Another new school year, another new slogan: This year we will all be hearing about “Social Emotional Learning [SEL]” and “Trauma Sensitive Schools”. Which is a huge step in the right direction. For both address relationships and heart-centered approaches at the core. This presents a major shift in contrast to the typical mantras we have heard through the years highighting, “Standards Based”, “Research Based”, “Evidence Based”, and “Common Core”. So from my perspective, SEL and ACES [Trauma Sensitive] bring a sense of balance to the educational playing field.
“Matter is Energy … Energy is Light … We are all Light Beings.” – Albert Einstein
However, when we cut to the chase, and delve deeper into the realm of learning, behavior, and human potential, Einstein has it right: What really matters is ENERGY.
Simply, when the human condition is guided by an internal force or spirit within, when you FEEL you have to follow the passion, purpose, or the “calling” within, the truth which unfolds often leads to the understanding: “This is exactly what I am here to do”. Whether it be a career, a job, artistic expression, a relationship, …. whatever is guided by the energy – spririt within, typically presents itself as an expression of “meant to be”. How often have you sensed something in the flow of life, intuitively, and you later pronounced, “I knew it would work out”?
“If you want to know the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” – Nikola Tesla
From the perspective of teaching and parenting, this same sense of energy, and the exchange between us, holds the same set of understanding and truth. As a Behavior Specialist within a medium sized school district, I have visited many classrooms and observed students in all types of settings. Certainly, there are a number of variables all in play within the context of “behavior” which need to be taken in account: Class Management, Seatting Arrangement, Lesson Design and related activities, Other Students … and the list goes on. However, one of the most profound variables at play is discovered within the context of relationship and the exchange of energy between students and teachers. We all transmit an energetic signal, often described as an internal intention, between ourselves and others. If the human condition is guided by fear, worry, and negative emotions, the energetic exchange takes on a similar frequency. And today’s children are extraordinary at reading other’s energy. This may be due to the level of stress, trauma, or sensitivity many of our children face each day and the ability to read others is part of a protective safety net system to assure that each is moving forward into safe waters. I see this everyday: Our most successful classrooms are often guided by adults who are projecting an energy safe, positive based, and heart-centered vibration emotionally. On the other hand, some of the most challenging classrooms, where students appear to be “acting out”, often the room is guided or influenced by adults who are scared, worried, frustrated, or exhausted. The students read this. And act accordingly.
Same goes for parenting. When we are at our best, the most resilient self, our children tend to respond accordingly. Sure, kids can be difficult and present a challenge; it’s part of the growing up / maturation process. Then again, our energetic field, whether it be grounded in fear or love and understanding, may present the platform for further escalation or lead toward de-escalation. Kids read us. So it’s critical that we take in account our own “state of emotions” before we intervene and engage with our children.
“Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance.” – Brian Tracy
There are numerous behavior programs, many are highly successful. And I recommend them to the teachers and parents I work with. However, the most powerful in my opinion, are those which honor the energy exchange process between us all. Here are a few to consider for your teaching or your parenting tool kit:
HEARTMATH.ORG: One of the leading research institutions world-wide, addressing personnel resilence, calm bodies-minds-spirits, and strategies leading to coherence and wellness. I am currently a trainer with Heartmath and offer these tools through workshops and training.
NURTURED HEART APPROACH: Here again, the foundation of this extraordinary program highlight the energetic exchange between children and adult. Specifically, the NHA program, developed by Howard Glasser, features specific strategies and steps toward increading greatness, success, and peace between parents, teachers, and our kids. Recently, I joined the NHA community as a trainer.
COLLABORATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING: Finally, this is a powerful set of tools and resources, founded upon the notion of “teaching skills to be successful”. Dr Ross Greene’s work, through the Lives In The Balance program, are well respected throughout schools and centers across the globe. Check it out:
Best to you all. For it’s all about intention; so of course, I wish you all well!