For students that feel that every day could be their last, a Mindful Moment room offers solace and discipline problems have become less common
Inhale all the love the universe has to offer, Lloyd Jones told a group of high school students at the beginning of second period. Exhale anything that doesnt benefit you.
A student wearing an ROTC shirt sat, legs crossed, eyes shut, breathing, his thumbs touching in a Buddhist mudra, or hand gesture. He was surrounded by 10 other students, all black and Latino, in a room given over to the Mindful Moment program.
All the other students at Patterson high school in Baltimore were doing something similar. Every morning, the school broadcasts 15 minutes of breathing exercisings and meditation instruction.
Even though you may not engage in the practice actively, you still hear it every day, said the schools principal, Vance Benton, of sound recordings, which also play at the end of the day.
The program is intended to help students cope with the prevalence of death, violence, and commotion in their lives, Benton told.
When you look at our children and you compare their situations every day, they feel like it could be their last day. Every day they feel like they may have to take someone elses life if it came to it. Every day theyre dealing with a close friend or comrade or family member that was killed senselessly.
Patterson high school serves students living in tough neighborhoods, in a city that is set to reach 300 assassinations and 1,000 nonfatal shootings by the end of the year. Some of the students are also immigrants whose households escaped violence in Central America. Benton compared what his students go through on a daily basis to the experiences of soldiers serving in a war.
After the program came to Patterson high school, the number of most disciplinary issues were approximately cut in half, according to Benton.
Whenever there is a child who is acting up or not focused, get into a fight, the educator can refer this child to the Mindful Moment room. They sit down with our staff, we have about 15 minutes with them, they do some active listening to figure out what it is the kids are complaining about, whatever is going on. Theyll resulted them through some breathing exercising, meditation, give them some tea, send them back to the class, told Andres Gonzalez, one of the founders of Holistic Life.
Read more: www.theguardian.com