Dear UU Parents and Guardians,
This Sunday at 11am, I will be offering a short online 'in-person' Sunday School opportunity which will include:
Please email me for the link to the zoom call
Supplemental to our Sunday in-person gatherings, I wanted to offer something each week which you could do with your family in your own time.
For K-5th students:
For at least the next few weeks,
I will plan to do a short youtube video (30 min average) that includes:
Story (This week it is, "No One but You by Douglas Wood")
Brief Meditation for Children
The link for this week's lesson can be found here: https://youtu.be/mDIiM4OcpE8
This week has two videos - an intro to how to sit for meditation can be
found here: https://youtu.be/xIE8QqGEUYQ
The meditations are REALLY child-focused and easy. Focusing on breathing. Thinking about the story in a way where they can be quiet and focused for a bit. The total time is under 20 minutes this week
Each week, I will also plan to send some information for parents about the youtube lesson and perhaps supplemental resources.
For preschoolers - you can find a video from Miss Molly here: https://youtu.be/7Z6x3qq5SYY
Youth In Action students - Middle and High Schoolers - are invited to be in touch with Ashleigh Fuson about their virtual meetings: firstname.lastname@example.org
Admittedly, I am not very good at calming down my mind.
I tend to 'spin'.
I get anxious and the thoughts come like a tornado.
I have found that I need to focus on something else to quiet down all the thoughts.
Sometimes this happens by going out in nature and taking photos, sometimes I can calm my thoughts by doing slow 'yin' style yoga, I go for a walk, I listen to a podcast or guided meditation with someone else's voice, I listen to music, and I even quiet my mind by watching trash tv (honestly, there are days that call for 'whatever it takes').
Times like these where current events are just too much to bear, or my family is taking so much of my attention and I am lacking in self-care, I think that meditation is extremely helpful. It doesn't always look like simply sitting and being totally silent.
Yet, getting away for a moment with my thoughts can help my anxiety. Help my heart rate go down to a reasonable level, Help me be a more present mom for my children.
Speaking of Being Present....
Sometimes mindfulness is simply being present. It can be as easy as putting down the screen. Whenever I used to hear, 'put down the screen', I tend to think, "Oh great - just what I need - something else to give me 'mom guilt'! Some of us - me included - are so lucky right now to be able to use our devices to be able to work from home. We often NEED our devices for that reason. We also use our devices to stay connected with loved ones, or we use it to calm the spinning thoughts when we zone out to cat videos. This is all very valid and necessary.
However, I think of it now as a good reminder to simply take moments to be mindful of the current moment. Yet, I think children really appreciate when we sit and be really present with them. Especially in times of stress like we are experiencing right now. ...when articles about Covid-19 are on every social media platform....and our stress and anxiety raise when we are looking at our devices. They pick up on it.
These words from Sumi Loundon Kim from "Sitting Together",
"Many will attest to the inverse relationship between online connectivity and in-person connectivity. The more we are connected to friends, news, and entertainment online (and we'll include cell phone use- texting, surfing, and talking), the less we are attuned to the people around us. I'm not proud to share that there have been moments my children were asking for my attention and I shooed them away so that I could finish posting something on Facebook or sending an email.....
One of the biggest obstacles to family members becoming present to each other is the pervasive, continuous use of connected devices, including mobile phones, pads, tablets, and laptops. We all know that when our eyes are glued to the screen, our mind is completely sucked into another world and is disconnected from the people and environment surrounding us. We can be physically next to our child, but if we are on a device, our mind can be miles away. Our children know this, without a doubt. Extended parental distraction is often painful for children.
As simple as this seems, one way to practice mindful parenting is very simply to turn off your device or put it away when you're with family members. Just setting aside that distraction will automatically increase your ability to be mindful - you don't have to do anything except resist temptation"
Questions for you this week:
How will you choose to be a present parent with your children? What did you do where you were fully engaged with them?
If you have read this far, I have one last thought.
Moments are precious. When we are parents, we constantly think, "Am I soaking this all in enough? Will I remember this years from now?" Treasure these moments we have as much as possible in these hard days. Hold your babies tight. Tell them you love them.
Thank you for being a part of our church community. I am grateful to be connecting with you still through the computer - so don't put it away ALL the time. This is how we are staying in touch with one another right now. I am simply asking you to be mindful.
Take care of yourselves and your family. Stay healthy.
Chelsea Krafka is the Director of Religious Growth for the Unitarian Church of Lincoln.