Thanks to Mindful Schools for sharing these two related Great Ideas: two practical ways to grow love for self and others in ministries with young people.
We’re hearing the buzz phrases everywhere: ‘trauma-informed’; ‘teen mental health’; ‘uninvolved elders’; ‘disillusioned members’; ‘generational gaps’. What they all have in common are a sense of not belonging, of not feeling loved by precisely those where love is meant to be overflowing and for everyone.
Mindful Schools has years of research to back their simple approaches to ensuring that young people and their teachers feel empowered, heard, and belonging.
‘Just Like Me’: A Self-Compassion Practice is an opportunity to read one educator’s personal journey and includes a self-compassion practice. Leaders might enjoy the practice themselves, share it with parents, mentors, and other caring adults, and introduce it to the whole congregation in worship or other gatherings. The more adults who are grounded and balanced in their own emotional and spiritual well-being, the better fit for caring for children (and others) who are feeling very unmoored.
Try Just Like Me here.
Find additional support for a spiritually- and emotionally well-rounded adult network in our Spiritual Practices lib guide.
The second Mindful Schools suggestion is a ‘Love Letter Activity’ to empower students. It is actually comprised of 8 activities ‘that are great for scaffolding self-compassion in your classroom’. Help young people (and yourself and other adults) differentiate between compassion and self-compassion – and as you learn, develop more of both.
Try #7: ‘Love Letter’ (and all 8 activities) here.
Greater self-compassion can become greater compassion for others. This is the essence of gracious and loving relationships and cannot be over-emphasized, practiced, or empowered in communities intent upon becoming Beloved Community. Let compassion for all lead to justice and love for all.