The Intermediate phase learners at Thorntree Preparatory School learned more about mindfulness during our Book Club Hour this week. We read another story by Julia Cook, called Be where your feet are. This picture book addresses the need for us to be present in the moment. The learners learned WHY it is important to be in the present and how staying mindful can help with school, relationships, and working toward goals. They also learned what to do (simple ways) to help one to be mindful and living in the present:
- During the course of the day, take a few short minutes to close your eyes, breathe in deep, and appreciate and visualize both what you are doing now, and think through what you will transition to next. This will allow you to become more reflective, focused, and effective in the moment.
- Take a 10 minute break every hour during homework time to check your phone in a different room. Then return to your homework.
- Keep your electronic devices in another room when you go to sleep. The temptation to use it far outweighs the assumed need for sleep. Without effective sleep, a person becomes irritable, inattentive, anxious, and even depressed.
We live in a world of distraction. Social media, extra-curricular activities, and screen time constantly compete for our attention. As a result, maintaining awareness of what we’re thinking about, how we are feeling, what we are doing, and our surrounding environment, becomes extremely difficult.
Often, we attempt trying to solve the problem by multi-tasking, but research has shown the human brain is not physiologically designed to multi-task. Doing more than one thing at a time causes the brain to switch back and forth between tasks, which actually limits productivity.
The boy in the book has difficulty managing all the activities he has to do. There are just so many things a boy has to remember and do! While walking to school he practices his trombone solo in his head, and gets so involved that he marches right passed the school! He can’t find his permission slip, and he was sure he put his homework in his backpack… where could it be? His Math test has musical notes for answers, and running to his trombone tryout ends him with his face in the volleyball net! When he gets home he is half covered in mud, carrying a cat he wished he had but didn’t own, and he doesn’t have a clue how it all happened! His mom helps him realize the key principle for success: being where your feet are. The story continues to show how to break down one’s time into sections, or chunks, so that everything on the list can get its own focus time. It is a valuable principle to teach your kids.
This short story linked to learning how to Gather Data through all senses (Habits of Mind #10), and how it helps us to be mindful
“It’s all about being present, in everything you do. If you can be where your feet are, you’ll be a much better you.”