Keeping it simple – have a principle based pizza party with six teenagers and a wise seven year old.
I was working with a seven year old boy in school today at the request of his mother who has been worried about him because there has been a lot of upset at home during a difficult divorce. With little prompting he was happy to talk about what he enjoys and what interests him; how he deals with bullies and the way he can block punches!
He talked about wanting to see his dad and missing him. He explained that when he doesn’t feel okay it’s because of something he is thinking about and that the feelings he has sort of go back up to his head, which makes more thoughts come and this makes things worse.
He talked about how not forgiving someone meant you kept thinking about what they have done and that makes you unhappy, so it’s better to forgive them. He knows his brother and sister have different views of the divorce his parents are going through and although they and his mum are angry with their dad, he doesn’t have to be.
Later he joined in at home with a group of 5 thirteen year olds, including his sister, who had agreed to meet with me to take part in an exploration of what can be done to help pupils who are not enjoying school life and to also help me to figure out what sort of approach might be best in schools.
The older ones were enthusiastic, full of ideas and so ready to get involved. They were keen to discuss where they thought feelings come from and with one exception cited external causes. The seven year old was the exception. He described how his thoughts make him angry if he believes them but he knows he doesn’t have to believe them because they are just thoughts. When the others heard what he said they began to talk about how this might be true and they got quieter.
It was so fresh, such fun and a privilege to spend time this time with them. They have each had an experience of parents divorcing. They spoke about the sadness, upset and anger they felt in relation to their parents’ divorces and I could feel and see the care and understanding they showed each other.
They have heard just a little about the principles today but already they seem to sense how helpful it might be to understand how we ‘work’ and how much time can be wasted on thinking about the past and reliving things that have happened. Their immediate impulse was to help pupils in their school because there are lots who suffer emotionally and they thought they could do an assembly and get loads of pupils interested. This quickly spread to the idea of ‘going global’ with Apps and online resources!
We are meeting again next week and I can’t wait!