Education is probably the most honorable, noble, and spiritually draining profession one could choose. It also seems to be a calling many have answered from a power higher than themselves. The responsibilities that are placed on educators - following curriculum maps, meeting with PLCs (professional learning communities/committees), planning lessons, and uplifting and motivating children - leave very little room to "see" the people who are actually in front of them. However, if schools are going to be successful in preparing children who are civil-minded and can view their neighbors as an important part of society, educators must be given mental space to recognize the spiritual essence of children.
For the past three to four decades, we have been faced with unrest in schools and in our communities brought on by children and young adults who seemed to have forgotten their spiritual essence. As a result of their unknowingness, families have been injured on both sides of coin - victims' families who have lost loved ones and families of offenders who are left with unfulfilled hopes and dreams - and grief that shall never go away.
When children grace classrooms, they do not come as blank slates. They come to as a triune that constitutes the whole child - mind (shaped by their caregivers, including teachers), body (shaped by their environments, including schools), and spirit (identity with the Divine influenced by the mind and body and their own remembrance of their divinity). The three equate to the mental health of children. One way parents and education can help children on their way to excellent mental health is attending to their EQ (Emotional Intelligence) as much as they attend to the IQ (Intelligence Quotient).
Listed below are 9 things to remember about the triunes that grace classrooms:
1- Children carry in them an essence of the Divine that is their spiritual being.
2- When the "Potter" sculptured each of us, we were the epitome of perfection at the time of creation in the eyes of the sculptor.
3- No one's spirit needs to broken down then rebuilt to fulfill the wants and desires of another.
4- Children whose spiritual being is in jeopardy sends subtle signs for help that should be conveyed to those in power to offer assistance.
5- Children not matching our ideals does not mean something is "wrong" with them. Sometimes it is we who has something "wrong".
6- Acceptance of who people are minimizes the frustration and agony that leads to feelings of being guarded and defensive.
7- Acceptance of another in no way threatens the essence of who we are.
8- The Creator provided an abundance to fulfill the needs of everyone with a plan for replenishment when the supplies have been depleted.
9- When we look deep enough, we can see a bit of ourselves reflected in our students because the Creator lives in us all.
Fear not when we must see our unpleasant selves in another. It is the Creator's way of reminding us that no one has not been forgotten. Children reflecting our unpleasantness is an opportunity for us to heal and move a little closer to transcendence. As I reflect on this idea, I am reminded of a quote by Pema Chodron, "Nothing goes away until it teaches us what we need to know." Our students help to elevate us to become better teachers and better people overall because they are a reflection of something inside of us.
As we go forth each and every day to help students reach self-actualization, we owe it to ourselves to reach spiritual transcendence. Parenting and teaching are the two most intimate ways to achieve this goal because children are excellent at showing us who we really are. Namaste and God Bless!!!