Q & A
As a parent and an educator, what is the best way to introduce to children the power thoughts have on how we experience life?
The very best way to teach concepts based in mindfulness, intentional living and the power of our conscious and unconscious thoughts, is by example. So, that means don’t even try to teach it until you are living it. That may not be the answer you were looking for.
We know the science behind the power of thought feels right and we have the best intentions by wanting to teach it to our children and students, but there is no way they can really grasp it without an example. (The exception here is that some children are naturals and are already living this way. In these cases, we are best off staying out of their way or better yet, committing to learning real life applications from them!)
So, once you are effectively monitoring your thoughts, feelings, patterns and beliefs and starting to nourish yourself from the inside out, you can start to introduce the science behind thought in a fun way. (Notice I say, fun! If it isn’t a playful and joyous process, what child would be interested in learning this?)
Here is one enjoyable experiment to try when exploring the idea of “what you focus on, grows”:
In preparation, you may want to share some background information. I recall from many years ago, reading about a study done in the 1970’s. Researchers took a team of basketball players, separated them into three groups and then took baseline data on foul shot accuracy. The first group was instructed to practice everyday for an hour. The second group was to sit and imagine for one hour that they were shooting foul shots. The third group was told not to practice at all. The results were fascinating! The accuracy of the first group increased following the week of regular, real-life practice. That is easy to predict because they practiced, right? Well, the second group, the ones who only rehearsed the movements in their mind improved as well, almost as much as the first group! And, the third group demonstrated no change.
Be sure to emphasize to the children that the second group was able to affect their actual performance through thought alone. Why? Our brains don’t know the difference between what we imagine and what we do in real life. This is why we can be in a full-blown fear response from a nightmare. It feels real until we fully awaken and learn otherwise.
Within your family or classroom, have the entire group select a number from 1 – 6. Let’s say, the group decides on the number three. For an entire week, coach the kids to imagine that number coming up significantly more that others when you roll a 6 sided die say, 30 times. Guide them to imagine how it will feel to jump up and down, celebrating that their own thoughts (energy) had an effect on matter (the die). Go as far as you can to make this a big focus. For example, each day for a week you could tale 60 seconds imagining your desired outcome. Have the children close their eyes and see someone roll the die. Tell them to imagine looking down at the die and seeing the three little black dots coming up over and over. Imagine kids and adults in the group exchanging high fives and laughing at the amazing results. Instruct them to bring the feeling of happiness in to their body as they see the three come up repeatedly, maybe eight, nine or even times out of thirty!
As the facilitator, commit to a light-hearted, yet focused approach. Imagine what it will feel like to have loads of fun with your students or children as you explore this activity and the concepts of the power of thought.
Have a blast and let me know how it goes!!!