grandmother? Best friend? Discovering that many of “my” beliefs weren’t mine at all, was a huge surprise.  Here I am defending what I believe to be true and I never considered whether I really believe that. Think that is ludicrous? Try it! Analyze your strong beliefs. What do you defend to the nth degree? Any chance someone else’s points might be valid? You will never know if you don’t take time to think about it in the quiet and from your heart. Many of your beliefs were set while you were a young child. Many of those beliefs you have already passed on to your children and they aren’t even yours!

Prayer and meditation are valuable in connecting with God, your creator. Connection beyond one’s self helps children as well as adults stay centered and grounded and with that comes power- not over someone or something else, but from within, a feeling that all things are possible. One of the first affirmations I learned was from Tony Robbins, “All I need is within me now.” That is powerful!meditating 8yr old

During peace and quiet times, gratitude can flourish if children are taught to make it a part of their daily thoughts. It is a frame of mind that once learned reduces negativity, fear, judgment and criticism. Positivity becomes the primary thought process. With gratitude comes joy. With joy, their ‘all about me’ self, your ego diminishes bringing you and them closer to peace.

Children can also be taught to set intentions, like a to-do list for a way of being.   Rather than, ‘I will make my bed’, it might be, ‘I will be kind and helpful to my sister.’ Just being alone in quiet is a perfect time for this! They can call it their ‘to be” list!

Quiet time, just being time allows children to learn to appreciate themselves as well. Quiet alone time can be used for ‘What I love about me’. Gram told the children in the story “Just Being” that by loving themselves as God loves them, they are showing appreciation for the gifts He gave them. She also recommended that they thank Him for things they don’t quite believe are true yet because the more they think it and say it, the sooner they will believe in themselves.

Contentment comes with just being which leaves boredom out of their vocabulary. Now that is truly a gift!

 

Bullied, Bully, An Observer of Bullying. Which is Your Child?

 

Most children are not bullies. More children have goodness in their heart and yet bullying is a major issues in social groups like school. Children who choose that way of being find it gives them power and that power comes from the attention they receive. There are children that don’t need the approval of others to receive the power they seek, but those are not the situations addressed here.

huffingtonpost.com2

huffingtonpost.com

Children that seek attention of their peers by making another feel badly about themselves, falsely believe that those in the room support them because of their reactions. Children laugh, often from discomfort, and that encourages the bullies. Others may stand there gawking uncomfortably, but their silence is also encouragement. And the child being humiliated stands alone. Stopbullying.gov has a section that helps you equip your child. “ They want to help but they don’t know how. Teach them how to be more than a bystander.”

napab.org

napab.org

Is your child a bully magnet? That is painful for parents as well as the child. Kid Power has tips for helping your child develop an aura of security and assertiveness which may help them feel more self- assured and less vulnerable.

Is your child a bully? Are you sure? Unfortunately tough kids are not the only bullies. In giving your child every opportunity you could, you may have inadvertently given the impression that they are more deserving and better than others, that those with less are inferior and need to be put in their place. Some kids are more aggressive than others, while some are unkind, even cruel just by the condescending faces they make or the hurtful “honesty” they share. Your child may also be surprised to discover that in becoming part of a group they longed for, they have crossed the divide between being a loving person and one who makes others feel uncomfortable. Children who are popular or in leadership roles too often fall into this category. True leaders help others become the best they can be, not make themselves feel powerful by putting others down. Children that have the natural ability to lead, need to learn this early in life so that their skills continue to grow. Leadership without empathy and caring will not take them far in their adult lives.

Bullies may do physical harm or threaten with physical harm, humiliate, exclude, or in any way make another feel badly about themselves. Sadly, children believe that they deserve it, sometimes to the point of not telling their loved ones what they are going through.  The ultimate sense of aloneness. Can you feel it? I believe it also produces an immense sense of shame that they can not share with those that love them. Is it a belief that the bully might be right? That parents will believe it too? It spans far more than an incident in the cafeteria or on the bus. It reaches their souls.  The emotional stress needs to be taken seriously.tsa-usa.org

Prior generations have considered bullying as a right of passage, even using it as a basis of humor in movies and books, but as more studies are done, it is coming to light how much effect there is in adult life for those bullied, the bullies themselves, the observers and those who were bullied and became bullies.  All show impact in later life with the bully/ victims most gravely affected.  These negative relationships with peers are being considered as important as abuse at home during childhood according to Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer in an article titled, “Long-Term Effects Of Bullying: Pain Lasts Into Adulthood (STUDY)”

In My Loving Self and Me the children encounter bullying in several forms from cruelty to outdoor critters, to face to face aggression.  The poem “Will You Join Me”  speaks to fear causing an inability to stand up for someone being bullied but not willing to participate.  It acknowledges their feelings as well as encouraging an understand that they will work towards standing up for anyone being mistreated.  Bullying is only one of the many issues that are addressed to assist children and their parents in My Loving Self and Me.  All are helped by realizing the difference between living from their heart and living out of ego.

Children need to learn to love, care and be sensitive to the needs of themselves and others. Their adults must be sensitive as well. Name calling or humiliation should never be a form of discipline.  They learn what they are taught.  Make it valuable.

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Technology or Nature? Can Kids Find a Healthy Balance?

Technologically connected kids are everywhere! Last night a commercial for one of the travel booking agency was on TV and the man was so distraught over having to leave the gorgeous island of his vacation, that he dove off the shuttle boat and swam back, hugging the surprised man upon arrival. His wife sat on the shuttle looking dumbfounded. Now here is the unfortunate sign of the times. The two children were sitting there near their mother on the boat wearing headphones playing on their electronics.

A child close to my heart yesterday was in the car for the 4 minute drive from my house to his and was bored and couldn’t wait to get home to his ipod having just used the ipad at my house. It was a withdrawal that wasn’t dispelled by our discussion of gratitude, the beauty around us and the designs the clouds made. It was a four minute ride! * This is hard for me to digest as a former technology teacher.

Earning a Certificate of Instructional Computing in the 90s before there was a degree, it was my heart felt responsibility to bring to all children the tool that was the computer. In the beginning it was educational games like Oregon Trail, and then the use of Basic to create artistic pictures, and later as the internet grew to research, recognize quality sources and record them, and create reports, slideshows, and brochures of their finished product. They did it in class once or twice a week. At recess they played outside. I had envisioned computer use growing and improving, but did not see it being replaced by the handhelds.   Many would argue the opposite, but sometimes I don’t see them as tools anymore. Sure most can do what a computer can do and do some things better, but too often for some children they are an avoidance of human interaction. Are children losing social skills because they are not socializing with anything but their electronics and in a setting where there is no feedback?

Menas Kafatos, blogged an interesting and alarming article in the Huffington Post that stated from the journal ‘Pediatrics’, that kids on average spend 30 minutes a week outside and spend more time with some form of technology than they do in school. He said that children not only have a disconnect with people but also nature. He went on to say “our brain is genetically wired to thrive when gazing at the sunset, hearing the sound of wind through trees, or feeling the warm touch of the sun on our skin.” Are children failing to thrive physically, emotionally and spiritually for lack of connection with Nature?

Science is now legitimatizing the deep connection that all living beings have with nature that spiritual leaders have contended for years. While the brain needs nature to flourish, I believe the heart needs to connect as well and that children need time outdoors to investigate, enjoy and just be one with nature. For me, meditation almost always begins with a vision of me being near water. I know others who connect with trees and rocks. Notice that those visions are all with nature?

A study at the University of Illinois showed that ADHD children without their medication that spent 20 minutes a day walking in a park like setting, did better on tests in the areas of concentration, focus and achievement than when they were on medication. Interesting…

As I sit here on my computer blogging, checking Twitter, Facebook and email, I certainly give credit for the value of technology as a tool. I couldn’t live without it. But balance in life in all areas is needed by us all, especially our children. Let them stimulate their brain and connect with their God within in the peace and beauty of nature.

*update- about 4 days after writing the blog, we took a ride to the next town over. Again he was bored. This time I ignored him and shortly he was singing to himself! Sometimes they just have to be bored to find their own creativity.