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September 30, 2016

How to Mindfully Talk to Children about a Non-Mindful Election.

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve had to turn off my TV in disgust many times during this election cycle.

As we are nearing the last few weeks of the campaigns, things seem to be getting more and more heated. As someone who has practiced mindfulness and positive thinking my whole adult life, I am often shocked at the level of hurt and anger that the media displays on a daily basis. I turn on the news only to wonder what the next mean, degrading, negative comments will be.

It hurts me to the core.

Children are watching and listening too. They hear the radio in the car and the TV in the background. They hear heated discussions between family members and friends. They may also overhear conversations at school from some of the older kids. The energy of this election is going into their minds, bodies and spirits.

So what do we do as parents to help protect our children from this challenging energy?

I don’t believe that we can hide this from our children. Even toddlers are listening to their parents and babysitters at the park speaking about this divisive election. So it is important to have a strategy to keep a mindful home. Let’s focus on the gift of this election—it provides a wonderful opportunity to practice mindfulness.

1. Express your own feelings about this election cycle using feeling words. For example: “It makes me sad to hear people call someone bad names.” Then you can say to your child, “Name calling is something we would never do in this house. We are going to focus on the positive in people and never say anything that would hurt someone else.”

2. Assure the child this constant negativity is not the world we live in. Maybe even find some good stories about people helping people or people helping animals. What we focus on grows, so finding some positive stories in the media, or on social media, will help them see the world as a positive place.

3. Help them to choose love over fear. We can either operate from a place of love or fear. Teach them to practice picturing their hearts and asking their heart what to do in the situation. Their heart will always guide them to speak and act in a loving way.

4. Model non-judgment. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. Show your child how you can have a passionate discussion about a subject that means a lot to you. Without judgment. For example, when speaking with someone who supports a different candidate than you say, “I hear you and value your opinion and this is how I feel.” Modeling this behavior will help them learn one of the most valuable practices that they can do in their adult lives.

5. Practice peace and love breath. Sitting on the floor, open your arms out to the side as you breathe deeply. Breathing in peace. Bring your hands back to your heart, breathing out love to everyone in the world. Do this several times. Breathe in peace to my toes, and breathe out love to every child to the world. This is an amazing opportunity to teach the child no matter what’s going on with the world we all have the ability to connect to peace inside of us.

And remember, often times, things have a way of working out to be just as they should be. Use this campaign as an opportunity to put a positive spin on things, knowing that no matter who wins, we are all on this path together. The universe has a plan, and it’s a good one. It may not feel like it, but whoever wins is exactly as it’s suppose to be. Have faith that the universe has your back.

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author's own: Kathy Walsh (not for re-use)

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Author: Kathy Walsh

Image: Instagram @elephantjournal; author’s own

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

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Kathy Walsh

Inspired by her whimsical and influential childhood experiences, Kathy Walsh set out to live a positive life of mindfulness and peace. Filled with yoga, education, the arts and happiness, Kathy’s entire career path was guided by her goal of helping others live a life of mindfulness.

Those who know Kathy’s story will tell you that her career and position as a mindfulness expert is no coincidence. Kathy grew up in a house filled to the brim with love, peacefulness, positive thinking, happiness, and laughter with her six siblings. She smiles ear-to-ear when talking about her glowing childhood and her mother. “People always wanted to be at my house. My mother created a perfect environment for children,” she exclaims.

Inspired by her whimsical and influential childhood experiences, Kathy set out to live a positive life of mindfulness and peace. Filled with yoga, education, the arts, and happiness, Kathy’s entire career path was guided by her goal of helping others live a life of mindfulness.

A master meditator and avid reader and author of mindfulness books, Kathy created a series of children’s books and meditations called Joyohboy. These resources for parents not only share her stories of mindfulness and peace but seek to provide children with the tools they need to live a peaceful life and make an impactful change in our world. “My goal is to provide families with the tools they need to help their children lead a life of mindfulness, peace, and balance. With these tools, they can change the world!”

Kathy also launched Peace Place for Kids, where children and their families can come to participate in activities such as yoga, the arts, music, and so much more with the goal of finding their peace. Peace Place for Kids teaches children to find their inner balance so they can go out into the world with the confidence they need to succeed and make the world a remarkable place.

Boasting more than 20 years of experience working with children, the arts, and education, Kathy’s finds nothing more exciting than helping children and their families find a life of peace. Prior to writing Joyohboy, Kathy designed and launched renowned holistic programs for children at the Rudolf Steiner School in NYC and the Connecticut Conservatory of the Arts in New Milford. A frequent guest commentator in print and on broadcast media, Kathy has been nationally recognized for her interactive community arts events.

Kathy is absolutely in love with dogs, obsessed with pop culture, a self-proclaimed fashionista, and big on doing things with integrity and intention.