Where does peacefulness begin? Is it something that happens “out there” in the world? And are we dependent upon others to achieve it for us?
When we look for the roots of peace, we need look no further than within our own hearts.
Reverend Fletcher shares a beautiful prayer with us regularly at our Monday morning Chapel, from the Chinese philosopher Lao Tse in the 6th Century BC:
If there is to be peace in the world, there must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations, there must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities, there must be peace between neighbours.
If there is to be peace between neighbours, there must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home, there must be peace in the heart.
For some time, children at the Junior School have been learning to cultivate a sense of peacefulness from within, through the practice of mindfulness. This is a skill that will help children achieve and maintain emotional and psychological well-being, and ensure they are better able to realise their educational and life goals.
Mindfulness assists children in bringing their purposeful and complete attention to their bodies and their breathing, and to focus on the present moment so that each thought, feeling or sensation is acknowledged and accepted, without judgement.
It is wonderful for us to notice that children delight in their “mindful moments”, and frequently request them. As they continue to develop and practice mindfulness skills, they will be better able to use them whenever and wherever they need. Being able to achieve a state of peacefulness provides freedom, as children become more aware and better able to manage their emotions, and less dependent upon their physical circumstances, events, or the acts of others for their well-being.
Ask your son or daughter to teach you how to practice mindfulness. Make mindful moments a part of your regular routine.
Out of the mouths of babes…your babes, a few years ago…here are some of the beautiful things students had to say about peacefulness:
Peacefulness is being able to be calm when conflict is happening around you. When you would rather be somewhere else, you can simply imagine you’re in a peaceful place and cope with the problem.
Peacefulness is feeling love and warmth all around you.
Peacefulness is listening to the wind and the birds.
Peacefulness is being a peacemaker.
Peacefulness is to be calm, when something overwhelming is happening or just being quiet for a few seconds and reflecting on what just happened.
Peacefulness is being able to create a very quiet environment and feel good about yourself. It is also to be cared for and to care for someone. You should be quiet inside yourself.
Peacefulness is inside you. You can’t see it but it’s always there. It’s quiet for some people. It’s different for everybody. For me it’s colour.
Peacefulness is when conflict happens not to run away but know how to deal with it in a nice way. Everybody has conflict at some point in their life.
Peacefulness is a quiet place in your heart.
Peacefulness is watching a candle burn.
Peacefulness is being free.
Tessa Lloyd, Junior School Counsellor
Check out these great resources on mindfulness and children:
Books for Parents on Mindfulness
Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting by Jon Kabat‐Zinn & Myla Kabat‐Zinn.
The Whole Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Dan Siegel
Parenting Your Anxious Child with Mindfulness and Acceptance by Christopher McCurry.
Parenting from the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self Understanding
Can Help you Raise Children Who Thrive by Daniel Siegel & Mary Hartzell.
The Mindful Child by Susan Kaiser‐Greenland
Planting Seeds: Mindfulness Practice with Children by Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village Community
Child’s Mind: Mindfulness Practices to Help our Children be more Focused, Calm, and Relaxed by Christopher Willard