Tag Archives: elementary education

Raising the AHA Generation: Is that a good thing?

ProblemSolvingWhen you hear Aha, you may think it is a good thing because ‘Aha’ usually means that you are becoming aware of something, but when you hear what AHA stands in this article, I’m not so sure it’s a good thing…

As a school teacher of 15 years I have seen many changes throughout the years. I have seen many changes in education, expectations, learning styles and overall behavior of our children. In the past few weeks I have become critically aware of three important elements that I see clear across the board with our current generation; (I could write another book on this but I will keep it short and sweet for now)

  • Today’s children are generally anxious. Kids always want to know what is coming next and why they are doing what they are doing. They worry about the simple things in life yet do not pay attention to the details that can help them to feel secure. They have more fears today then we had in our childhood and they look for others to solve their problems because they are afraid that they don’t have the tools to do so on their own.
  • Kids of today are learning to be helpless. Their minds are in three different places at once because they struggle to focus on one thing at a time. Perhaps this is because they are so anxious that they are not in the moment. Maybe they are too focused on the past and too fearful of the future to stay in the present moment, or perhaps they have just learned that they don’t have to do things for themselves because the adults will do it to get it done on their
  • Today’s children are angry. There are many times in a day when I am putting fires out because someone has been ‘rubbed the wrong way’ or is upset because they didn’t get their way. They easily bark at one another instead of talking things out and listening to the ideas of others. Our children of today go from joyful to angry in a matter of minutes and then back to joyful when they get their way once again. It’s truly remarkable how they’ve learned to use anger as a bargaining chip.

So there you have it, the AHA generation in a nutshell. Now, where did this come from?

In my opinion, our kids are learning from us! Think about your average day and the amount of stress you are under. We run from one activity to another. We speak so quickly that we often wonder if we are making sense and we never make time to just BE. We have become Human Doings instead of Human Beings because we are trying to do way too much in our lives. Doesn’t that make you feel anxious?

And think about it… if you are anxious…if your child’s teachers are anxious…if the world spins this quickly daily and everybody is running in different directions…aren’t we all creating an anxious environment for our children to grow in? How could they not develop deep anxiety in life?

We put pressure on our children from the moment they enter school with testing (if not sooner based upon our own expectations). We constantly rush them from one activity to another because, well, hey that’s just what we do today. We never take time to sit and quiet our minds or teach our children to quiet their minds yet we expect them to relax and just be kids. Hmmmm, how are they to do that when even they are under so much pressure?

Let’s talk about learned helplessness– I don’t believe that we have done this on purpose, but it seems that we are always making excuses for our children’s behaviors or seeking a label to explain those behaviors instead of addressing the issues and teaching them how to problem solve. Our kids are over stimulated with electronics and under stimulated with human connection! We often ask our children to do something and then when we realize it hasn’t been done we do it ourselves because we are in a hurry and it’s just quicker that way. But, what are we creating with this behavior?

How about those angry kids? We are so hell bent on making sure that our children don’t experience what we experienced and we are so concerned with ‘fairness’ that we have forgotten that sometimes life isn’t fair and we all need to learn how to roll with the punches and go with the flow because sometimes things just don’t work out the way you intend.

Now, if you know anything about me, you know that I don’t like to complain about something without having a solution. So, what can we do?

We need to teach our kids how to be Problem Solvers.

We need to stop taking their power away by answering for them or doing it for them and start empowering them to believe in themselves and speak their truth. The world isn’t always fair but our present circumstances do not have to determine our future and learning to overcome obstacles in life can only build strong character. Give your kids their power back and stop solving their problems for them. Instead, give them the tools that they need to be successful in life.

  • When they come to you to ask you if their picture/work is good don’t give them an answer. Instead, get down on their level and say, “What do YOU think about your picture?” Allow them to talk about their work and share their pride. This will teach them that their opinion matters and they don’t have to seek approval outside of themselves.

 

  • When they feel disappointed or upset about something, don’t offer them the solution or try to make it better (and believe me I know this is hard). Instead, sit with them and allow them to feel their feelings without judgment, then ask them what they think they can do about the problem. Guide them to problem solve without giving them a direct solution. This will help them to feel empowered because they had a part in the solution. And as difficult as it is-because we all just want to make it better- it’s worth it in the long run because you are giving them tools for a lifetime. What is that old saying… “Give them a fish and they eat today but teach them to fish and they eat for an eternity!” (or something like that)

 

I don’t want our kids to be anxious, helpless and angry. Instead, I would like to create a strong foundation for them so that they can grow up to have a healthy, productive, joyful life. Are you with me?

Lots of Love & Tons of Light,

Vicki

PS Please leave me your comments. I read them all and love hearing your thoughts!

www.vickisavini.com

Push the PAUSE Button

Mercury in retrograde, full moon, racing from one thing to the next…does it ever end?

Today I woke up a little later than usual and of course this put me behind the eight ball-so to speak- throughout the day. I felt like I was running from one thing to the next and as if life was a blur. Of course anything that could go wrong, went wrong, because isn’t that just how it goes?

I went into my classroom and tried to get ready for my 1st graders to come through the doors. I always like to make sure that when they walk through the door, they see a smile and not a rushing, crazy idiot!  Today, that was a challenge though.

I tried to print morning work and there was an issue with the printer. Next I tried to get online for a backup plan, but that didn’t work either. I rushed to find a solution and came up with something just in time, but the day was already spinning out of control.

After the kids came in and started on morning work I remembered that I had to do lovely progress monitoring. I pulled the iPod out of my drawer and had technical difficulties with that too. After wasting at least 30 minutes trying to get technology to work with me so that I could get the ‘data’ teachers are expected to report, I finally got things rolling, but it was clear that my energy needed a shift.

I progress monitored 6 students (tested them…oh I LOVE those tests) and then we were off to lunch. I was definitely on edge with the kids and that’s so NOT fair to them!

Every day after lunch and recess my kids have ‘Mindful Time’. This is a time that I dedicate solely to ‘quieting our minds’ (you can read about this in my book Ignite the Light)

Some days we lay our yoga mats on the ground and go to our ‘Happy Place,’ other days we do power yoga or color mandalas. I usually take this 10-15 minutes to breathe and release some tension or get ready for the next hour with the kids (ironically, I am not always mindful during mindful time). But today- TODAY was a day when Mindful Time really made the difference for me.

The kids came into the classroom and parked themselves on the community rug for instructions. I instructed them to use mandala’s to quiet their minds and then walked to my desk to ‘catch up’. Fortunately, I caught myself and decided that I too needed to practice mindfulness.

I announced to the kids that I was going to color a mandala today as well. I chose one, pulled out my crayons (that was really awesome-I love the smell of crayons) and began to color my mandala from the inside out. As I colored I shared some thoughts with the kids. They were so happy to have me join in as well and so intrigued by my coloring and choice of colors. I smiled to myself because of their excitement.

Time was up. I began to pack my crayons away and began counting down for the kids to do the same. When the kids came to the rug again for instructions something was different…I was different. My energy was now re-balanced and even though things were still ‘ticking’ me off throughout the afternoon with technology and testing, the edge was now gone!

mandala

This made me realize that we all need to push that pause button throughout the day. I literally sat and colored (yes, I colored with crayons) for about 10 minutes and suddenly life didn’t seem so tough after all.

Mindfulness doesn’t have to happen at the same time every day and it doesn’t have to happen in a certain way. Mindfulness just needs to happen. And the only way for us to be mindful is to sometimes hit the PAUSE button.

Try it. 10-15 minutes (even 5 minutes) in the middle of your stressful day can totally make all the difference in the world. Go ahead, pull out a box of crayons-I dare you!

Lots of Love & Tons of Light,

Vicki

PS Come visit me on my page and sign up for my newsletter so we can stay connected. I LOVE to hear from you!  www.vickisavini.com