Wong Li-Lin has just written a heartwarming letter to her son, and we can't help but be impressed by some life lessons it offers! Read...
Recently, we covered the cute behavioural contract Singapore actress Wong Li-Lin had made for her son, Jonas. And now, she's back at it again, this time with a heartwarming letter to her son, so full of life lessons, we just had to share it here!
She writes on Instagram, "My dear sweet son. Will share this letter to him later today when he is back from school."
From what we can make out, little Jonas wasn't quite in his element that morning, and ended up being mean to mummy, not wanting to "speak to, or kiss mum".
Here is how mummy dearest responded:
Us parents could learn a thing or two about how Li-Lin has simplified the concept of mindfulness here, making it super easy for even kids to understand, "Our body has 6 robbers- eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind. These 6 robbers always want more."
She goes on to explain that if your true self is weak, meaning you are unable to control your emotions, you are likely to be confused and end up giving in to the whims and fancies of these 'robbers'.
She gives one gem of an advice, "When your self is strong, it is very clear, it does not have to move no matter what the robbers do. When they go right, you stay in the centre. When they go left, you stay in the centre. When they go madly round and round, you stay in the centre. You might even say, hey robbers maybe this is a better way to go. Your Self is clear enough to manage the robbers."
A lot has been heard of late, about mindful parenting and teaching children the art of mindfulness. In fact it has been reported in The Straits Times today, that at least 10 schools in Singapore have introduced the concept of mindful breathing.
Teaching mindfulness to children
Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present, to be aware of where we are, and what we’re doing, and not being overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. It is basically the ability to control the monkey mind, which tends to jump from one emotion to another. Studies have shown that teaching children mindfulness improves their mental health and well-being.
It also improves their attention span, helps them focus, and reduces stress. Such children are able to analyse and pause, before responding or reacting to situations, and are able to show compassion, and empathise with others.
Is it possible to start children on mindfulness from young? Yes! As Wong Li-Lin says, "you can control the robbers instead of following them." Here are some simple ways:
- Listening to the bell technique: A simple way of practising mindfulness is getting the kids to focus on their listening. Ring a bell and ask the kids to listen closely to the vibration of the ringing sound. They should remain silent and raise their hands when they can no longer hear the sound of the bell.
- Identifying emotions: Encourage your child to talk about her feelings- is she happy, sad, angry? Discuss what she can do to feel better. The child should realise that it is normal to feel those emotions, but that she is the boss. She can control her monkey mind.
- Brain break: This activity is a stress buster, especially when the child is overloaded with homework or is tense due to exams. Children are encouraged to take deep breaths and calm themselves for three to five minutes to quiet their minds, be present, and just focus. Feel the stress melt away. It works for parents too!
- Focussing on breaths: Focussing on your breathing is a great way to learn mindfulness. Get your child to count how many breaths he takes in a minute. This is especially relaxing when done before bedtime. You can also place your child's stuffed toy on his tummy. Ask him to breathe in silence for one minute, and to feel and notice how the toy moves up and down. And to imagine that all the sadness and negative emotions are being released, and floating away.
- Mindful walking: Take long quiet walks with the kids. Spare some time to listen to the various sounds - birds, insects, aeroplanes? What do the sounds remind them of? Do they bring back happy memories?
- Mindful eating: It means being aware when we are eating and focusing on each and every morsel, on chewing, on tasting, without being distracted by TV or any other conversation.
- Focus on senses: Ask the child to close his eyes and give him something fragrant. Let him have a deep breath. Likewise give him objects of different texture and ask him to describe them with eyes closed. Shake up a jar of glitter and then just watch all the glitter fall to the bottom. These activities focus on specific senses, giving the child a unique sensory experience.
- Practise gratitude, love and respect: Ultimately, teaching children to be grateful for what they have is also a fundamental aspect of mindfulness, as is showing compassion, love and respect.
Wong Li-Lin sums it up wonderfully when she says, "We can take a small step with hellos and goodbyes. Hellos are a way of acknowledging another person. This is an important human interaction to recognise someone."
"Goodbyes are a way of sealing off friendship and love until the next moment you meet. It allows you to move on to your next task full of the love that fills life...So hello Jonas. I love you. And I kiss your day better."
(Source: The Straits Times)
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