Planting Seeds of Mindfulness
Jessica shows up at our Youth Mindfulness Summer Camp with a thermal bottle.
“I brought green tea,” she smiles. “I love green tea!”
“Isn’t it too bitter?” I ask.
“No, I like coffee too. I didn’t have time for coffee this morning, but I got green tea.”
“Do you drink coffee every morning?”
“Yeah, I also go to Starbucks with my mom.”
Jessica is six years old. She is one of the most energetic children at our camp. She starts talking about her favorite beverage at Starbucks. A couple of other campers join our conversation. They talk about how they add milk and sugar to their coffee. I let the conversation flow. The kids shift from the talk to a balloon play, which gets too wild in no time.
Caffeine, sugary snacks, iPhone, iPad, TV – modern children are constantly stimulated. A seven-year-old girl who plays with her iPhone in bed after saying good night to her parents. An eight-year-old boy who gobbles up a chocolate bar during his time-out. In our camp, we offer a wide range of activities to nurture and foster young children’s whole beings. They make crafts, express their feelings through movements, play with sounds, and make snacks with an artistic touch. While they enjoy camp activities, many of them prefer playing games on a computer. When they pass the library full of computer terminals on their way to the outdoor play area, they beg their instructor for computer time instead of playing outside.
We take care of our campers only for a week or two. Even though we do our best to teach them the importance of pausing and coming to a place of peace and silence, their home and school environments may not support the teaching. Nonetheless, we continue planting seeds of mindfulness in their hearts. Some of them might never sprout. But some others will do with love, nourishment, and guidance, as plant seeds germinate with adequate sunshine, fertile soil, and water.
We need to keep planting seeds of mindfulness everywhere, whether they sprout or not. Among young children, adults, seniors, office workers, parents, professionals, and artists –however old they are and whatever they do for living. They all deserve an opportunity to learn how to cultivate peace within. The more seeds we plant, the more flowers will grow. May we all be nourished by the beauty of flowers everywhere.
“A seed knows how to wait... A seed is alive while it waits." – Hope Jahren