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

Posts tagged ‘self help’

Honoring the Light Within with Mindfulness

Wow, I just had an amazing conversation with my 8 year and I’m truly honored to be his mom.

This evening he came home from baseball practice and seemed a bit emotional. He said he got hit by a ball, but I knew in my heart it was more than that.

When we laid down to talk before bed I went with my gut (as I always tell parents to do because we know what’s going on with our kids more than we’d like to admit).

This is my sons first year in little league and it can be somewhat intimidating to try something new when others have been at it for a while. I turned to him and began to say those very words. As I talked he began to cry.

I stopped talking and opened my ears to listen to him intently. Sure, he may have been feeling a bit unnerved by this ‘new’ sport but it was more than that. What was bothering him most was that other kids were being mean to the ‘little kid’ on the team…

He started off by telling me that some kids were telling him what he was doing wrong and it hurt his feelings. It was then that I reminded him that if we are not part of the solution, we are part of the problem. He asked, “How am I part of the problem mom. They were putting me down?” I answered, “Yes, hunnie, that’s true, but you allowed it to affect you. You are part of the solution when you stand up for yourself and help others to stop and think about their own actions. You might have done that by saying, ‘thanks for the tip but I’m going to listen to the coach,’ ‘last I checked you weren’t a coach,’ or ‘wow, when did the Yankees draft you?” He liked that last one.

I thought we were through the woods but then he got really upset and began to sob uncontrollably. I reached out to him and asked what was wrong. He sadly replied, “Mommy, I was mean too. Some of the kids were making fun of the ‘little kid’ on the team and I agreed with them that he was small. I didn’t like the way it felt inside but I wanted them to like me. Mom, I was part of the problem!

I smiled a bit and wiped his cheeks and said, “Yes hunnie you were part of the problem, but right now you are turning it around to become part of the solution.”

Many children (and adults-who are we kidding) never take the time to be mindful–present in the moment–and think about their thoughts, actions and feelings and my 8 year old was doing that on his own!

We then read my children’s book for the upteen-millionth time, The Light Inside of Me and hugged tightly at the end.

be the light - person

We all have a light deep within us that shines brightly when we come from a place of love and are living our truth and dims when we allow fear to take the helm. In short, when we feel good, we shine and when we feel bad, we are dim or we dim the lights of others.

The next time you see a dim light, be present in the moment. Be totally mindful of what you are thinking and feeling and then instead of reacting, respond with love.

I am so proud of my son this evening (and every other minute of his existence). Tonight and every night I feel honored to be his mom.

Lots of Love & Tons of Light,

Vicki

You ARE Important

Don’t you just love hearing the words, “You are important?” Take a moment to say them out loud…

I AM Important

It’s like the sweet taste of nectar for a bee…it’s heaven for a human being here on Earth…

I am important is by far, the most empowering phrase a child can hear, know, feel and believe.

This week (and many weeks this summer), I am running a camp to build self-esteem in young children with my partner, Stephanie Liberty.  We strive to teach kids to believe in themselves, speak their truth, and understand that we are all connected.  Each year, we learn something new by running these camps and we hear that kids and parents love our camps too! (We LOVE that)

Every year, a theme seems to naturally arise… The running theme this week is,

You are important.”  

A few days ago, we were talking with the girls about feelings and the importance of feeling your feelings, one child said, “Sometimes, adults tell us we don’t feel what we feel though.”  Ouch!  Just hearing those words made me cringe.  When was the last time your child, or a child you care for said, “I’m scared or I feel sad…” and you responded with, “Oh, you’re alright.

The truth is, we often do unintentionally ignore their pleas to share their feelings.  Especially, if we are busy in that moment when they are desperately trying to tell us their very important story…

 How many times have we told our children, “Just a minute hun, I just need to finish this up,” and then before you know it, an hour has passed.  How often, as teachers, have we had children come up to us in the morning or after lunch (or any random time of day) and start to share a story they just can’t keep in?  Several, for me.  If I think back far enough, I can remember this happening to me as a kid too!  It’s hard to remember the actual incidence or what I was talking about at those moments, but I can remember the pain of feeling invisible or unimportant like it’s happening right now in this moment, and I bet you can too.

Now, I know we certainly cannot always stop everything that we are doing and listen to EVERY story that our kids have to share, but maybe we could inventory how often we are stopping and looking right at them and totally focusing on them while they share what is important to them?

Likely, not enough.  I am guilty of this myself.  However, running this camp this week has truly opened my eyes.  Maybe, we can make a little pledge to each other, that we will…

Never again tell a child that their feelings are not real.  

Never again will we say, “Oh you’re fine.”  Instead, we will take a moment to ask them about their feelings and help them to deal with those feelings in a healthy way so they know just how important they are.

Today, while teaching the girls how to use an “I Statement” to discuss their feelings, it became apparent to me that when children feel unheard, they not only feel invisible, but they feel totally unimportant, and that makes me sad to even write.

This has made me take a step back and analyze my interactions with my students, my son, and come to think of it, every one I come in contact with!

No-one likes to feel invisible.  No-one deserves to be over looked.  We don’t necessarily set out to do this, but when we get caught up in ‘doing‘ too much, we lose sight of who we ‘are‘ (Hint: we are Human Beings, not human doings).

Take a moment now to close your eyes and imagine how good it feels when you feel seen and heard.  How amazing it is to feel important.  Then, when you open your eyes, open your eyes to a new perspective and make it your goal to make every person you come in contact with, just for today, feel important, especially your kids!

Ya never know…you just might like it so much that you keep this practice up daily.

By the way, thanks for reading this…

You ARE important to me!

Lots of Love,

Vicki

Check out my upcoming classes on the 7 Essentials for Creating Strong Foundations in Children & Adults

Creating Calm to Prevent a Storm

I try hard not to watch too much TV, because let’s face it, we can get drawn in easily and end up spending countless hours on the couch.  However, last night, I felt like I just needed a break from reality.

As I was scrolling through the trusty ‘ol guide, I discovered that the 2004 movie titled, “The Day After Tomorrow,” starring Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Emmy Rossum was airing.  I vaguely remembered the movie, but I recalled liking the movie, so I tuned in.

If you’ve never seen this movie, I’ll give you the gist of it… ‘A climatologist tries to figure out a way to save the world from abrupt global warming. He must get to his young son in New York, which is being taken over by a new ice age’ (Yep…intense, but thought provoking).

The movie was on until 12 pm and there was no way mama was making it ’til 12, so I DVR’d it to watch in the morning before the rest of the clan woke up.

There I was at 6:30 am watching the remainder of this very intense movie, glued to the screen.  As I viewed the storm unfold on the screen, my inner storm was coming to a head.

The past few months have been extremely intense for me.  If you remember my last blog article about being mindful, I think you’ll understand where my head has been.  Lots of ‘stuff‘ going on, both good and bad (just like everyone else on this planet), and very little time spent being mindful, but

That’s all about to change! 

Perhaps that movie shifted something inside of me.  Maybe it was a way for me to see the storm that was brewing within myself and make a shift before it was too late.

I went about my day, running errands and dropping my son off for a play-date, and then I felt it…that awful piercing pain that I get in my neck when I am so stressed out that I can’t even think straight.  Shortly after, I felt a heaviness in my chest and breathing became a chore.  My mind began to race.  I knew I wasn’t having a heart attack and that there was no immediate danger, but my body wasn’t quite getting that and it was going into fight or flight mode!  So, what did I do?

I took a deep breath…nothing.  I took another deep breath…still nothing.  I took a third deep breath and then the flood came.  Tears rolled down my face like a down pour from the clouds on a hot summer’s day.  I let it all out.  I randomly spewed my thoughts like a hurricane ripping through a remote town to my husband (who was actually very good this time and didn’t try to fix it in typical ‘male mode’, instead, he just listened while boarding up the windows! Thanks Hunnie)  When the tears stopped and the sniffles were gone (the downpour and outrageous wind), I wiped my eyes, took a deep breath and said to myself, “Girl, you’ve got to dump this stuff out of your FULL mind and get to a mindful place before your child comes home!”

And that’s exactly what I’m going to do.  Today, I am attending a workshop with John Welshons in Albany at 1 pm.  I didn’t intend on it, but when I went to my computer to see what I could do to straighten myself out (while my son was at his friends house enjoying life) and give myself some ‘me time,’ there sat the email in my inbox with an answer.

We take on a great deal of stress every day.  Some of our stresses may include; financial stress, relationship stress, career stress, time management stress, etc.  The list is different for everyone, but the result is quite the same.  While we are taking on all of that stress and not doing anything to relieve it, we are brewing a massive storm destined to destroy everything in its path.

Now, if you live in a remote area on the top of some mountain far away from civilization where there is you, and only you, and no one depends on you, then you are good to go, keep adding fuel to that fire, if you so choose.  However, if you are a human being who interacts with other human beings daily, especially children, then perhaps you may want to create calm in your life in order to prevent this storm.  These storms created by stress can be lethal.  They can destroy a person’s well being in a matter of moments and our children are the most vulnerable to these conditions.

I’m not saying that a meditation workshop for 3 hours is the thing for you.  Maybe it’s a round of golf or a day at the spa.  Perhaps, it’s a walk in nature for 15 minutes or closing your eyes for 5 minutes and focusing on your breath.  It doesn’t matter what you do to get yourself to focus on the present moment and leave the past in the past and the future to the future.  What matters is that you take the preventive measures necessary to avoid a storm.  We get so caught up in where we are going and where we have been that we miss the gift in front of us…the present moment.

Unfortunately, time doesn’t stop ticking.  One moment you’re holding your new born baby in your arms, and the next moment your handing them the keys to the car.  In order to stay in the moment, be mindful.

Don’t let it get to the point when you feel pain in your neck or heaviness in your chest.  The moment your mind starts to spin, take a deep breath and just listen to that breath.  Imagine what it looks like going into your body and leaving your body.  Feel what that breath feels like.  This is a sure way to get yourself back to the present moment when you are jumping ahead to the future or stuck in the past.  Mindfulness isn’t a religion or even a philosophy.  It’s simply,

Paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” 

Jon Kabat-Zinn

I am truly thankful that I watched that movie last night.  May the shift begin!

I hope that my tiny storm will help you to prevent storms of your own, so that together, we can be the best parents, the best teachers, the best models for our children, today…tomorrow…and always!

Much love and sunshine to you!

Vicki

To continue this journey with me, please like my Facebook page.

Also, a GREAT book, written by Congressman Tim Ryan titled, “A Mindful Nation,” just might be worth your time.

Teach Them Well

Several years ago I came across a beautiful poem that not only stuck in my mind, but is forever ingrained in my heart… I have recited this poem at several of my public speaking engagements, and I pass a copy out on decorated paper to the parents of the children I am blessed to teach each year.  Read this slowly and try to get pictures in your mind as you read line by line.  I promise, you won’t regret it.

Children Learn What They Live

By: Dorothy Law Nolte 

If a child lives with criticism,
he learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility,
he learns to fight.

If a child lives with fear,
he learns to be apprehensive.

If a child lives with pity,
he learns to feel sorry for himself.

If a child lives with ridicule,
he learns to be shy.

If a child lives with jealousy,
he learns what envy is.

If a child lives with shame,
he learns to feel guilty.

If a child lives with encouragement,
he learns to be confident.

If a child lives with tolerance,
he learns to be patient.

If a child lives with praise,
he learns to be appreciative.

If a child lives with acceptance,
he learns to love.

If a child lives with approval,
he learns to like himself.

If a child lives with recognition,
he learns that it is good to have a goal.

If a child lives with sharing,
he learns about generosity.

If a child lives with honesty and fairness,
he learns what truth and justice are.

If a child lives with security,
he learns to have faith in himself and in those about him.

If a child lives with friendliness,
he learns that the world is a nice place in which to live.

If you live with serenity,
your child will live with peace of mind.

With what is your child living?

Source: Canfield, J. & Wells, H. C. (1976). 100 ways to enhance self-concept in the classroom: A handbook for teachers and parents. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

We often complain about our current generation…  We make statements like, “These kids are unappreciative, ungrateful, and hostile.”  Yet, I wonder, what are we actually teaching them?

I have a six year old son, and just like every other parent that I know, I do my best to instill good values and give him all that I thought I didn’t have.  Sometimes, I wonder myself, if my own child is a bit unappreciative.  This evening, I saw the light…

My husband and I were watching the movie, “The Blind Side.”  We’ve seen it a million times, but it’s just such a beautiful message, it’s hard not to watch it one more time.  We normally don’t watch ‘our shows’ while my son is awake, but we felt it wasn’t a bad idea to talk to him about the lessons in this movie and allow him to watch the first 15 minutes.

My son became very interested in the movie and began to ask a lot of questions.  I answered him honestly, as I always do.  Upon hearing that some kids actually do grow up like ‘Michael’ (living in poor conditions, having little food, toys and parental love and support), my son started bawling his eyes out.  I turned, looked at him, and said, “Nico, hunnie, what’s wrong?”  He replied, “Mom, that’s so sad.  I am so lucky that I have a Mommy and Daddy who really, really love me.”  I was completely stunned and totally moved.  You would think, a kid in this generation (you know, the ‘unappreciative, ungrateful, hostile generation’), would immediately be concerned about not having toys at his fingertips.  Instead, he was appreciative.  

Tonight, my son taught me a very important lesson…

We cannot expect our children to just know something that took experience for us to learn.  We may not want to give them the same experience we endured, but we have to share our insights with them if we truly want them to know it.

You see, my son, had never really seen ‘the other side’ of life.  All my child has ever known, is the world he has grown in.  We cannot expect our children to be anything but what we teach them to be.  So to this I say…

Teach Your Children Well

In Love & Light,

Vicki

www.vickisavini.com

Children are to be Seen, Heard & Absolutely Listened to!

Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘Children should be seen and not heard?’  I remember hearing this as a young child from our extended family, and, of course, it never quite sat right with me.  I believe now, exactly what I believed then…Children have a very important voice.  Yet, now it’s a part of who I am and a commitment I make daily to help children find their voice, and speak their truth.

I pride myself on my ability to teach.  I have always thought that I was a really good teacher because I have a way of simplifying difficult lessons, but I must say, I’ve met a teacher who is even more amazing than me…

About three months ago, I was talking with a friend on the phone who was very disappointed because she had been trying for a second child for quite some time, and was still not pregnant.  I had her on speaker phone while I was talking, and my son was going about his business quietly.  My friend has a 2 year old son and as we were speaking on the phone, and she was crying over her disappointment, her 2 year old walked over to her and said, “Baby girl coming soon, Momma.”  She wimpered a bit more, and then asked him what he just said.  He repeated, with great vigor and confidence, “Baby girl coming soon!”  I was smiling on the other end of the phone while I listened to this because, I was reassuring her that this was all going to work out, and her son just confirmed that.  She turned back to our conversation and said, “Why would he say that, Vick?

Before I could even get a breath and bring the words to my lips, my son spoke up, “Mom, tell her to believe him!  Growned ups don’t get it.  Babies know more than they do because they remember things from ‘up there,‘  why won’t she just listen to him?”  In awe, and with an even bigger smile on my face, I asked my friend if she heard my sons guru advice.  She chuckled and said, “Yes, but what does this all mean?” My son then said, “Mom, gimme the phone.”  He greeted her very gently and then said, “Ok, listen.  Kids haven’t been here for too long, ya know, on Earth, so it’s easy for us to still know stuff like we did in Heaven.  Your son is telling you that a baby girl is coming soon because she IS coming soon.  You have to believe him.  You just have to believe him!”  He then handed me the phone and said, “Ok mom, your turn!”  I ended the conversation and asked my son where that was all coming from.  His response, “Well mom, kids know more than growned ups because they were in the other world not so long ago, especially babies.”  I looked at him and said, “Hunnie, that’s amazing that you still remember all of this.”   He looked deep into my eyes and replied, “That’s why I picked you Mom.  I picked you because you’re beautiful (he got brownie points for that one), loving, and your not like most growned ups.  You get it!”

Considering the fact that I did an interview with the Miracle Cafe Radio Show last night, http://www.miraclecaferadio.com/radio-show-archive and was labeled the ‘Modern Day Mary Poppins,’ I’m thinking my son just might be on to something! 

We live in a world where everyone is doing their own thing.  If you look around on any given day, you will inevitably see children with their eyes on an iPod Touch, iPad, or some sort of electronic gadget.  At first glance, you might notice that the children are totally engaged in their own little world.  When you look again, you might notice that, we, their parents and guardians, are also immersed in this world.  We may be checking our email from our Smart Phone, texting, or even playing games right along side the child that sits next to us.  When I think of our world today and how we interact with one another, it sometimes saddens me because our youth has a difficult time communicating with one another without technology as a barrier.  Worse, they have a very difficult time communicating with the adults around them.  After listening to my son, it’s easy to see how children start shutting down with their communication after awhile.  If you aren’t really listening to them, especially when they have a SUPER important message, then they begin to doubt those messages themselves and shut them down.

Let’s change all of this and be ‘growned ups who get it.’  That ol’ saying, ‘Children should be seen and not heard,’ is totally off base.  Quite to the contrary…

Children should be seen, heard, and totally listened to!

On a side note…My girlfriend called me a few weeks ago with some news…Yep, you guessed it, she’s pregnant!  Hmmmmm, I think it’s safe to place a bet that it’s a girl!

Check out my NEW and improved website at www.vickisavini.com

Where’s the Respect?

Hmmmm, so lately, I’ve been hearing a great deal about how frustrated parents, teachers, and society is, in general, about the lack of respect that children show nowadays.  In truth, I have even muttered these words in the past few weeks myself…

It does appear as though many of today’s children feel a bit entitled and don’t necessarily find it important to listen to the adults who are trying to help them.  I’ve been told throughout my life that I have a gift, and that gift is, that I can see the world through the eyes of children.  Well, with that being said, I figured this might just be important enough to dive into…

I’ve heard tons of people say this line of late, “When I was a kid…” 

Now, go ahead and fill in the blanks (I’d be very interested to hear your response in the comment section).

Here’s some of what I heard…

“When I was a kid, I never would have talked to teachers the way these kids talk to their teachers.  My parents would have had my head!”

“When I was a kid, if I talked back to my mom like that, she would have slapped my face!”

“When I was a kid, I didn’t have all of the things my kids have.  I didn’t have everything I wanted.  I think these kids are just plain spoiled!”

Hmmmm, and now my wheels begin to turn.  When I was a kid, I would never have talked back to my parents, or any adults for that matter.  I would never ignore my teacher when they were speaking to me, or laugh when I was being reprimanded for a choice in my behavior.  I wouldn’t have done it because I knew I would disappoint my parents.  I wasn’t necessarily afraid of them spanking me, or slapping my face, but I didn’t want to disappoint them.  As I got older, it wasn’t my parents who I didn’t want to disappoint, it was God.  Now that I realize that God is within me, I make good choices because they feel right…they feel aligned with Source…they feel good inside.

I grew up in a different world, and it’s true that a lot has changed.  Unfortunately, that includes manners and respect in general.  Honestly, as frustrating as this lack of respect is, we can’t really get angry with our kids if we are not taking the time to teach them, to connect with them, and to guide them.

As difficult as it is to look at our current world and realize that manners are not necessarily the norm, and respect, is not the guiding principle of behavior, we must realize that we are the only ones who can truly make a difference.

Let’s face it, we grew up with parents who got the belt if they were not well behaved.  When our parents became parents,  they in turn, would often use corporal punishment, or at least threaten it.  My generation didn’t want to raise their children in fear.  Instead, they wanted to give their children a voice and all that they never had.  We’ve certainly done a terrific job with that, but we unfortunately forgot one important element…we forgot to teach them to care.

As a teacher of young children, and a mother of a lively and respectful six year old, I feel that my most important job is to teach my kids two concrete pillars in order to build a strong foundation for their lives.

The first is independence, and the second is interdependence.   Children must first learn to depend on themselves and go within, to answer questions in life.  My children’s book, “The Light Inside of Me,” helps guide children to make choices based on how it feels when they make a choice.  Once children start to understand that they can make good decisions that feel right on their own, then we need to teach them to care.  The only way to do this, is to teach interdependence…yeah, that’s right, we are all one…and what we do to others, we ultimately do to ourselves…the good ol’ Golden Rule!

Perhaps we’ve gone a bit too far, and we’ve done way too much for our children, not giving them the chance to really build a strong independence and belief in themselves.  Maybe we’ve gotten to a ‘what’s in it for me‘ type of society, but it’s certainly not too late to make changes that would help our children and our society.

So…do you want the children in your life to show respect while still having a voice?

If so, here’s a 3 step formula to follow:

1) Teach them to care

2) Connect them to something bigger than themselves.  Show them that ultimately, we are all ONE.

3) Guide them to make good choices by how those choices feel in their hearts. (check out my children’s book at www.thelightinsideofme.com or www.vickisavini.com

Lots of Love,

Vicki

If you enjoyed this blog, you may also enjoy www.theinfinityfoundation.wordpress.com