What You Will Learn in Each Lesson
Mindfulness Begins with You
Mindfulness helps us to experience reality clearly and consciously, without pushing anything away or trivializing or over-analyzing certain situations. Being mindful is not something you do from time to time—it’s a way of life. In this first lesson, we begin with an exploration of what mindfulness is. Because we can only teach kids to be mindful when we are mindful ourselves, we will also learn basic techniques for practicing mindfulness in our own lives.
How you look at things determines in large part how you react to them. In this lesson we will consider the role that nonjudgmental observation plays in mindfulness. We will learn practices—including the “spaghetti test”—for connecting with the body and being mindful of its various states and experiences. We will also explore inquiry practice as a method for deepening our understanding of our own and others’ experiences.
Feeling Feelings, Recognizing Worries
Thoughts and feelings almost always work in tandem, and they constantly influence each other. In this third lesson we will look at feelings and emotions, their impact on our thoughts, and our tendency to react to what we feel or think. We will also learn mindfulness practices for working with feelings, thoughts, and worries, which we can employ ourselves and teach to our children.
Dealing with the Stress of Parenting
Stress in parenting can bring out the worst in us. Likewise, stressed kids can exhibit unacceptable behavior. But if we learn how to handle stress differently, our relationship to stress can change. This lesson looks at the body’s basic responses to stress and explores tools for interrupting these responses to bring more mindfulness for both children and their grownups in stressful moments.
Trusting That Change Will Come
Sometimes we are not in a position to address our external circumstances, but we do have the freedom to change our relationship with what we would like to be different about them. In this lesson we will explore practices for harnessing the power of the imagination to do just that. These tools can help us cope with and learn from the inevitable setbacks and difficulties in life, enabling us to really help our kids—and ourselves too.
Compassion for Yourself and Others
Self-compassion enhances the emotional balance we so badly need, especially at times when the pursuit of perfection in our performance-driven society takes its toll. And it ensures that we do not expect others to be perfect either. In this final lesson we will be looking at self-compassion and compassion for others. We will consider the immense importance of compassion in the family and in education, as well as the meaning of self-compassion in everyday life.