Top 10 Kindful Kids Of 2018
Each new year offers us a lovely opportunity to take a step back to reflect on our journey as a family over the past year and look ahead to consider our intentions for this coming year. Which seeds do you hope to plant for your family in 2019 and what practices will you embrace to lead more joyful and compassionate lives?
As our team of five volunteer editors looked back on the journey we’ve been on together over the past 52 weeks of Kindful Kids, we feel so grateful for this community, which is entirely focused on raising mindful, compassionate and kind children and families. We hope you enjoy our selection of the Top 10 Kindful Kids of 2018 and we wish you and your families beautiful 2019 ahead filled with love and togetherness.
"Feeling and acting with respect and appreciation for others is perhaps the most gracious way of living. It is rooted in the premise that all of us share the same fundamental need to be recognized and valued for who we are. It rests in an understanding that each person has within, a set of qualities and capabilities that are good and positive, though sometimes these may be hidden and buried by challenging life experiences. Setting aside exceptional instances—where pathologies or extremely difficult social conditions occlude inner goodness—when people are treated with an openness that acknowledges them as valuable, they are best able to interact, negotiate, compromise and simply feel good about themselves and others. This graciousness can be a cornerstone to thoughtful effective parenting."
How to Help Kids Learn to Love Giving
In this feature, Jason Marsh, long-time friend of ServiceSpace and founding editor of Greater Good, shares a treasure trove of insights on nurturing generosity in children through conversations with his then 7-year-old daughter. In his explorations, he uncovered five science-based strategies to understand the nuances of the nature of giving, which comes from an intrinsically motivated space. He beautifully illustrates simple ways that helped him to make this a subtle and effortless process for his own child, in the spirit of sharing his learnings with other parents who may be holding similar questions and experiences.
8 Of The Most Important Lessons Nature Teaches Kids
Eco-psychologist Bill Plotkin says that the best template for human maturation from birth through old age is equal parts nature and culture. Culture is learning from family, elders, religion, teachers, and now media. Nature is learning to be in and with the limits imposed by the natural world. Indigenous cultures struck a balance between the two as a result of living in the natural world in tribes, clans or villages. Today, however, kids learn almost 100% from culture – family, community and mainstream culture. This dramatic shift away from nature has reduced our ability to be adaptable and emotionally resilient. As a wilderness therapist for many years, Krissy Pozatek observed kids resume their emotional development as a result of outdoor learning skills and living in the natural world. This featured article by Pozatek, author of Brave Parenting:A Buddhist-Inspired Guide to Raising Emotionally Resilient Children, describes 8 of the most important lessons nature teaches kids.
Self Compassion In Kids
"Over the years, there has been a tremendous emphasis in our society on building kids’ self-esteem. Psychologists now think we should be teaching children how to develop self-compassion instead. [...] Self-compassion is learning to extend understanding, compassion and encouragement to yourself when things don’t go your way, treating yourself the way you would a close and treasured friend. Research shows increasing self-compassion has all the benefits of self-esteem but without the downsides. There are several ways to help foster self-compassion in kids."
A Letter from My 15-Year-Old Son
"Last week, I found myself in a different type of conversation that probably I've been waiting for many years. I somehow had been trying to hold space for it, but it had never happened before. I'm a father of three boys, and my middle son, Santiago, is 15 years old. He's a hardcore teenager. :) He's very silent in emotional aspects, and he's very loud in others. I've been trying for a few years to hold that space that he feels the trust that he can talk about whatever he want. I understand that between 13-16 years of age, as far as I remember, there's so many things happening. Last Friday, was my birthday. My family took me to a beach, and just before we left the house, Santiago came to my office and he brought a little envelope with him. I honestly had no idea what it was. He said, "This is for you, but if you are opening it now, I'm not staying here. I'm leaving." I was very surprised. What is this?"
The Gift of Raising a Conscious Child
"Parents today are overwhelmed with demands on how to raise their kids. We want the very best for our kids. We want them to be smart, athletic, healthy, kind, happy, polite, disciplined, creative and more. We want to give them everything! Kids on the other hand, are growing up bombarded by technology, needing to compete in every way, comparing themselves with others, trying to be perfect and please their parents, wanting to fit in.
So, from the parents whose intention is so sincere, to the kids who are trying to keep up on all fronts, what needs to change? What is missing? We need to look at the whole experience of raising our children as a spiritual one, where having conscious kids go out in the world is more important than anything we can teach them. Here’s why raising them as conscious individuals is the best gift you can give to your children."
Why Should We Let Our Children Fail
"We’ve ended up teaching our kids to fear failure – and, in doing so, we have blocked the surest path to their success. Out of love and a desire to protect our children’s self-esteem, we have bulldozed every uncomfortable bump and obstacle out of their way, depriving our children of the most important lesson of childhood: that setbacks, mistakes and failures are the very experiences that will teach them how to be resourceful, persistent, innovative and resilient. I didn’t intend to teach my children to be helpless. I wanted them to have the time and the courage to try new things, explore their boundaries and climb one branch beyond their comfort zones. But somehow, somewhere, that idyllic version of childhood morphed into something else: a high-stakes, cut-throat race to the top."
5 Ways to Teach Kids About Sustainable Living
"In order to leave behind a better world for our children, it is important for them to be well aware of protecting the environment. Children can make a difference if you teach them about sustainability and empower them to appreciate and preserve the environment. By making small changes in the area where your children live, they will be helping immensely towards creating a better world." This featured article shares practical ways we can teach kids about sustainable living and offers lovely book recommendations for each of the five themes they share.
Parenting as a Personal Spiritual Practice
It's an evergreen topic at parenting groups everywhere. How do we "discipline" our children without resorting to physical acts of intimidation? Experts are using words commonly associated with yoga and meditation like being conscious, awake and mindful to connect, engage and learn from our children, not just mold them into the people we want them to be. A far cry from past generations that believed “children should be seen and not heard,” comes a revolutionary way of embracing parenthood. Here are four ways you can transform your most trying parenting challenges into spiritual lessons.
Simplicity Leads to Happiness in Children
Simplicity is a rare gift in modern life. But, deep down, all parents know when our kids are overwhelmed we have the power to help by silencing the noise, lifting their spirits and making them feel safe. Slowing down feeds our souls and nurtures our families. Whether it's decluttering, reducing the number of commitments on your kids' schedules, or just spending unstructured time in nature, this featured article provides practical suggestions for incorporating more simplicity into family life.
Kindful Kids newsletter is a resource for parents who are keen to teach children about compassion and service. It reaches 5,749 subscribers. You can unsubscribe here.