One year ago today, I started kindergarten for the second time. This week I had an experience in a yoga class that brought me back to the way I sometimes felt in my school days, and the way I noticed kids feeling when I returned to the classroom. Given that kids throughout the country are going back to school within the month, I wanted to share my frustration with the situation and how it could have been avoided with an individualized teaching approach.
I’m pleased to report that my post “Five Ways to Reschool on the Interweb” was published in YES! Magazine online. Reschool Yourself will also be featured in the fall print issue. YES! is a magazine that I love for publicizing the positive, inspiring news in the world, and I’m happy to be a part of it.
YES! is a award-winning, ad-free, nonprofit publication that supports people’s active engagement in building a just and sustainable world. It draws around 100,000 visitors to its website each month.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about food. OK, so that’s not news. I think about food a lot. What I’ve specifically been thinking about is a common way that Americans see their food, and it makes me sad.
As we’ve gotten wealthier and consequently fatter over time, Americans have come to see food as the enemy. We’re always discovering the evils that food contains, whether it’s fat, sugar, carbs, or calories (counting calories never goes out of style). Women in particular tend to talk about dieting, or how they “shouldn’t be eating” the chocolate cake that they’re about to dig into. It really takes the pleasure out of eating when you or those around you associate it with shame and lack of self-control.
I’m honored to report that the Mutual of Omaha Aha Moment campaign chose Reschool Yourself to headline its August/September newsletter. Thanks to Len Markidan, Communications Manager for Skadaddle Media, for documenting the story. He was able to summarize the project briefly while still getting to the heart of it, a task that I myself find challenging.
Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
“The biggest challenge we face is that kids aren’t allowed to develop fully and become who they want,” Melia explains. “School is about ‘have to’ and not ‘want to,’ and that’s a very dangerous thing to teach kids; they lose touch with the joy of life and what makes them tick as a person. Kids who are meant to be the next Picasso can’t develop because they’re stuck learning chemistry. The most important thing is to nurture that natural curiosity.”
But when Melia looked around her, she didn’t just see the problems with the system. She also realized just how much we could all learn from the kids.
“Watching the kids run on the playground,” Melia says, she found herself jealous. “I just wanted to have that joy that I hadn’t felt in so long, and that carefree attitude. And I looked around at the adults, and a lot of us didn’t seem to have that anymore. I felt like it didn’t have to be that way.”
See the 2-minute video of my Aha Moment here.
Even if you’re not religious, I’m sure that you recognize the wisdom of the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” I tend to have no trouble with this. My friends, many of whom work in social services and small businesses, don’t either. We work long hours for little pay, we reassure other people that their mistakes aren’t a big deal, and we’ll drop everything for a friend if she’s going through a tough time. It’s the reverse Golden Rule that is much more of a challenge: doing unto ourselves as we do unto others.
I can’t count how many times I’ve beaten myself up for little mistakes, or fallen into despair when I hit a snag in my plans. I’ve looked in the mirror and hated what I saw: the dark circles under my eyes, the big zit, or the belly fat that won’t go away. I’ve told myself that I’m incompetent, a screw-up, and that I’ve wasted my potential.
Can you imagine treating a friend that way? Ever? As Duncan Coppock said, “If we spoke to others the way we often speak to ourselves, we’d have no friends!”
When things go awry, we tell our friends, “Everything will turn out fine.” We remind them that they’re resourceful and smart and all-around wonderful people. We see the best in them. However, we find it much harder to show ourselves the same kindness.