Class Relax

refocus, renew and get ready to learn

Class Relax says Shalom to Semester 2

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Shalom to Semester 2

A quiet June morning. The sun streams through the windows of our lovely sanctuary in the library.

The plan was for a small celebration, a little food, a little talk, some art and some meditation. And so it was.

Cushions in place, melon and watermelon in place and we ate a little.

Q: What stood out for you this year, or what did you find the most useful?

A: Breathing. I used it a lot when I felt tense

A: Yes, breathing.

A: Yes!

A: It was relaxing to come here.

A: It was fun.

Me:  I’d like to leave you with is this: How important it is to open your heart, to allow yourself to feel.

If not,…

A: Then life is flat

A: Then, you can’t feel

Me: Yes. It’s impossible to understand someone else if you, yourself, don’t let yourself feel your own emotions. If you have really felt sadness or happiness or loneliness, then you can be empathetic to someone else. You are able to begin to understand what they might be going through. But, if you’ve never felt, then how can you recognize someone else’s feelings?

And then…

A: Yes, like what happened last week in Grade 9.

She was referring to an incident of violence that took place while I was out of the country. I still hadn’t heard all the details. They filled me in:

The circumstances revolved around a birthday party of one of the girls in the class. She had invited a limited number of friends. One boy was insulted that he hadn’t been invited. Another boy stood up and defended the girl. That started a fire in the one insulted. He called on his friends, from a higher grade level. He asked them to come and beat up the defender. And it happened. Kids were expelled. Tempers were high.

boys beating boy.jpg

boys v.s. boy

N: I don’t get it. What, he couldn’t understand?  First, she wasn’t his friend and  also she had only a limited number of kids she could invite. It’s not so hard to understand.

Me: It must have been a  matter of honour. The first boy felt that his honour had been targeted and he needed to defend it. It was a chauvinist, tribal kind of reaction. Honour code.

N: But I still don’t get it.  Couldn’t he understand that she had her reasons? I’d do the same thing – If I had a party, I also couldn’t invite everyone from every class!

Me: It seems obvious to you. You’ve been working to breathe, to observe yourself, to understand a situation. But, not everyone knows how to do that.

Q: What could have been done, to make the situation turn out differently?

A: Just when the insulted boy said something, there could have been a conversation.

Me: Yes, talking about it right then.  That could have changed everything.

What about stopping and breathing?

A: Yes, a few breaths might have made a big difference.

N: But also, I don’t understand their parents. What kind of education are they giving them? Like, the day that the kids were suspended from school, they all went to the beach. I don’t understand. How could their parents let them go have fun after they beat up another kid – all of them against one kid! What kind of parents would allow that?

The other kids agreed with her – shook their heads.

N went on: and when the Principal ordered all the kids to come in to speak to him about their behaviour, together with their parents, one pupil just didn’t come.

I don’t understand. How could his parents not bring him in? I just don’t get it. 

Me: We don’t have answers. We can’t control what others do. It’s like the saying: We can’t control the waves, but we can learn to surf. And it’s a long process. We need to remember that it’s just the beginning, our work is to continue working.

And then…

I’d like now to address the idea of opening our hearts. I thought we could draw a big heart on this piece of Bristol board.  N stepped right up to take on the task, guided by the others – first in pencil then in marker.

When it was done, I invited them to fill in the heart by drawing or writing something that opened their heart when they thoughts of it. And off they went.  


Things that open our hearts


Things that open our hearts June 2017

Our hearts opened, we were smiling as we tossed around our breathing magic ball to cement our union.


tossing the magic breathing ball

We sat down for a breathing meditation to come back to ourselves before we had to depart.

I thanked them for a great session. And asked them for ideas of what to keep for classes to come: artwork, plays, writing affirmations and hiding them around the school for others to find.


As for me,  being on the constant verge of tears these past few weeks since my father’s passing, I didn’t trust myself to hug them goodbye (without utterly losing it) and so made do with enjoying the love in the room as we thanked one another!

May the summer be good!


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