This is Part 4 of a 4-part series about teaching children to understand and manage their attention.
Scenario: You are in a children's classroom. You are their teacher.
You have just asked if there is any viewpoint anyone would like to make more real about a fire that has occurred in their neighborhood.
One child, being funny, announces that he would be keeping his attention on the idea that everyone is doomed and there is no hope. You recognize this as a beautiful opportunity to invite all of the students to explore the possibility that people will choose this viewpoint in life sometimes.
You ask if it would be OK with them for someone to chose this viewpoint to experience. They respond in many different ways, all saying a variation of "Each person gets to decide which way they are going to experience the fire!"
The children were fast becoming aware that everyone was choosing their own viewpoint... and that each choice came with a specific feeling. They got excited realizing they are the ones in the driver's seat and that where they put their attention has everything to do with how they experience an event.
They became wise little beings in such a short time!
A viewpoint from the front of the room
This series has been based on my many experiences introducing the Principles of Allowing to teachers and young children in a classroom setting. In response to the student who wanted to feel doomed, I suggested he tell his parents that he had decided to suffer a bit over the fire and to please just let him do it. Everyone laughed and he loved the idea of being able to feel doomed if he chose to.
I also asked around the room for other viewpoints that had been decided on about the fire. I asked if I might add one of my favorites to the circle. With their permission, I wrote "Everything works out perfectly!" I shared how this viewpoint is calming and can be helpful with regard to many circumstances in life. I then invited them to take out a small piece of paper and write down the viewpoint they decided to experience regarding the fire. I suggested they put this note by their bed and take a minute right before sleep and upon waking to focus on their choice. "Read it, feel how it feels and let it soak in," I explained. I told them after just 3 days, they would be amazed with their ability to create an experience of choice. They were excited about this!
As the exercise came to an end... after about 20 minutes total... I asked the group if they would like to see something really cool. They chimed, "Yes!" Then I took an eraser and replaced the word "fire" in the center with the word "school." Everyone became wide-eyed... especially the teachers who were watching the demonstration.
After we explored what viewpoints they were holding about school, I asked them if they wanted to continue to make that idea more real... or pick a different, more fun perspective. You should have seen their faces, I could almost hear their brains understanding what this could mean.
One last nudge, I erased the word "school" and asked them to place their name in the center of their circle, inviting them to explore what viewpoints they held and made real about themselves. You could hear a pin drop. They got it! I was deeply touched by their willingness to take responsibility for what they felt.
These tools also work in life... they may be used by anyone, anytime, anywhere... on anything... with equally profound results.
What would you like to make more real in your life?