by Patti Ward, M.Ed.
On May 21st, we will be offering our first Mindfulness Family Day. We hope you will be able to attend. It is open to anyone who has attended any of our children and teen classes, or to anyone new to mindfulness who would just like to check it out. Parents, guardians, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings—all are welcome.
Sometimes, teaching mindfulness to children and teens is more about “planting seeds” than reaping a harvest. Some of the students come to class and just soak up all the different ways they can be mindful. They practice mindful walking on the way to a difficult Algebra test, feeling their feet, breathing in and out, just noticing. Some students share how they use a mini version of the body scan to help them fall asleep at night (me too!).
I had one student share how they sent heartfulness to people on the plane on her way to her family spring break destination. One young man shared that he used mindful breathing in the detention room at school. Learning to “feel their feet,” take deep breaths before responding to their irritating sibling…creating space to make a different choice, a different response. Perhaps, avoiding a confrontation or altercation. Learning to stop and listen to the birds outside, the wind in the trees, the noisy neighbors next door—not judging, just noticing—oh, so many ways to practice.
It would be easy to fall into the trap of wondering if your class made a difference in their lives. We all hope to do some good in this world. But part of the process is really just to notice that often times, it is just about planting a seed and not seeing any present-day changes.
Perhaps the only change is hidden deep within them: the memory of this class where they learned about how the brain worked, how they actually did have control over their behavior or the ability to relieve stress, where they sent heartfulness to others and noticed how that seemed to make them feel good all over. Maybe 10 or 20 years later, they will attend their first MBSR course and have a sense that they have heard this before, that there is something familiar about the class, but they just can’t put their finger on it. It’s okay; they probably won’t remember that 6 or 8 week mindfulness class—but just maybe, it planted a seed that got them to commit to beginning a life-long mindfulness practice. There is that possibility.
Planting seeds . . . we are so privileged to be a part of the story!