Math and sciences are taught in every school, but what if schools would also begin to include Mindfulness and compassion? I am convinced that those children, once they become adults, would be able to completely change the Earth. Never again we would resort to violence to resolve conflicts or differences of beliefs. We would understand and respect all, and people would be valued according to their wisdom and goodness, not according to social status, fame, money or level of power. Professor and scientist Richard Davidson who was inspired by the Dalai Lama designed at the University of Wisconsin a curriculum of twelve weeks to include it in six American schools. Twice a week for twenty minutes, preschool children were taught through stories and practices to pay attention, regulate their emotions, and cultivate compassion.
The school environment can be very stressful: in addition to the problems they bring from home, many children have difficulty making friends and already as kids they are pressured to become brilliant students. Also, to be excluded, ignored or belittled is very painful for a child. That is why it can be so powerful and useful to teach the importance of empathy and compassion.
When children experience suffering, they are able to put themselves in the other children’s shoes, and the experience makes it possible to build a sense of connection among children, teachers, and even with parents. Learning to strengthen their attention and regulate their emotions are essential skills that could benefit children in school and throughout life.
In addition, over time, teaching Mindfulness can completely change the school environment. Teaching kindness could become a real generalized transformation, with overall positive impact in the planet.
“The photo was taken at a monastery in Sri Lanka, where I was learning and practicing Mindfulness and meditation with Buddhist monks. There, children like this one are training as monks and were actively involved in meditation.”