Guiding our children to shine their inner LIGHT by being our absolute best!

Posts tagged ‘love’

The Very Best YOU!

Why is it that we are so damn hard on ourselves?

Why do we wait until we are literally at our breaking point or something goes wrong with our health to heal ourselves?

Yesterday I woke up and was feeling somewhat blue and overwhelmed. I wasn’t sure what was going on but I knew how I felt. Considering that I teach people the importance of feeling your feelings, I took some time to just sit and feel my emotions. As I sat, this thought came to me, ‘What have you done for YOU lately?

Let’s face it, we spend a great deal of our time taking care of others; we take care of our children, our spouses, our pets, our parents or extended family, and sometimes even our co-workers (or in my case, my students). But WHEN do we stop to re-fuel our own tanks?!

I immediately got my butt off the couch and called a spa in the area. I decided that I was going for a facial!

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It took me a while to settle in and relax but this facial included a hand, foot and shoulder massage so I had some help on my journey to relaxation!

As I laid there allowing myself to be pampered, I began to feel that I was re-fueling my own tank. Hmmm, imagine that, taking an hour for yourself to just be pampered? I have to say it was the best decision I made.

Now, I’m not saying that you should ‘check out’ whenever you feel blue or overwhelmed, but what I am saying is that we need to feel our feelings and honor ourselves more often.

Maybe a facial won’t do it for you. Perhaps a walk in nature, some meditation, a trip to the bookstore or a night listening to music would re-fuel your tank.

It doesn’t really matter what you do to re-fuel yourself. Instead, what matters is that you take the time to do so.

Do you know what the best part of my day was yesterday?

It was when I came home and I was in a much better place for my son…

We somehow began talking about soccer and he said that he feels proud of himself because he scores goals.

I smiled and then he continued with, “Mom, do you know why I score goals?”

I responded, “Because you’re good?”

He smiled and said, “Nope! It’s because I believe in myself. You taught me that Mom. Thanks!”

Take time for you so that you can be YOUR best, because the truth is, we are teaching our children how to take care of themselves with our every move.

Lots of Love & Tons of Light,

Vicki

The Greater Message in ‘Frozen’

About 2-3 times a year I like to set up a week-end play date for my 1st graders. I find that it helps to build community and teaches them that Mrs. Savini is a real person who doesn’t live at school!

I asked the kids what they wanted to do and they wanted to see a movie, so we looked at the upcoming listings and chose ‘Frozen’ as our week-end play date.

Today, my son and I met my students and their families for a viewing of Frozen at the local theater.

I didn’t know what to expect because I didn’t take time to read about the movie before hand. I just went with Frozen because that’s what my kids chose. I must say I was pleasantly surprised and I honestly love the way the Universe works because the message in this movie reflects my daily teachings…

Frozen is a beautiful movie about two sisters learning some tough lessons in life. In the very beginning of the movie, Elsa, the older sister is chanting, “Conceal, don’t reveal” because she has been taught to do this to hide her magical powers-her true self. Of course, this was breaking my heart to listen to because I teach children and adults the exact opposite; believe in yourself and speak your truth!

As the movie progressed, Elsa stopped holding back and just let it all out. I have always taught my son to look for the deeper meaning or special message in a movie (especially Disney movies). About this time in the movie, my 8 year old son turned to me and said, “Mom, I know the hidden message in this story. It’s be true to yourself no matter what!”

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My eyes filled with tears, I smiled and replied, “That’s a really great message isn’t it?” He nodded yes and hugged my arm.

Somewhere inside of me I knew that wasn’t the only message. I felt that there was more to be revealed and I was right. By the end of the movie the deeper message was revealed; Fear will destroy you and love conquers all.

This movie couldn’t have been more in line with my teachings and beliefs. I honestly didn’t plan this, but I am so thankful to the Universe for orchestrating this magical week-end play date.

You see, every day I strive to teach children and adults to allow love to guide them instead of fear and this movie just gave me another teaching tool!

I highly recommend seeing this movie with your children. There were several beautiful messages throughout the movie, but most important is that ‘Love conquers all’.

Lots of Love & Tons of Light,

Vicki

 

 

Too Much Information?

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Tragically we have endured yet another senseless act of violence in our nation. Tonight I send lots of Love and tons of Light to the Boston area and then I pose this question…

Are we giving our children too much information?

Every morning my precious 1st graders enter the room with wonder and excitement in their eyes. I purposefully stand in the doorway or greet them in the hall with a smile as they unpack for their day. I do this because I want to warmly welcome them to a new school day and to be sure that I am starting the morning out positively for them.

The children walk into the room, greet their friends and immediately begin ‘morning work.’ Soon after the school announcements come on and then helpers begin setting up our morning meeting.

Morning meeting is a beautiful time because the kids show what they know by reviewing the calendar, discussing the weather and counting how many days we’ve been in school. We also sing songs and choose our morning affirmation to set our day in motion.  

If the kids have something on their minds, this is a good time for them to share their thoughts and feelings.  This morning after our morning routine and choosing the affirmation, “I am infinite,” one of my students raised his hand and said, “Mrs. Savini, did you hear about the bombs that were dropped on Boston?

I must admit that I was caught off guard because I didn’t expect to hear that this morning. I too have a 1st grader and decided that there would be no talk of the incident or watching of the news while he was awake, so I was stunned when I heard this question and then saw all of the children engaging in discussion.

I turned to the child and said, “Well, hunnie, there actually weren’t bombs dropped from the sky but yes there was an incident in Boston yesterday involving 2 explosions.”  

It was at that point that I asked the children how many of them heard about the ‘bombs’ and how they exactly learned of this news. I was shocked to see that most children raised their hands to say they in fact DID heard of the ‘bombs.’  Some heard of this from parents and others watched the news.

I took a deep breath and told the kids that I didn’t think it was something we should discuss at school because we don’t have all of the facts. If they had questions, they should talk to their parents.

I personally don’t watch the news because I find it very negative and depressing.

In that moment I wondered, ‘Are we giving our children too much information?

About 30 minutes later my kids were off to specials and I had some time to talk with a colleague and a parent in the building. I asked the parent if their child knew of the event in Boston and they said yes. They discussed it with their child because they didn’t know what they would hear at school.

Ahhhh, yes, now that makes more sense. At first I wondered why parents would allow their children to know of this event, but this made sense. Most parents were talking to their children about it because they would rather they heard about it from them instead of children, but I still had a concern…

In December our nation was shaken with the horrific event in Newtown, CT and children were given information at that point as well. Today when my children were talking of this I saw two reactions; 1) worry-fear-anxiety, 2) disconnect. Yep, that’s what I said…disconnect.  I wondered in that instance if we as adults knew the long term impact of ‘giving too much information’ to young impressionable children.

You see, I believe we live in a society where we are disconnected from one another more than we are connected and that is dangerous…that is why we have events like Newtown, CT listed in our history books…because someone was disconnected.

I started to feel that maybe giving our children too much information and exposing them to the news was somehow desensitizing them. It’s desensitizing us to some degree because we hear so much of it, why wouldn’t it do the same for our children who really have little understanding about life and death at this early and tender age?

I’m certainly not judging anyone for their decisions with their children, but I’m wondering if giving them too much information and exposing them to the very negative news that flashes across our screens (phones, computers, TV’s etc) daily is really the best option for our children.

Is it possible to just let children be children and IF they come to us with questions regarding a tragedy, THEN we answer their questions–while still protecting their innocence–as best as we can?

I believe that young children are on a need to know basis and that they do not need to know about senseless violence in our world. I strongly believe that exposing our children to this kind of event, even though we mean well, can cause more issues in the future such as anxiety, or worse, desensitization.

I didn’t tell my son about this event and he didn’t come home and ask me about it either. If he had, I would have told him that sometimes awful things happen and it’s terrible to see this happen or experience this but we should notice all of the love that rises to the top of the situation.

We should take the time to see how everyone pulled together and how everyday people turned into heroes at a very sad time.

I’m curious to hear what YOU think…Too much information

Lots of Love & Tons of Light,

Vicki

Choose Love

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This morning, while watching my 7 year old voraciously tear through his Christmas gifts I couldn’t help but think of the victims of Sandy Hook.  I saw flashes of each of the innocent victims; especially the children, who were taken from this life all too soon in my head.  My heart was swollen with pain and sorrow while I watched my little guy in all of his joy on Christmas morning.

We have all been so affected by this tragedy for several different reasons; some of us are affected because we are parents of young children, others are teachers who cannot seem to shake the visions and sense of what happened on Friday, December 14th in a small, quaint community.  And most (if not all) of us have been jolted with utter disbelief at how such a terrible thing could happen.

I’m affected by all of the above, and so much more… 

I was sitting in my principal’s office on Friday, December 14th when CNN announced the tragedy.  I couldn’t believe what I was viewing on the television.  I, who never watches the news, who was waiting for my principal to review my post observation, was sitting in what felt like a surreal moment.  I was stunned and totally heart-broken by the news that was flashing across the screen.

I tried to stay away from the news because I am truly affected by it, but I couldn’t.   On Saturday, I read that all of the children who were killed were in 1st grade.  I was completely devastated because not only do I teach 1st grade, but I also have a 1st grader of my own.  As tears streamed down my face I knew in my heart that I had to do something.  I sat quietly asking my higher power for guidance and then I remembered Chakra Bear.

Chakra Bear is a small stuffed animal who sits in my classroom and helps my children to feel their feelings and voice their truth.  I bought this little healing bear several years ago in a small book store.  The bear came with a coloring book that told a story of a little girl who was sad and when she held her Chakra Bear she ultimately felt better because of its ‘good energy.’

When one of my kids feels sad, disappointed, or nervous (has a dim light) they go to the shelf to get the bear and hold it at their desk.  This alerts me that they are hurting and I go to them as soon as possible.  I ask them if they would like to talk about it or not.  At that point, they share an ‘I Statement’ with me or choose to just hold the bear.  Either way, their feelings are being acknowledged so that they are not holding it in and burying it.  Oftentimes, my students will get the bear for other students who look sad and this is truly amazing because I am witnessing compassion in action.

When Chakra Bear came to mind as the tears poured from my eyes, I knew that this bear belonged in Sandy Hook!

I immediately Googled the creator and started the ball in motion so that I could get a healing bear out to each of the families who lost a child on Friday, December 14th.  I was astounded that once the Chakra Bear Project went up on my Facebook page people responded quickly with love.  Within hours we had reached the goal of donating 20 bears to the families and people were asking to send a bear to every child in the school.

I loved the idea, so I researched further and continued the campaign.  With the help of my email list, Facebook and my school community we were able to put together a special care package for each of the 20 families, donate a Chakra Bear for every K-1 student and send another healing animal (Tai Chi Tiger) for grades 2-4.

On Sunday, December 23rd I drove out to Sandy Hook with a few friends to deliver the healing stuffed animals.  We drove for about 2.5 hours to a quaint little town in Connecticut that reminded all of us on this journey of the small town we teach in.  We dropped off our gifts, attended a service at a local church and then went into town to ‘pay our respects’ at the memorials.

The energy in town was somber.  It felt just like the energy in NYC on 9-11-11; calm, quiet, and loving.  There were bears, candles, pictures and notes of love and support from all over the world.  It was hard not to be overwhelmed by the outreach and love.  We walked through the town and all you could hear was the rushing water from a nearby creek.  I had chills from my head to my toes as we turned to go back up the hill to the church and saw the police cars blocking the road to the elementary school.

On the drive home we were all quiet.  Perhaps we were processing our feelings.  You would think that I would feel good because I answered the call within to do something, even though it was small, it was something and there was loving intent behind the project.  Yet, in the past few days I have felt as if I have been in a daze.

I now realize why…

When I look at pictures of the victims, I see life and light dancing in their eyes.  When I look at the perpetrator’s picture, all I see is total disconnection.  At one point in his life, he too was an innocent child.  He was a child who had light in his eyes and life abounding.  I find myself wondering how he could get to such a point in his life that he could be so totally disconnected from Spirit.  Then, I look around in life and realize that I unfortunately see this every day, and you do as well.

Working in a school, I often see children who lose that light very early.  It’s the saddest sight my eyes have ever seen…a child who loses their spark.  There are several reasons for this; abuse, neglect, emotional trauma, lack of love, etc.  It saddens me that we can allow the light to dim in any child.

My intent with Chakra Bear in my classroom is to give my students an opportunity to feel their feelings, speak their truth and connect with one another.  I never realized just how important this truly is until this very moment.

It takes a village to raise a child, every child, even that child who you turn and judge because of their behavior.  All children need our love and support.  All children are trying hard to communicate with us in some way, shape or form.

I’ve heard several people say, “There’s really nothing we can do.”  I beg to differ.  There is something we can all do.

We can teach our children that we are all connected.

We can teach them that we are all one.

We can BE the change we want to see by simply being present in the moment and acknowledging their feelings, their voice and their very existence.

Today and every day focus on being present in the moment so that you can not only shine your own light that is deep within your heart, but more importantly…

Ignite the light of the children who surround you. 
 
If we don’t want to see tragedies like this again, then we all need to take responsibility to teach our children to connect instead of disconnecting.

When we are disconnected, there is fear. When we are connected, there is LOVE.  Choose love.

What Exactly Are We Teaching?

It’s the first full week of school in this part of New York.  Normally, this is a time of year where kids are excited to meet their new teacher, and their teachers are excited to start a new year and get to know their new students.  This year is a bit different…

As America looks to better their education system and rid the system of ‘bad teachers,’ we are seeing a system that is now based in fear.  Fear that our teachers are not teaching effectively.  Fear that our students are not getting enough out of their education.  Fear that there’s just not enough time in a day to teach what needs to be taught. Fear, that we, as teachers, are not enough.  Fear, fear, fear.

With all of this fear, we are now being driven to test our students ad nauseum.  I teach 1st grade.  Some kids are still 5 years old when they walk through the door.  Others will soon turn seven.  They are still babies in many ways, yet we are expecting them to sit and be tested for hours at a time before they have even had the chance to get to know their new teacher and the new routine.

This week, I watched as my children were forced to take several tests so that we could ‘show growth‘ by the end of the year (and the tests continue through this month).  It’s not the baseline test that upsets me.  I believe that we do, in fact, need some sort of baseline to see where our kids are at the start of the year and then again at the end of the year.  We wouldn’t be responsible educators if we weren’t measuring their growth and monitoring our instruction as we went through our year.  Any caring teacher knows that, and likely has devised their own tests or growth measures to be sure the children are in fact growing and learning.  What truly bothers me is not only how we are testing our children, but more importantly, how much we are testing our children.

The tests that we are administering to our students need to be ‘rigorous’, according to our system.  This week, I saw that rigorous apparently means, ‘so difficult that its hard for any student, even the brightest, to feel successful at the end of the test.’

This week, I taught my students to breathe deeply.  I empowered them with positive affirmations, and told them that these tests were only to tell me what to teach them through the year. Yet I still saw tears.  I still watched their breathing increase to a shallow, scared pant.  I still saw their spirits sink.  All of this because they look to us for guidance and they want to do well.  It breaks my heart that we have come to a point in education where we must begin our school year like this.

I believe that in order to truly teach effectively, we must educate the whole child.  I also believe, that in order to do that, we must touch their hearts before we teach their minds.

By welcoming our children to a new school year with test after test, we are simply allowing fear to drive our educational system.  Worse, we are giving our children the message right from the start that they are not enough.  What a terrible message to send to any person, much less a child.

I work hard to teach children to believe in themselves and speak their truth every day of my life.  This movement in education, although it started with good intent, is harshly off course.

If we truly want change in education, then we need to start educating from a place of love instead of fear.  The only way to do this is to utilize tests that show what a child ‘knows‘ at the start of the year (based upon prior learning), and what the child has learned by the end of the year.  That would certainly show growth, and it wouldn’t bruise their fragile view of themselves in the process by testing them on skills that they are expected to know by the end of the year.

I agree that we need change in education, but is this really the best change for our children? With all of the issues we face in society based around fear, such as; violence, depression, anxiety and the break down of the family, shouldn’t we be building our children up, instead of breaking them down?

I vote for letting kids be kids.  Give us, the teachers, the chance to welcome our students.  Give us the opportunity to embrace them and touch their hearts before we teach their minds.  If we continue on this path, no child will ever like school, nor will they truly be learning.  When we come from a place of fear, there is no love, and where there is no love, there is no trust.  Children need to feel loved, accepted and safe in order to thrive.  I don’t want my students or my son to simply learn in order to plot data.  I want my children to thrive.  How about you?

The Reflection I See

This past week was truly an amazing week…  I had the distinct privilege of empowering 35 young ladies (ages 7-9), presented a Live Online Hay House Event on the 7 Essentials to Creating Strong Foundations for Children & Adults, and had the opportunity to look in the mirror, at myself, in a very different way!

Every year, I run a few camps in the summer with my good friend and colleague, Stephanie Liberty, to empower children to believe in themselves, speak their truth and be their absolute best.  We started our camps about 4 years ago because we were both teaching 2nd grade and had a ‘difficult’ class.  Our classes had more boys than girls, several children that needed our extra attention to help with behaviors, and very shy, introverted girls.  Towards the end of the year, Steph and I looked at each other during a conversation about our classes and we got that bright light idea look on our faces.  We both felt that our  ‘quiet girls’ may have been cheated during the year and we wanted to find a way to give them a little extra attention, so GIRLS RULE Camp was born!  The first year, we kept it simple.  We had about 10 girls in the group and we ran the camp at Stephanie’s house.  We did crafts, yoga, meditation, danced till we dropped, and produced our own skit/performance for the parents.  Our intent was simply to give the girls a little extra attention and let them know that they in fact, were very important to us.  What came out of that week was oh so much more…

Stephanie is one of those amazing people who always smiles and says in any crisis situation, “Its okay, we can work this out.”  She’s got a light inside that glows even when she sleeps!  Steph loves crafts and she can choreograph a group of girls to perform like they’ve danced for years like nobody’s business!  I, on the other hand, am a very non-conventional teacher, who believes that it’s critically important to teach kids 7 Essentials to build a strong foundation in life (Sign up for my email list to receive the 7 Essentials in a bookmark).  We both LOVE kids and are feisty when it comes to doing what’s right for them, so when you put us together…FIREWORKS!

There’s nothing more powerful, than watching a child learn to love themselves, speak their truth and believe in their overall power!

Each year, a beautiful theme organically arises as we begin the camp.  This year, it became apparent very early on, that our theme for this year was, I Am Important!  On Monday, the girls and I had a discussion on feeling invisible.  One little girl said, “Mrs. Savini, you’re telling us to feel our feelings, but sometime’s adults tell us we don’t have those feelings!”  I probed her a bit more, and she revealed something that we should all stop and listen to for a moment…

Well, sometimes, I am sad or upset about something, and when I tell a grown up, they say, Oh, you’re alright, but I’m really not alright in that moment.”  The room fell silent as all of the girls shook their heads in agreement.  I suddenly flashed back to my own childhood when I heard those very same words.  Sad to say, I’ve said those words to kids a few times, but I can guarantee you, that I will think twice the next time those words come to mind.  I then gave the girls a tool for their ‘toolbox’ (an imaginary toolbox we create to help us through life)… The ‘That’s NOT True Tool.’  We decided that when someone else tries to tell us what we are feeling, instead of pushing that feeling down deeper, we would say that’s not true and then use an ‘I Statement’ to tell how we really feel.  For instance; let’s say that the little girl who brought this to our attention were to tell an adult that she was sad, and adult said, “Oh, you’re alright. Don’t be so dramatic.”  She would respond with, “That’s NOT true!  I feel sad when you tell me how I feel, because I know what I feel inside, and what I really need, is for you to NOT tell me how I feel.”  Whoa…EMPOWERING!  That was only one segment…believe me, you have no idea how much inspiration occurred in the last week! It gets better…

As I stated, the girls create a skit/dance performance for their parents every year that illustrates the lessons that we learned during the week.  Stephanie and I allow the girls to choose an empowering song each year (with a little guidance), and this year the song they chose was, “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful,” by One Direction.  As Steph was choreographing throughout the week in front of the mirrors (we were at a dance center), I kept having this vision.  All I could see was the girls, walking toward the mirror and talking to themselves as they recited the words, “Baby you light up my world like nobody else…you don’t know you’re beautiful.”  I couldn’t get it out of my head, so I asked Steph to put it in.  Sure enough, as I was videotaping the dance and the girls walked towards the mirror saying those words, the tears ran down my face (and several other moms too), because…

I wished someone had taught me to love myself when I was little.

Sure, I got a lot of praise.  I won tons of art contests, singing competitions, and even pageants.  I was noticed, for the things I did, but I never really learned to LOVE myself for just me, without seeking approval, praise, and acceptance from others.  I realized that on Tuesday evening after finishing the LIVE event with Hay House.  I thought I would feel totally exhilarated, but I didn’t.  Instead, I felt let down.  I felt sad.  I couldn’t hear the clapping noises in the audience.  I didn’t receive immediate feedback from others, and then suddenly I realized that I too needed to dance that dance that we taught our girls to dance in the week!

When you look at your reflection, what do you see?  Do you see your flaws?  Do you see what others tell you they see? OR, do you see YOU?  This week shifted my perspective in a way that I cannot explain…

Love yourself…no, I mean really LOVE yourself.  Not, love yourself when others tell you that it’s okay to do so.  I mean love yourself, even when you don’t feel like you’re at your best.  Just LOVE YOU, totally and unconditionally!

With Love,

Vicki