Teaching Hints

Teaching Hints

This page details a few miscellaneous points that may help in running a class.

Firstly, I have seen time and time again, that a child screaming its head off does not disrupt a class. This might be surprising at first, but it really is true. People (especially parents!) can meditate through a lot of noise, if they know that the source of that noise is well cared for.

However, if the parent of that child is stressed, isn’t dealing with their child’s behaviour, then no-one in the room will be meditating. It is extremely hard for a group of parents to emotionally leave another parent to their struggles.

In such situations, give your efforts to supporting that parent with their struggle. Firstly, and most importantly, tell them that their child is totally welcome. If it helps, ask the others in the room if anyone objects. The other parents will invariably say they don’t. Perhaps ask the other parents if there is anyone whose child never acts up. Then step into allowing them to feel uncomfortable, that this is a normal part of life. Sometimes, I ask a struggling parent a very simple question: “Do you love your child?” Again, they invariably answer, “yes, of course”. Then there’s nothing to worry about right now: you are okay, you love your child, then are struggling, because life can sometimes be a struggle, and this can be okay.

Likewise, if a child talks to its parent, this generally draws little attention, other parents continue meditating without noticing. However, if a parent then responds to a child verbally, it seems to be very hard for other meditators not to engage with what they are saying. The mind seems just to want to absorb the words and understand them, whether they are relevant to us or not. Therefore, not just for their own benefit, but for the benefit of the whole group, I strongly encourage parents to communicate with their children with touch and gesture rather than spoken word.

As mentioned on the previous page, a parent giving a high energy child direct eye contact can also raise their energy, so avoiding eye contact can also help. But when doing this, it is really important that the parent remain in touch with their own feelings of love and care for the child. This is absolutely NOT a cutting off from the child, or a denial of them – it is just a natural shifting into a different mode of communication.

If it is the first time a child is experiencing this approach to meditation, a parent might want to give eye contact occasionally. If the child is distressed by the closed eyes (they will get used to it and soon realise it isn’t a threat), then looking at them to reassure them that everything is totally okay can be valuable.