By Diane Miller
I have supported Teachers Who Pray as a parent advocate for over a decade, deeply believing in the life-changing goodness that teachers can bring into a child’s life. As a lifelong Christian, I also believe in the power of uniting in prayer to engage our God and promote community unity for the common good of all humans.
I’m now in my legacy life season and I have also incorporated Christian contemplative faith stream concepts into my daily life rhythms. So, I would like to share a few of these to help you through this season of closures and online class connections:
1. Start a meditation time.
Even in your online class time, pause and take three really deep breaths with your students. Breathe deep into your belly and release the breath just as deeply. Then, pause at the end of each release. Doing this settles your nervous system and it can be quite helpful for both adults and children who are struggling with the unknown.
To make this even more fun for children, you can have them release their breath as a lion roar. It is a technique that is used within yoga practices and it can promote some fun within the exercise itself… children always like fun!
2. Incorporate humming or singing.
Build this into your daily rhythm or classroom curriculum whenever possible. Both of these simple actions stimulate the vagus nerve, which runs from the brain through the face and thorax to the abdomen. It is sometimes referred to as the soul nerve within the body. It’s a part of our nervous system that can help to soothe us, especially in times of uncertainty. Think of how your favorite song, a gospel tune or hymn can bring soothing comfort to you in a time of trial!
3. Integrate the thankfulness.
This should be a personal life practice as well as something you embed into the student curriculum. We can become so bent on our Western agendas, that we forget to be thankful and voice our words in that. Say out loud or write down one to three words that symbolize something that you are most thankful for. Naming or writing these things helps to reinforce God’s goodness and gifts to us within our brain. And, even as trying as life can be in this season, we all have things to be thankful for.
Listening to your children in this type of exercise can also be so encouraging. Children tend to be way more thankful for the simple things in life–that is, before they begin adhering to many dominant culture systems for survival! May their simple joys and thankfulness inspire you!
I so hope you can embrace and enjoy these simple contemplative tips for deeper joy and peace in this season of the Covid-19 pandemic. I’ll be back to you later with a few more contemplative ponderings, beloved teachers!
Diane has served on the Teachers Who Pray board of directors for about eight years. She is a retired sales/design professional who has resided in Chicago for most of her adult life. In her legacy season, she is committed to furthering justice and equity causes to breakdown systemic injustice and reframe the narrative around what an American Dream Prosperity lifestyle looks like for the common good of all humans.
Teachers Who Pray welcomes blog submissions from educators and school staff of faith who want to encourage the body of Christ during the COVID19 pandemic. Submit your 400-600 word blog post by emailing it (or sharing it with editing permissions via Google docs) to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are selecting entries on a rolling basis and will edit the piece in collaboration with you before publication.