Like so many around our country and around the world, I am horribly saddened by the events in Orlando this weekend. While watching the coverage of the event on TV it made me think about mindfulness, my students, and my own children. I wonder what kind of world my children and students will live in. I wonder if there is anything that can truly be done to stop this senseless violence. I also wonder if mindfulness was practiced by everyone, if it would help to eliminate the horrible decisions that people make.
Today was my last Mindful Monday with my students for this school year. We will start final exams at the end of this week. I had wanted to save this exercise on loving kindness for the end of our sessions because I found it to be such a good one. It ended up being quite timely with all of the events of the weekend as well.
For this exercise, we began talking about what makes us feel positively about another person and what happens when we are angry or disappointed in someone. We talked at length in some of my classes about what this feels like and how we can sometimes take out our negative feelings about ourselves on other who have done nothing wrong. We then had a really great conversation about how we thought what we have done with mindfulness could be so beneficial to everyone in the world. What if everyone took one, two or even five minutes every day to stop and focus on sending positivity out to those we love, those we see on the street, and those who have disappointed us in some way? If everyone tried to mindful and focused on kindness, would we be angry and so violent in our actions? It is amazing to hear the logic that 11 and 12 year olds have when it comes to this. We did not talk about the events of this weekend at all in our conversation because I did not think that it was beneficial to scare them. Instead, we talked about how we feel when we take time to focus on the positives and how we treat others when we have a good mindset.
The activity that we used was from the Calm app. I LOVE this app for so many reasons. I have talked about it in previous posts. It has so many great features not just for adults, but now for kids too. Calm is also promoting using their app in classrooms. Teachers can apply to get the subscription waived so that you can use it in your classrooms. I used the guided meditation called loving kindness with my students today. It walked them through thinking positive thoughts about themselves (something every middle school student needs to be reminded of) and others in their lives. It had them focus on sending kindness to those they love and those they may find difficult. When we were done with the meditation, we talked about how we felt and how this activity could be helpful in our lives.
I am not sure what parts of mindfulness my students will take with them this year. Some have expressed to me that they love what they have learned and how it has helped them. They have told me about how they use mindfulness when they are stressed. Others have said that they really do not like it and find it hard to concentrate and focus. However, if my students take even one thing away from our work with mindfulness, I hope that it is today’s lesson. I hope that when they are struggling with others or feelings of negativity about themselves, they will remember what they learned today and take just a few minutes to refocus on the positive and send out feelings of loving kindness.