You can’t help but have noticed the massive trend for mindfulness at the moment.
You rarely go into a bookshop without seeing a mindful colouring book or a manual of mindful prompts and practices. Many companies are pushing it at the consumer – the capitalism of which rather belying the point!
I always think of home educating parents as mindful people. You kind of have to be in order to do it.
I know some of you may recoil from the concept of mindfulness as a load of psychobabble that has no relation to the serious business of education.
But I don’t think I’ve ever met a home schooling parent who isn’t mindful in that they are making conscious choices about the way their children are educated. They are mindful of the fact that a learning life does not have to be endured for some future reward, it is important that the kids are happy and fulfilled now. And it’s that which leads towards a happy and successful relationship with life thereafter. That is the way parents are mindful. It means being conscious of what you’re doing.
Of course, there are all sorts of interpretations of being mindful – awareness being the one I’m using here. I don’t think you could home educate without being very aware of what you’re doing, both day-to-day and with regard to the future.
But therein lies a danger of conflict.
Because mindfulness is an approach that is based very much in the now. Yet our educational agenda can sometimes become obsessed with the future.
It certainly is in schools. It seems like every activity undertaken has an agenda that is focussed towards forthcoming results. Test results. Exam results. Qualification of it, in some form or another. The quality of the present learning experience is prostituted for that.
It is natural as we parent to wonder about the future for our kids. Obviously we want the best for them. We wouldn’t be human if our considerations didn’t stray beyond the present as we raise them and guide them towards living good lives.
However, it’s important as we educate to balance that with what’s happening now, what their needs are now, making now an inspiring experience.
In fact I’d go so far as to say it needs to be imbalanced – for the now is far more important. Simply because what’s happening now will determine the future and if you take care to make the present a good experience of learning, then the children will want to go on with it and that’s an attitude that sets them up for life. If you take care of the now the future will take care of itself.
Educate because learning is a great thing to be doing, at this present moment.
By adopting a mindful/awareness practice yourself you will inspire the children to have mindful practices of their own which promotes a healthy and conscious way of living; with themselves, with others, and with the planet. It escalates out in beneficial ripples all around.
Being mindful is good for parents. Good for home education. Good for kids. Good for everyone.
Worth taking a moment to be mindful of it!
There’s more generic reading about mindfulness here if you’d like to explore some more.