What was it like to be a kid back when you grew up? I wonder how my experience compares to yours?
I went to a public primary school in South Germany. Yet the community was catholic and we said our prayer in the morning before we started, we had religion as a subject and before learning much about other religions we learned about the catholic practices and often the Reverend who taught us, took us to church and explained the pictures, sculptures and relicts to us.
After my holy communion, my Dad was diagnosed with cancer. It was a very difficult time for my family and everyone was flat out caring for my Dad. I was 9 years old, too young to be of much help. My family is not, and has never been hugely religious. However, in a time of great distress, this part of my school education had provided me with a tool, that I could use to sooth myself. I prayed. I went to church on Sundays (usually on my own). When everyone else was too busy, I talked to God, or Jesus. It comforted me. It gave me a point of focus and I felt that in some way, I supported my family with it.
Fast-forward to now. I currently reside in Western Australia. There are public schools. There are private schools, many of them religious in nature.
Often the non-religious private schools follow the philosophy of a particular education system, such as Steiner or Montessori, which all to an extend, are built on spiritual principles.
The religious schools still teach and practice religious practices in various degrees.
Generally the public schools have no spiritual or religious practices incorporated into their daily routine nowadays.
Now let’s be honest. Life can have it’s challenges. Loved one’s die. People loose jobs, or are overworked. If I asked you right now, what challenges you are faced with in your life, you would have a thing or two to say, wouldn’t you?
How are our children coping with modern life now, compared to a few decades ago?
Our children spend more time in before-and after school care facilities then ever before.
They get more homework and more pressure to perform at school- from an young age- then ever before.
Parents are more stressed and time-poor then ever before.
Unfortunately, so are many children, also!
With this increase in stress amongst the general population, one would assume that there would be a greater number of offers to counteract those stresses. This is true when it comes to offers for adults. There are a great number of yoga classes, mindfulness-, meditation- or spiritual groups, retreats, books, audios, etc, etc.
What about our children? The market is slowly catching up with more offers. If you are lucky, your town or city may offer a children’s yoga class, or martial arts…. The better earning one’s of us parents may be able to offer this and some of the still relatively rare spiritual media to our children to support them. But what about the low-income earners, unemployed, separated- or single parents?
What happened to the schools taking charge of providing our children with tools for life? Where is the support from the public system to create greater well-being, to give our children something to turn to when the going get’s tough?
Many parents who have their children in public schools have no interest in religious education, at that’s fair enough. However, it seems that where in the olden days religion fulfilled the function of giving us – and our children- something to turn to in times of distress, there now is a gap in the education system.
Tragically now, children need tools to help them cope with the stresses of life, more then ever before.
So, as someone who has found immense comfort in a wide variety of spiritual and mindfulness- practices throughout my entire life, I propose we introduce those tools into the public education system.
When I was a child, my family hasn’t been practicing the tools I learned at school. Yet, what I learned at school, was what helped me through one of the toughest periods of my life. And it makes me think of many, many children, whose families have no knowledge of practices and tools that can ease the stresses of life. And some others are potentially interested but at a loss as in how to provide their children with those tools.
All kids deserve to learn tools that help them return to their natural state of inner peace, to find balance and well-being within and to feel less anxious about what they can’t change. It shouldn’t be a novelty, only reserved for the elite! Spiritual education is something that’s gonna stay with children for life and equip them with the soothing knowledge that they can take charge of their own well-being.
I feel passionate to support schools and groups of children to incorporate mindfulness practices into their daily lives. I offer mindfulness packages as incursions at schools, at affordable rates. If you would like me to facilitate my program at your school, please contact me via Email (email@example.com) and I can send you an outline of the services I offer.
Let us make a difference together and infuse some Zen into the school system!
There’s a Japanese word, that is often used in their culture. It’s “kaizen”…
a Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement of working practices, personal efficiency, etc.
The Japanese have proven to be market leaders in many areas of business. Why not apply the same principle to our school system and also to our own personal development?
Instead of financial profit, we would gain the advantage of a happier, healthier society.
And if you ever feel that you’re falling short of kaizen, I can lend you my son. His name is Kai! – And he may or may not come with the Zen! LoL
PS: Mindfulness, and the practices to promote mindfulness, which I offer are not contrary to any religion or believe. They simply promote self-awareness and expression in order to promote a overall feeling of peace and well-being.