Teaching consciousness to children

“Living in the world without being aware of its meaning is like wandering in a vast library without even touching a book” -Dan Brown

Today life is a continuous race. We are so busy, stressed and tired that we can not always stop for a moment and take full consciousness of our actions. We often find it difficult to focus on the present; or think about what we did and the way we could do it better; or we worry about the future and the decisions we have to make tomorrow.

“It’s not what you’ve done in your past life that influence your present, but it is what you do in the present that will redeem the past and of course will change the future” -Paulo Coelho

Our actions are always a consequence both of our lives and others’ ones. Understanding this allows us to open ourselves to the world. Educating children to be aware means taking a step towards a better future.

What is consciousness?

The term consciousness, to know literally, not simply means being aware of something. It means indeed having knowledge and become aware of something.

Consciousness or awareness is the ability to be present in what we do while we are doing it

This way of getting in touch with the world is not a notion that we can instill in our children, as it is given by the way of relating ourselves to the world.

Consciousness is also closely related to Responsability, namely to the ability to know how to respond to our actions, to someone’s ones, and to the consequences resulting therefrom. In philosophy, the concept of responsibility implies the one of freedom in the sense that each can be held responsible for their actions if they were carried out on the basis of a free choice.

“Do not throw your responsibility on others. That’s what keeps you unhappy. Assume your full responsibility. Always remember: I am responsible for my life. No one else is therefore responsible if I am unhappy, I therefore peer into my consciousness. There’s something wrong with me, that’s why I create unhappiness! -Osho

Consciousness and mindfulness

Mindfulness is the English translation of the word “sati”, in Pali language, which means “conscious care”. In Chinese, the word mindfulness is translated as the ideogram (念) which is the combination of two different characters: the upper part shows the present moment, the bottom part shows the heart. Its full meaning is therefore to live the present moment with your heart. In practice, mindfulness is a type of meditation that puts the spotlight on something specific, a thought, an emotion, an action, a feeling. It brings benefits not only to adults but also to children because through it they can learn to be aware and responsible for their actions.

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In 2007 the Mindfulness program was founded in schools to introduce experimental techniques of awareness in schools, widespread in the UK. The spirit of the program is: STOP AND THING UP WHAT ARE YOU DOING. ACT IN A CONSCIOUS MANNER.

Kids and consciousness

consciousnessWe can consider experienced children who know how to live moment by moment. They give importance to what they do. Do not get lost in the past or future, but remain focused on the present. Our task will be to keep them this attitude and help them in the reflection, in the full knowledge to ensure that they grow up and become men aware and responsible. Do not forget that children learn what they experience. We invite you to read the following poem. For us it was an inspiration. It has made us aware of our the responsibilities as adults in the lives of our children.

Children learn what they live (Dorothy Law Nolte)

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live in fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

With what is your child living?

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Letizia Grasso, Educationalist
“All grown-ups were children, but few of them remember it” This phrase is engraved on my heart. The child who marvels at small things is always with me. I firmly believe that the school should focus on self-construction of knowledge through direct contact with the outside world and, therefore, through the experiences of life. A school open to life and from life itself learns. A school that teaches to observe every little thing, to wonder and to ask questions. A school that forms adults who know how to reflect and put into a relationship the mind and heart.”