I have been busy doing mindfulness & life lessons workshops in schools around the country, various parts of Dublin, Cork and Galway over the last month or so. It has been to promote The Confidence Clinic Summer Camps. But here’s what I’ve learned: Your kids are amazing!
I don’t care if you kids were in the classes I taught or not.. I just have to say, in general kids blow you away with their insights, honesty and ability to engage in something different. They just want to learn.
Here are a few of the responses from age 5-12 years old I got when I asked the question:
‘What is the best thing you can do to keep your mind healthy and fit?’
- Some of the answers were: ‘Sleeping’, ‘Eating’, ‘Exercise’… very good.
- ‘Reading’, ‘going for a walk’… brilliant!
- And the 5 and 6 year old’s managed to give some of the best answers: ‘Mindfulness’, ‘meditation’, ‘deep breathing’.. these kids are wise souls!! (Deep breathing was the answer I was looking for by the way.)
The kids I taught for 30-40 minute outdoor classes were so interested and happy to learn. At one stage when we were talking about not being hard on yourself, one boy from 4th class said in front of his whole class:
‘When I have a shower I feel bad about myself for a long time, because I look in the mirror and see how fat I am’. What bravery and guts it took to speak up and say this. I’ve no doubt other kids in his class slag and jeer him about his weight because some of them laughed when he said it. My heart almost broke there and then for him. How I wanted to pull him aside and give him a few little tips. I reminded the children how hurtful it can be to laugh at someone or say mean things.. and I congratulated him for being honest and open. One of his nicer classmates told him ‘But you can do something about it’!
We talked about letting go of mean words, water off a ducks back, releasing anger and frustration, breaking the cycle of arguments, filling yourself up with confidence and working on being happy everyday.
Now that I’m back from all these workshops and outdoor classes, its firmed up even more the vision I had for the summer camps – to be outdoors (weather permitting) and be filled with lots of fun and games and in general a ‘happy place’. I found it a little distracting when a few teachers shouted at the kids to behave and listen during the workshops… I know they were trying to help me, but I just wanted the kids to enjoy the time, have fun and learn something different. It kind of defeats the purpose of an outdoor mindfulness class if the Teachers are stressed and shouting!
It was also very interesting to see the dynamics in a classroom – the various characters and personalities. The same few kids just put their hands up all the time, no matter whats going on – even if you haven’t asked a question. I think these are the kids who just want to be heard… (You could just spend the whole time going around all those with their hands up and listening to their stories… and you would get nothing done!)
I’ve been used to going into Secondary Schools a lot, and not so many primary schools. But I suppose its not that different – just different ages. There are sometimes just a good mix of kids who listen and partake and some classes where there are more ‘messers’ and ‘jokers’. One class was quite rowdy and loud and it was hard to get them to listen to start with (A little girl at the start of that class told me ‘Don’t worry it’s not you, they’re just all evil’ Oh dear!!!) But they did settle down and listen quite well at times. Overall the whole thing was a great experience.
Kids are also so amazing because they learn so quickly and easily, its hard to comprehend. Recently, I coached a young boy who was struggling in school, with friendships and a few bullies. Not for the first time, it only took one single coaching session to help him to feel happier and more confident, he only came back to tell me how well he’d been getting on in the second session. I’m not boasting here, I don’t take this as credit for me, I think the child is the hero here. Here is an excerpt from his mother:
Hi Caoimhe- can’t thank you enough for The difference you’ve made..(to John) …I wouldn’t have thought I’d have seen such a difference in a couple of sessions…happy confident, mixing in and playing with children he wouldn’t have before- You’ve really given him the skills to be totally comfortable in his own skin it’s been fantastic for him’. I would say back to that – John (his name has been changed) took the tools I taught him and done all the work, he has changed his life for the better. In just one week! So you see kids really are amazing!
Love to you all and wishing you a lovely Summer
Caoimhe O’Grady Tegart
The Confidence Clinic
Click here if you are interested in our 2018 Summer Camps – 3 locations in Dublin, Salthill – Galway and Douglas – Cork.