“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
Humans have this desire to change the world.
To make a difference. To have an impact. To leave a legacy.
It is human nature.
We Think BIG!
Make plans on a grand scale.
We see all the suffering and devastation in the world and we look to outer sources to solve those problems.
We think the answer lies outside of ourselves.
But, What If The Answer Lies Within?
What if we can take the steps to change our inner world in order to make improvements in our outer world?
The Inner World is a Reflection of our Outer World.
The world is a mirror.
It reflects back to you what you put out to it.
Consider the kind of energy you carry around on a daily basis.
The energy of your emotions, your thoughts and your feelings…
Energy is Everywhere.
Whether we see it or not.
Our personal energy has the capacity to influence those around us.
It influences individual energies.
And it influences global energy.
Change Your Vibration To Change The World!
What kind of energy do you carry?
Is it world-changing energy?
Is it the kind of energy you hope to see in others?
If it is, you’re on the right path!
This is how we change the world.
To make a difference. To have an impact. To leave our legacy.
“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”
They have to deal with all this (and more) with an under-developed brain.
Their brains are STILL a work in progress…
I look at that list (even with my developed adult brain) and know I’d be struggling balancing all of that too…
So What Can We Do?
How can we help them navigate through this tricky spot in life?
I asked myself these very same questions at the beginning of this school year…
Because this School Year, I Found Myself Neck-Deep in the Middle of Grade 9 Classroom Waters…
This classroom was filled with some complex kids with complex needs…
I wanted to help them…
The way I wish someone helped me back then…
They desperately needed certain skills…
Skills that would help them THRIVE, instead of just SURVIVE…
This is why, after much thought and a lot of field research (testing the waters of my Grade 9 classroom), I came up with a way to help my students build an essential skillset!
A skillset that would help them, not only, navigate the rough waters of Junior High, but also prepare them for life (and develop their brains along the way)!
Introducing… The Kids Yoga Stories Gratitude Journal for Teens!!
Okay, but what makes this Gratitude Journal so special?
How is a gratitude journal supposed to help our struggling Teens…?
Well, THIS journal is MORE than just any old Gratitude Journal…
In fact, it helps Teens develop qualities and skills like:
Emotional Regulation and Stress Management
Confidence and Self-Esteem
Empathy and Compassion for Themselves and Others
Positive Self-Talk and and Self-Acceptance
Forgiveness and Perspective Shifting
And of course, Expressing Gratitude and Feelings of Appreciation
How Does One Journal Do All of This?
It provides regulation strategies, like Breath of the Month and Mindful Colouring, to manage stress and anxiety – tools that Teens can use for life!
(I don’t care who you are, you can’t tell me Teens are “too cool for school” to colour… My field research says otherwise! :P)
The WeeklyPositive Affirmations promote positive self-talk, self-acceptance, boosts confidence and reminds Teens to show themselves compassion. We are all just human, after all.
The Gratitude Questions and Challenges are thought provoking and help shift perspective in Teens. They begin to understand their place in the world and have appreciation for whats going on around them.
This Interactive Journal provides a creative outlet for Teens to get thoughts and worries out of their heads. Getting things out on paper gives Teens the chance to reflect on experiences and even learn from them.
Plus, we already know that when our Mental Health improves, so does our overall health! This translates to other parts of our lives.
And Teens will benefit for years to come!
Why Did I Decide To Create A Journal For Teens Unlike Any Other?
Well, I’d like to ask you this…
Do YOU remember what it was like being a Teenager?
I sure do…
And when I met my Grade 9 students on that very first day, I saw myself in all of them.
All of my insecurities…
All of my worries…
All of my struggles trying to fit into the world…
I Barely Got By My Teen Years
I wasn’t about to let that happen to these kids.
I asked myself,
“How would I have helped MYSELF back in my Teen years?”
“What supports did I desperately need?”
DIY: Gratitude Notebooks
A few students and I put together personal notebooks filled with gratitude, breathing and calming strategies, affirmations, and other random thoughts!
The note books were amazing, but they just weren’t quite enough…
They weren’t as organized as I would have liked.
They weren’t as appealing to the Teenager who is concerned about appearance.
I took all of these lessons I learned from my Gratitude Notebooks,
All of the lessons from my Teenage students,
And all of the lessons from reflecting on my Teen years,
Earth Day is around the corner! (Quite literally… TOMORROW!)
It is personally, one of my favourite days of the year!
Want to know why…?
Because no matter who you are, what background you come from, no matter your differences, we share one commonality…
We are ALL inhabitants of this planet we call home…
And it is up to us to care for and maintain this home!
We have the ability to impact the Earth, AND it’s future generations.
We can TEACH the young kids in our lives to love and respect the Earth.
We can teach them WHY its important to do so!
And so I ask:
How will you choose to teach them this?
There are SO many ways to influence our kids!
But, if you need a little help with some inspiration…
Check Out These Revolutionary Reads About Caring For Our Earth:
#1: Touch the Earth – Julian Lennon
The first few book recommendations are part of a series. ‘Touch the Earth’ is the first book of this 3-part series, written by John Lennon’s son, Julian Lennon! Julian takes kids (and big kids like myself) on an adventure of the Earth in the ‘White Feather Flier’ airplane. On these travels, he shows us how we can all make the Earth a better place.
Fun Fact: The name of The White Feather Flier is inspired by his father and his humanitarian efforts.
#2: Heal the Earth – Julian Lennon
In the second book of this series, Julian takes us on another adventure of the Earth in the ‘White Feather Flier’! This time, we learn the importance of caring for our worlds water supply and how to reverse some of the damage that humans have already done to the Earth.
He reminds us its not too late to make a difference!
#3: Love the Earth – Julian Lennon
In this final book of the series, Julian Lennon teaches us to use the power of love to protect the Earth and its inhabitants! He shows us that all parts of the Earth are connected and why it’s important to help other creatures that need it. The Earth is more than just a home for humans…
He reminds us that we can solve any problem if we just work together!
#3: The Earth Book – Todd Parr
This fun and simple book is filled with ways that we can take care of the Earth! Todd Parr is a funny and inspiring author! We can all learn a thing or two from him.
Fun Fact: This book is printed on recyclable materials and nontoxic soy inks!! He practices what he preaches!!
#5: The Lorax – Dr. Seuss
This book is a classic that never gets old… Even Dr. Seuss knew way back then of the importance of the Earth and it’s trees! A beautiful reminder of the tragedies that could happen if we neglect our Earth and cut down trees at an alarming rate!I resonate with the Lorax… As a being who also “speaks for the trees!”
I hope you enjoy the inspiration from these books!
I’ll leave you with one final thought…
Kids learn more from what we DO, rather than what we SAY…
The learning doesn’t stop after reading these books.
Please don’t think:
“Okay, I did my part. Now I’m done…”
It doesn’t work like this.
Go out in the world and actively do something to make it a better place for all of us to live.
Kids learn through involvement! And they learn from your actions!
So, I ask one more time…
How will YOU teach them how to care for the Earth?
I just finished re-reading ‘The Power of Moments’ by Chip & Dan Heath. (If you know this book, awesome! If you don’t… get yourself a copy!… There’s a reason I read it a second time around! :P)
I first read this book 2 years ago. One day recently, I started thinking about it. How I wanted to read it again. And refresh my memory of its many lessons.
Two days after that thought, the book ended up on my boyfriend’s doorstep… randomly, through a book exchange he was a part of…
Talk about synchronistic!!
I took it as a sign to start reading it again. It was just as good the second time around!
‘The Power of Moments’ a wonderfully inspiring book about how we can capitalize on and craft moments that have the power to be life-changing. (More on HOW in another blog post… :P)
One of the biggest takeaways from this book was:
The Power we have to Create Moments Through Simple Connection.
It is so easy for us to get lost in our day-to-day mundane tasks. We go through the motions; Do our jobs and cross things off our daily list.
Students, clients, and fellow staff members become 2 dimensional characters to us. It’s easy to forget there’s more beyond the surface of the people we interact with daily.
I know for myself, after working with the same students each day, it’s easy to lose sight of the human being behind the student. Too easy to focus on the daily to-do’s. Especially when it feels like there’s a million of them…
But the truth is: Our students, our kids, our coworkers, are more than just a number, or a ‘to-do’ to cross off a list.
They have their own identity. And with their identity, comes a whole background of experiences and moments that shaped them into who they are.
It is important for us to acknowledge each individual identity. After all, we are all different in some way. We’ve had different experiences that all led us up to this one moment. HOW we got here matters just as much, if not more, than the fact that we are here.
Its our human nature to want to be seen and heard. To be noticed and acknowledged.
The authors of this book suggest a reframe to our thinking…
Instead of always asking “What is the matter with you?”,
we simply ask instead “What MATTERS to YOU?”
See how powerful that statement change is?
We get lost trying to assess and fix problems, we often forget to consider the individual as a whole.. Their feelings and their experiences.
I wanted my students to know that they were loved and heard. I wanted them to feel appreciated, down to their very core.
During a Wednesday afternoon in Mindfulness Club, I brought in different coloured sheets of paper, markers, and crayons. I explained we would be mindfully working on a little project called:
“What matters to me!”
I reminded all of my students that although we are all in the same place, we all have different stories and backgrounds. There are certain things and experiences that make us, us. And how important all of our individual stories are. How those stories deserved to be acknowledged.
And so, we all had the opportunity in Mindfulness Club, that day, to create our own “What Matters to Me” poster (myself included!) so that everyone around us could see our stories. So they could see what lies beneath.
A one-day-project, turned into a whole-month-project!
Because my kiddos had so much they wanted to share about themselves!
They shared about their families and their experiences. About certain memories that stood out in their minds. About the things they liked and the things they didn’t. Some were personal. Some were sad.
All were so very beautiful in their own ways.
I learned a lot of things that day. About my students… About our own stories…
About making sure those stories are heard and understood.
What I’ll remember the most about that day, is the way their eyes lit up just because someone listened…
I really do believe it is as simple as acknowledging those around us.
Seeing them… I mean, really seeing them.
We all deserve to be seen.
And the most wonderful part about that…
Is thatWE have the power to give others the acknowledgement they deserve…