The body is a magnificent mechanism; an organic machine capable of extraordinary feats from hiking a 29,000 foot peak or running hundreds of miles at time, to giving birth and living over 100 years of life. What a miracle it is to be alive and in a body! Though we as humans can see the possibilities in life are endless, there are times in life that make us think otherwise.
Pain and suffering or disease may at times bring about doubt in one’s own potential. Although we are capable of such extraordinary living, in times of hurt, many are quick to give up their strengths to an expert opinion, i.e. doctors and scientists. Today, nearly half the population of Americans are on prescription medication including 25% of our children. This is not to blame our doctors, because health and medicine is an incredible field!
The problem lies in the fact that we’re not facing ourselves, but rather masking the hurt and cushioning the discomfort instead of letting it heal. We’re quite happy to find a personal injury lawyer to make people responsible for injury and illness take said responsibility. But the buck slips when the guilty person responsible is ourselves.
The magic of life has its ups and downs and we as humans are strong enough and capable enough of pushing beyond the limits of our struggle. We as adults and individuals do have the choice of either numbing out on drugs or television, food, etc., or facing life and meeting it with a full heart. It makes me wonder, however, how we might give children that same choice.
Full of Life or Attention Deficit?
100% of children are hyper.
Okay, that’s not quite the exact statistic nor is it scientifically tested, but I can attest as a classroom tutor, that it is largely accurate. Kids are generally very active. They love to run and dance, move things, throw stuff around, spin in circles, tell stories, etc. 60% of the time the classroom looks like chaos (again, that’s a rough personal estimate).
The point being, why are we giving kids drugs to sit still when we all know we’re slightly jealous of their lively energy. Sure it’s difficult to teach a classroom of 20 kids running in circles, but how hard is it for an 11-year-old to understand he has to memorize the formula for circumference rather than play basketball outside on a beautiful day. Children weren’t made to sit in a plastic chair for 6 hours.
Not to say learning how to focus isn’t valuable. So as adults, parents, and teachers, it’s important to balance both ends of the stick. Meditation is a technique that trains the mind in a one-pointed focus on the breath. The goal of meditation is that presence and focus will carry over into all of life. By infusing daily life with even a few moments of meditation, children (and adults) can experience one-pointed attention throughout the day.
Riding the Waves not Fighting the Storm: A New Paradigm for Teachers
The above mantra has been my greatest lesson in the past few months working at the local middle school. When kids are acting up, running around, goofing off, just breathe for a moment. I know (at least with the kids I work with) they expect you to rebut. What happens instead is they begin to respect you. You’re no longer the authority figure that yells off commands. You become not only a model for meditation, but for the choice that each of us can make. Suddenly the kids become interested and want to hear what you have to say. No one’s forcing them quiet or numbing their active body-minds. They make the choice to listen. They make the choice to be present and learn.