Gurushala Workshop on 'Coding and our Future'
A dive into the stories and experiences of our teachers!
Meditation has a multitude of benefits, but it's always in the context of adulthood when we talk about those benefits. We want to relieve tension (from a job or relationship), lower blood pressure (only an adult would care about something), or concentrate for a few minutes on themselves (children are great at focusing on themselves). But children may also benefit from meditation. Much like an adult, they may suffer from stress or anxiety. They may have trouble falling asleep. They may have difficulty in setting limits or need some time alone to achieve balance.
The issue is that many children do not want to sit down and meditate either. It sounds dull and no fun at all. Why do they want to lie down, shut their eyes, and hear their own breathing? There are video games to play, cartoons to watch, friends to play with, and a dozen other things that sound so much more enjoyable and interesting than meditation!
The idea is to make it sound more exciting and engaging for children. Here are a few suggestions as to how we should do that.
Don’t make it a task
The first step to having a kid to want to meditate is not making it a task. If they don't, don't order them to do it or punish them. Present it as something that you feel they will enjoy and make it clear that it is optional. Encourage them to join you in the practice of your own meditation. If they get up in mid-session and leave, let them. No one desires to do something that they feel obligated to do. You give them the space to decide on their own to try to mediate, by making sure your kid feels no pressure.
Make it short
For adults, we come to believe that the longer the session, the better, until we discover the benefits and start enjoying meditation. But for infants, the opposite is true, in the beginning, at least. Start with sessions that are short. No more than five minutes until or unless your child asks for more. With shorter sessions, your child is getting the benefits, and the experience, but they don't have time to get bored.
It can feel like forever to a kid who wants to do other things, despite the shortness of the sessions. Set timers for each session to encourage your child to close their eyes and relax in the moment instead of thinking about whether time is up.
Try using an app that will also offer interval bells if you have a kid that will always try to crack an eye open to see how much time is left. This way, every minute or so, they will hear a bell and be less tempted to try to peek at the timer.
Try making meditation into a small game if your kid is into it but needs a little push. Have them try to "beat their best." Every day they may try to meditate a little longer or see how many days they can meditate in a row. Or perhaps their aim is to try as many different meditations as they can without repeating a theme or repeating the same one twice. Don't make them compete with someone else. This sets them up to fall into the pit of comparison, and no similarities can exist when it comes to meditation. It ought to always be about the person. If your child always seems absolutely against the practice, just let them know that the door is still open for you to help them learn to meditate and let go of it. They'll benefit more than anything else from that.
The COVID-19 pandemic was indeed stressful, challenging and full of struggles for almost every section of the society. It is quite needless to delve into the details of how every section whether the one in the centre or the ones on periphery had to survive the ongoing pandemic. An unprecedented situation shook the entire world particularly a country like ours where a significant chunk of population lives in extreme poverty. But it is quite evident that some people had to suffer more as compared to others.
Surviving a pandemic is not just about preventing being infected or getting cured after being infected, it involves a lot of other aspects. After all, one’s health does not just comprise of physical health, in fact it involves mental, emotional and social well-being. It does not necessarily mean that if you have managed to avoid the infection, you have not been affected at all by the situation.
As much uncertain as a global pandemic was, equally unexpected was a global lockdown. Most of the current population inhabiting the earth had not seen the world come to a stand still like this ever before. People were losing jobs; families were being forced to leave their homes if rent isn’t paid and migrants having to go back to their hometowns with no work to sustain. On one hand, the world was taking a step back to take all the necessary precautions; on the other hand, rest of the world was preparing how to resume their work while staying indoors. Offices shifted to working from home, factories were shut down, markets closed and teaching was shifted to remote teaching.
While all of this was happening, a lot of sections were dealing with quite so evident inequality in the society. Some sections were adversely affected by the way society was handling the situation. Teachers teaching in traditional classrooms had to adapt to online tools of education while students had to shift to a schedule of online classes. Coming from different classes of society, a lot of students had no accessibility to smartphones or internet which led to their inability to attend the online classes. Unfortunately, this scenario continued for months and as we know the situation is not yet back to normal. After waiting for a few months to ask for the fee, schools also started asking students’ parents to deposit the school fee. It was then that the situation worsened. Because not only the learning gap amongst the students was widening but the parents had very less or no money to pay their kids’ fee.
It was at this juncture that the head of the household had to make a choice and this choice led to dreadful outcomes in most cases. A lot of children had to drop out of schools because either their parents lost their jobs, their homes or their income was reduced to halves hence being unable to pay for their wards’ education. In some households where there were more than one kids, girl children were made to drop out of schools. In a country where a girl’s education is mostly considered secondary, that is the first thing to be cut down in times of suffering. This educational divide was coupled with a gender divide in many situations.
According to UNICEF, in South and West Asia, 2.8 million women and girls may not be able to return to education, from pre-primary to tertiary levels. I can’t help myself but imagine about a young girl whose only concern at the start of the lockdown was when will she get to meet her best friend who now towards the end of the lockdown has to leave her school. She might never go back to that school or any school for that matter. In times like these, it is the marginalized of the marginalized who have to suffer the most.
Forget about the classrooms, let's freshen our minds and spend time with ourselves. A space for you and your entertainment!