What’s Best for our Children?

Are you really sure about what is best for your children?  Do you feel that your son’s school fully meets his needs?  Have you considered home-schooling your daughter?

If there was one question I would ask senior management when I was a Primary School Teacher, it was:

“Is that what’s best for the children?!”

This was my response to SO many instructions, from being asked to administer more academic tests, to keeping the children indoors when there was a flurry of snow that they would have loved to have played in. Yes, I know the reasons for testing and all about risk assessments and bad weather policies but I was more concerned with what was REALLY best for the children in my care.

During my last ten years in education I ran a Meditation Club and it made me feel everything from immense joy to a deep sadness. The members of my club were aged between five and eleven and they would heave a sigh of relieve as they walked into my classroom because they knew that for the next twenty minutes they would have some peace and stillness. That brought me the joy… the sadness came as I listened to them tell me why they needed it so much.

“There’s never any peace in my house!”

“We always have to hurry up and rush in school.”

“I just want to be quiet.”

As I led them in meditation, even the very youngest would sit still, eyes closed and listen attentively. Even children I knew had labels such as ADHD or had behavioural issues, would pay attention.  I could see their little tense shoulders start to relax as they settled into the guided meditation stories I read and by the end of the story they would be in a genuine meditative and relaxed state. 

Then we would sit together in silence for up to ten minutes.  Having a Year One class, I was aware that keeping children quiet for ten minutes was often a challenge, but, during my Meditation Club, it was no effort.  I sat in silence and they enjoyed doing the same.

The change in them by the time I dismissed them was noticeable – they were quieter, calmer and certainly happier.

They would complain a bit about their next lesson but that’s normal for school children.  Well, it is in our current education system. 

These days there is such a focus on the ‘all-singing-all-dancing’, stimulating, active type of lesson that children rarely have the opportunity to experience something they genuinely need to maintain good mental health.  They need to be given the chance to be still, quiet and introspective. 

They also need our guidance in ways to do this. Our inner life is as important as our outer life but how many opportunities do we give children to learn to understand their thoughts, their moods, their emotions and how they all relate to each other.

If someone had told me as a child that my thoughts are not facts but simply mental events that come and go, I may not have believed the thoughts that I created as a result of labels I was given. Thoughts such as, ‘I’m too sensitive’, ‘I’m shy and unsociable’.

During my last year working in a school, I was asked to give talks on Mindfulness to the staff and students and this was music to my ears.  I had already discovered the power of Mindfulness in my own life and I was keen to share it with adults and children.  The response was so positive that I eventually chose to leave education and become a self-employed Mindfulness Consultant so I could devote more time to helping people become aware of the life-changing power of Mindfulness. 

If you would like help to apply Mindfulness to your personal situation or circumstance, drop me an email on: juliet@mindfulnessconsultant.co.uk or send me a message on Facebook.com/JoyArises