One teenager’s vision to be the change we want to see in the world
There has been a big discussion on social media lately about Walk Up v. Walk Out. I think we need to do both.
As a teenager who has spent the last few years working with other kids to help them deal with stress, I was really affected by the events that occurred in Parkland. I was also really proud of everyone that stood up for the right of all children to be safe. No kid should be afraid to go to school, and no parent should be afraid to send their kids to school.
I marched with my parents and it was amazing; probably what it felt like for the people marching for what was right in the 60’s. I fully support and thank everyone who Walked Out and Marched, but I also think Walk Up is crucial and needs to be happening simultaneously. People on the far side of either side of the isle need to find a way to come together and meet in the middle to protect our generation and future generations. These are both good ideas, and one should not exclude or take away from the other.
If we are going to be our best selves and make this world a better place for the next generation, then being kind to everyone is really important — especially right now with everything going on in the world.
I have developed a program for kids to help them cope with emotions and trauma. The curriculum is all about health and wellness, both physical and mental, and will hopefully be in all schools and hospitals in the near future. The program includes utilizing yoga, meditation, mindfulness to re-learn how to communicate, how to be compassionate, empathetic and kind, in order to learn to give back and make a positive difference in the world.
Kids tend to be stuck in their phones, including me sometimes, so these things are very important to teach. I would go so far as to say that they should be mandatory, just like math. It’s a new world, and we need to adapt what we are teaching in schools.
For the younger kids, we use the Wuf Shanti dog character and a lot of fun games and music, so they learn the tools without being bored. If we can reach them when they are young, then it will become an automatic response to any stress that happens when they grow up — and anytime when they are sad, angry, or nervous about something. The goal is to give them tools to make themselves feel better and interact better with other kids.
Lots of celebrities and professional athletes practice some form of Yoga, meditation or mindfulness every day, to help them deal with stress, focus on their craft, help with endurance, and stay healthy and grounded. Instead of copying the celebrities that do bad things, like drugs or violence, kids need to learn about these other role models who are doing good things, and take a cue from them.
The Dalai Lama said that if we can teach all young kids the practice of meditation, then we can eliminate violence in the world in one generation.
I think if kids learn breathing techniques, mindfulness, and positive thinking, and if schools utilize curriculums that emphasize communication and kindness, then maybe it will be even faster than one generation.