Children Cultivating Lovingkindness
Why do we need to support children in cultivating lovingkindness? It is innate in all of us, we are born with the seed of compassion, we need to cultivate it, to keep it growing. If we all were more compassionate practicing lovingkindness maybe the world would be a kinder, safer, more joyful world for all children, all of us to live in.
The first step in having more lovingkindness in our lives and in the world is to cultivate it within ourselves and to have a common understanding of what we mean by lovingkindness. Ask your child what love means to them, how they would define love. Give them time to come up with their own meaning/s.(Examples could be “hugs”, “family”)So now we sort of know what love is. Now, ask your child how they would define kindness. (Examples could be “when someone does something nice for me”, "petting a cat not pulling its tail", “sharing toys”) Now we put these two experiences together, now we have this practice called lovingkindness.
To begin we will practice lovingkindness for ourselves. You give the instructions and model for them, by placing your hand on your heart and asking them to do the same, now feel your breath moving your chest under your hand, pay attention to the feeling of your breath moving your hand up a little bit as you breath in and down a little bit as you breath out, do this for one more complete breath.
Now, if you are comfortable close your eyes and imagine that the love and kindness you (the child) described and how you would feel, and using your imagination see yourself standing in front of the mirror in the morning. See your reflection in the mirror.
With your hand on your heart repeat quietly to yourself
“May I be happy”
“May I be safe”
“May I be healthy”
“May I be free from worry”
Repeat 2 more times. Now, take 3 slow breaths to really allow these feelings to be felt in your body.
You can make up any phrases that have meaning to you/child. This is a wonderful practice at bedtime, or anytime of the day.
Next step coming soon. May your heart and mind be soothed with this practice. Love to all.