“Every child needs a chance to thrive, to feel that they have a special gift. If we don’t give them that respect, we are not doing our job in educating the leaders of tomorrow.”
Goldie Hawn and I have something in common. I thought I could never say that, but we do. We both believe that it is our job to let the young people we come in contact with know they have a special gift to share with the world. We may approach the job differently, but we have the same goal.
Create a world where all people can shine.
In November 2014, these were the opening paragraphs of my blog post. I shared resources to notice and tap into young people’s strengths. Strength-based education is still an essential part of my work; however, over the last nine years of working with educators, daycare providers, and parents, I have more in common with Goldie than ever! No, it’s not the blonde hair, the delightful laugh, or the age (she is older than I am). It’s the goal in the quote above, providing the chance to help every child to thrive and feel they have a special gift.
In Goldie’s New York Times Bestselling book “10 Mindfulness Minutes”, she shares her journey as a mother to mindfulness and the importance of adults creating a calm, safe, and connected environment and teaching emotional intelligence for children to learn and grow. Self-awareness and self-management is the first step in helping children thrive and know their gifts.
Goldie also created the “Mind Up” Curriculum for K-8 grade teachers to implement mindfulness skills into the classroom. The website has expanded since I read Goldie’s book. In addition to the original curriculum, there are many more added resources. I use parts of the curriculum in my Social and Emotional Learning classes with K-5 grade students. I use Mind Up lessons to teach students about their brain and nervous system, activities they can use to calm their brains, and ways to recognize their emotions.
There are constant reports of the level of anxiety rising in children today. Anxiety is becoming a common mental health concern among children and can significantly impact their well-being and development. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anxiety disorders are children’s most common mental health disorders, affecting about 7.1% of children aged 3-17 in the United States. In addition, children with anxiety disorders are at a higher risk for developing depression, substance abuse disorders, and academic difficulties, as reported by the National Institute of Mental Health.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders in the United States, affecting about 19.1% of adults each year. We are not just seeing increased anxiety levels in children; we are also increasing anxiety levels in the adults surrounding children. In a poll by the American Federation of Teachers, teachers report higher levels of stress and anxiety than the general population, with 61% of teachers reporting work as a significant source of stress.
Goldie Hawn was ahead of the curve in her 2011 book. I have been in education for over 25 years and teaching social and emotional learning skills for 18 years. I was not born with mindfulness skills; I had to learn them. I had to practice sitting still, breathing, pausing, responding, and noticing my feelings. I am still practicing Every Single Day!
If we don’t stop, breathe, and calm down, how can we expect our children and young adults to do the same? Ten minutes every day, that’s a start. I invite you to practice with me right now. STOP – BREATHE – STOP – BREATHE – STOP – BREATHE – We Can Do This. I have your back.