Teaching Children Empathy

Japans Answer to teaching children empathy

 

This clip was passed to me yesterday and I was so deeply moved by it, I felt it important to pass it on. ‘Children Full of Life’  is a short documentry (separated into 5  x 10 mins clips on you tube) on a teacher in japan who is teaching his grade 4 students to develop empathy.

The depth of the little kids emotions and the ability they develop with this teacher to share them  was deeply touching. I was moved to tears a few times, proud of them, proud of their courage.  These little people are learning perhaps one of the most important human skills  – empathy.  

If  schools around  the globe, begin including  in their ciriculum, lessons in empathy, compassion, remorse and forgiveness we may in the next generations,  experience a whole new level at which humanity communicates. 

I was inspired and so very proud of these boys and girls.

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PEACE – How to teach this to our children.

Peace Day - A story Book For Children

Peace Day - A story Book For Children

How does one begin to teach children about Peace ?  It is a word so frequently heard in conversations these days, yet how do we explain its concept to children?

Its a little bit like saying ‘do as i say not as i do’ rather than leading by example, because we,  the adults of our world are not really showing our children a concept of PEACE.

If we have the courage to be really honest with ourselves and take responsibility for our actions (or non action) it is difficult not to admit that actually far from knowing peace and living in peace, we are in fact doing quite the opposite.

We have created war, poverty and hunger. We have created corporations that do not consider the individual important and the consequences of this have had a terrible effect on the balance of our global community.

We have allowed the media corporations to become so powerful they control all the global news we read and see.

We have allowed them to create the vision of our world and this vision we now have, frightens us so much, we live in fear, deep fear of almost everything.

We lock our doors, we dont talk to strangers, we dont get involved in community injustices for fear of our own safety. We are afraid of our world, afraid of the reality we have created.

So how do we teach our children about Peace?  How do we prepare and educate our beloved children to know what peace is and how to achieve it for themselves?

I recently read that ‘we as humanity have lost our of vision of Peace’  

We no longer have a clear concept of what Peace looks like. And before we can live in Peace, we must first be able to Imagine Peace. We must first take the time to create a strong, clear image of what we  want Peace to be.

Its been written that ‘Peace is not the absence of conflict, but rather the ability to cope with it, to open our hearts to listening, giving respect to each side in an attempt to understand the conflict and hence, find a resolution that is good for both’

If this is peace, where are we showing our children examples of this?

Every news channel is showing non stop visions of war, terror, destruction and endless sadness, many childrens games are centred on war and fighting in some way or another, where the goal is to WIN, to beat the other, there seems no education in these games in skills of compromise or tolerance….and very few global examples of this either. 

So how does one teach Peace to a child?

This question hangs heavily on my heart. How can we nuture a new generation not to think and behave like we have done?  how do we teach them a new way?

Perhaps its by helping them to create their own vision/image of Peace. To help them to create a clear image of what Peace is for them.

Perhaps it is also about us, the adults becoming more creative in our peace efforts, thinking with a new mind, rather than the mind that created the reality we live now in. Perhaps as families we need to get more actively involved  thus leading by example on the path towards Peace.

While searching the net for ways to do all of these things, I came across a delightful little childrens book created for World Peace Day on Sept 21st  and thought it was really worth sharing it you.

The Peace Day Book is available to read Free online in 14 different languages.  Have a read, tell your friends and if you think it gets the message across to children consider donating one to your child’s school.

Read The Peace Day book:

http://www.peacedaybook.com    http://www.internationaldayofpeace.org/story/

This is a subject close ot my heart, if you have suggestions on how to teach children about Peace please share them by adding a comment below.

What is Peace to you?  Here’s some other peoples ideas of PEACE.

Until next time

love and laughter

Mysticmiss

Myticmiss’s Morning Ritual – 5 steps to a wonderful day

a peaceful mind can be your lifes greatest gift Mysticmiss’s Morning Ritual – 5 steps to a wonderful day

1.  Say goodmorning to your body

The moment you become aware that you are no longer sleeping, take your attention to your breath in order to connect with yourself.  Focussing on your breath for 5 breaths.

Now take your attention to your feet/legs and work your way up to your head, saying goodmorning to the different parts of your body. 

With sincerity,  thank each part for the role it plays in you being able to exist & live your life.  No need to say it aloud, this can be done silently, the important thing is to say it sincerely, so put your heart into it. 

eg. Goodmorning feet & legs,  thank you for the great job you do so that I can walk, ride my bike and move around so freely, I am really grateful.  goodmorning stomach & digestive system, thank you for the amazing job you do of digesting the food I eat, I am so very grateful for what you do for me.  etc etc

You may say the same things each day or you may change them. You can work up through the general body or can focus on more intricate parts, whatever feels right for you.  

If you have pain or illness in a particular area, be sure to include these in the goodmorning ritual.

If a particular part of the body did a great job for you in the previous day, be sure to praise it.  eg. thank you fingers for the great piano practise yesterday. i enjoyed it so much, thank you! 

2. Visualise the people you love.

Start with yourself.  Visualise yourself, once that visualisation is clear, visualise a beautiful pink bubble surrounding you completely.  The bubble can look misty like a cloud, it can be like a bubble gum bubble, or anything else you visualise as a bubble its up to you. 

Now look into your eyes and give yourself a sincere smile.  Say ‘goodmorning (your name) I wanted to tell you that I love you and I am really proud of who you are and all you do’   have a wonderful day today. Visualise giving yourself a hug.

Move to family/friends/ children/ wife/husband and do the same. 

While you always begin this exercise with yourself , you do not have to do the same people every morning. You can rotate, so do family one day, friends the next, or a mix of both each day. Its up to you. But always begin the ritual with yourself. 

if you have a friend who is having a hard time, this is a great exercise. you can say to them something like this, ‘ i know its not easy for you right now, I am thinking of you and sendng you love’ 

3. Gratitude

Choose things that you are grateful for and say it silently to life/existance/god/buddha/shiva/allah

eg.  ‘Thank you for the great friends I have, I am so grateful they are in my life’

‘Thank you for my loving wife, i am really grateful she is in my life thank you’

‘thank you for my health, I am really grateful’

‘thank you for my the geat sleep I had, I really needed it thank you ‘

 

4. Affirmations

I am inspired by life and am delighted to be here.

I am safe and all is well in my life.

I trust the process of life is on my side always working for my highest good and greatest joy.

Everywhere I look I see miracles.

Beauty in all forms surrounds me.

My health is fantastic.

I am full with vitality

I love life 

My awareness is developing daily.

Everything I touch is a success. 

My days are filled with enormous potential. I can achieve anything I put my mind to.

Say these silently and sincerely with yourself.  You can change these, add to them or create your own.

5. Beginning your day

Focus on your breath for 5 -10 breaths, visualise yourself as relaxed, at peace and feeling healthy. Take a moment to be aware of how these feel as sensations in your body. Look into your eyes and say ‘have a wonderful day …(your name) 

Slowly open your eyes, say hello to the world and move on with your day. 

 

Does achieving goals & dreams bring lasting joy?

As children we are encouraged to dream, to have goals, to want to strive for something.. and as adults we work away trying to achieve these dreams & goals.. but then what?  What do we figure will be waiting for us as the end of this journey?

What happens when we reach the point of achieving all the dreams and goals that we made for ourselves? Do you believe there will be deep joy and happiness waiting for you? Do you think everything will be fabulous once you get there?  Do you believe the stresses worries and concerns that usually fill your life day to day will simply melt away? Will you be transported to a realm of endless joy & contentment?

I come from a family who encourgaed me to dream, to achieve and to believe I could be anything I wanted to be and achieve anything I wanted to. It was, from  my adult eyes,  the greatest gift my parents gave me.

 I wasnt someone who wanted to be a millionaire, or be famous, or re-invent the wheel. My goals were simple and wholesome and I believed that by achieving these, contentment and joy would be my reality. 

I wanted to travel the world, feel completely free, own a home, have financial security & find the love of my life..yep simple and wholesome..and yep ALL done. there is a big V next to them all..

I achieved all the goals and dreams I had planned for myself. They have all come true! A pretty large statement some would say, but its the honest truth.

And I have realised an interesting phenomenom. Those blessed goals and dreams do not guarantee happiness. They do not guarantee endless joy and contentment.  In fact, after the initial elation subsides that you are where you have been striving to be, a deep sense of emptiness comes, a sense of being lost arises and its incredibly confusing! 

Somewhere along the way, I created the belief that achieving my dreams & goals would make me happy and content..but it simply hasnt. And here I am wondering what did I miss, what piece of the jigsaw puzzle did i lose and not realise?  

Now before you all start shouting at your screen that I am an ungrateful witch, that I need to look at what i have and be happy,  or tell me I need to connect with God.. know that whilst achieving my dreams & goals, I was and still am,  deeply committed to my  personal development and feel I live life with a genuine & sincere positve attitude.  

 I am not miserable. I am not completely depressed. I have a great life, a great husband and feel a great sense of freedom. And I am immensley grateful for the support I have recieved from existance to help me get where I am in life.. Im just saying there is an emptiness within that I just did not count on being there when I reached this point in my life.  

The  saying ‘enjoy the journey’ is exactly what I have done, so its not even as though I am disappointed that I sacraficed my life to achieve my dreams.  Life  has been one great big amazing blast!  I wouldnt change a thing,  its been brilliant..  I just didnt take into consideration along that fab journey of achieving the goals & dreams that an added sense of joy and bliss would not be waiting for me at the end.

Admttedly, I did think I would be striving towards these goals for many more years than I actually was. They were achieved much earlier in my life than I expected and I consider it a wonderful blessing, one that I am most grateful for.

Not just because the goals were achieved, but more importantly I feel blessed that I am here with this confused and empty feeling reality now… and not 10-15 years down the track, with 10-15 more years of living with this illusion of guaranteed joy at the completion of the goals list.  

So what is the solution, what can one do to eleviate this confusing reality? 

Is it to simply create a new set of goals and dreams?  Is it to understand that life is full with ups and downs and there is no such thing as pure bliss? Or is it the age old question that we all ask ourselves once or perhaps a million times on our life..What is the purpose of life? Why am I here?

I dont have the answers yet.  But .. with an open heart & with all the awareness I have developed so far, I am searching.  

Hopefully, through meditation, research, reading works by mysics, sages & anyone else who may be able to shed some light on this intriging reality, I might find some  answers.. 

Until next time.. much love and laughter

mystic miss