Stop Bigotry And Bulling

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By: Marlene Affeld ~

Bigotry and bullying are learned behaviors. No child is born with hatred in his or her heart. Children model their behavior and belief after the actions and opinions of their parents and peers. Sadly, within our society, the differences between people frequently ignite racial or sexual insults, caustic name-calling, harassment, cruel bullying, and violence.

Parents ask how they can instill in their children respect and understanding for people who act, sound or look differently than they do. Educators and child psychiatrists offer sage advice and creative examples of how parents can establish an environment where ethnic diversity is appreciated and valued.

Words Can Wound

bullying-1019271__180Teach children from an early age that certain words can hurt other people and that racial, ethnic and sexual slurs are not allowed. Avoid teaching political correctness without teaching the underlying reasons why certain words are used to wound and should never be repeated. 

Scholastic.com suggests, “Don’t let racist and prejudicial remarks go by without intervening. It’s important to let children know from a very early age that name-calling of any kind, whether it’s about someone’s religion, race, ethnic background, or sexual orientation, is hurtful and wrong.”

aggression-790827__180Teach Children To Think For Themselves

Many children have a tendency to mimic and “go along” with the opinions of their contemporaries, thinking it’s cute or clever to parrot conversation they have overheard.

Teach children to be critical thinkers, specifically about prejudice and discrimination. Critical thinking is when we strive to understand issues through examining and questioning. Young children can begin to develop these skills, to know when a word or an image is unfair or hurtful.

Cultural Immersion

Create a home environment that embraces diversity and honors individuality. Plan family activities that reflect the rich ethnic tapestry of the unique cultures that make up America.

The Anti-Defamation League comments on the importance of the home environment, stating, “What is in a child’s environment (as well as what is absent) provides children with important information about who and what is important. Therefore every effort should be made to create a setting that is rich in possibilities for exploring cultural diversity. Consider decorating their rooms with objects made from a variety of materials; if they are enrolled in a formal preschool program, work with the teacher to see that their classroom follows suit. Play music with words from different languages and try to introduce games from around the world. Try art projects that introduce various cultural traditions. Folk dancing and storytelling are two especially effective ways to introduce children to other cultures.”

  • For young children, plan a month long focus on another culture by giving children an opportunity to taste or cook a variety of foods served by a different ethnic group. 
  • Purchase an old-fashioned globe for your home and make it a game to teach children around different regions of the world and where they are in reference to your home.  
  • Provide props such as clothing, dolls, books, movies, or posters that are culturally diverse. 
  • Teach your child several new key words or phrases in the language of the culture; gratitude and love sound sweet-voiced in every language. For school age children, place name stickers in a foreign language on common household items such as the telephone, television, bed or refrigerator. Make a game with a small reward for learning and using the new words. 
  • Visit and participate in cultural events and celebrations. Expose children to the art and music of other cultures.

We Are All Different

Lead by example, never allowing racial slurs or diminutive descriptivism to be part of your vocabulary. Show children that the differences we see in other people doesn’t define them and that people should be judged as individuals on character and not skin color, religion or sexual orientation. 

Christopher J. Metzler, Ph.D. in an article titled “Teaching Children About Diversity, advises,  “Get out of our comfort zone. For all the talk about diversity, Americans still segregate ourselves into fairly homogenous communities. Teaching our children to accept differences may require that we use the power of the Internet to learn about differences, that we seek out cultural activities that are out of our community and explore the strength and value in diversity. It is not enough to simply visit cultural events, eat ethnic foods and thus learn about differences from a voyeuristic point of view. Instead, we must make a deliberate effort to get out of the familiar and show our children we mean it. Accepting differences should be how we live our lives.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seeking A Moment Of Complete Tranquility #Chillax

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By: Marlene Affeld ~

A host of medical research studies indicate that meditation (mental silence) is an excellent way to reduce the stress in our lives without the negative side effects of medication. For persons struggling to cope with heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, binge eating, insomnia, fatigue, fibromyalgia or other sources of chronic pain, meditation, combined with yoga, is a way to proactively reduce the stress and relieve the pain that accompanies these conditions.

The Simms/Mann-UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology describes meditation noting, “Meditation is a mind and body practice that utilizes concentration, reflection and mental flexibility to relax the body and calm the mind. It requires that we clear out our muddled thoughts and allow our minds a moment of complete tranquility. Practicing daily meditation can have a variety of positive effects on your mental health and improve your physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.”

Saint Mary’s Health of Evansville, Indiana provides a helpful compendium of information answering questions about meditation stating, “Meditation is a safe and simple way to balance a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states. It is easily learned and has been used as an aid in treating stress and pain management. It has also been employed as part of an overall treatment for other conditions, including hypertension and heart disease.”

Hans Selye, a pioneering Canadian stress researcher, describes two types of stress-negative stress and positive stress. The difference between the two depends upon whether or not the individual feels in control of the stress. By allowing one to become more aware of one’s reactions to stress, meditation can assist in providing the individual with an increased internal sense of control.

meditation-609235_640Studies have also shown that meditation (in particular research on Transcendental Meditation [TM], a popular form of meditation practiced in the West for the past thirty years), can bring about a healthy state of relaxation by causing a generalized reduction in multiple physiological and biochemical markers, such as decreased heart rate, decreased respiration rate, decreased plasma cortisol (a major stress hormone), decreased pulse rate, and increased EEG (electroencephalogram) alpha, a brain wave associated with relaxation.”

A diverse array of research studies indicate that a regular meditation practice offers an amazing amount of health benefits including strengthening the immune system, managing chronic pain, lowering blood pressure, and reducing both emotional and physical stress and fatigue.

Practitioners of meditation and yoga report that meditating for just 20 minutes provides more psychological rest than a full night’s sleep. Many people that meditate on a regular basis report an increased sense of wellbeing, increased energy and heightened creativity.

Other benefits include the ability to see the good in the situations around you, a sense of peace, spontaneous joy and a deep abiding sense of gratitude. Experts suggest that practicing meditation daily allows us to weave silence and stillness into our body and mind to create a fulfilled life.

zen-178992_640NaturalNews.com reports that meditation can reverse aging in our brains, stating, “Studies of meditation have shown that its regular practice that helps individuals cope with issues such as anxiety, stress, chronic pain and high blood pressure. In addition, more recent studies facilitated by brain scan technology have found that regular meditation practice helps prevent or delay age-related cognitive decline including memory loss. In fact, it appears that regular meditation practice can change the brain in a variety of profound and healthful ways.”

BrighterBrains.org sums up the benefits of meditation, stating, “Anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, chronic pain, substance abuse, sleep disorders, attention deficit disorder, and even cardiovascular disease have all been shown to be positively affected by mindfulness meditation. While the potential to relieve various physical and psychological ailments is certainly significant, the real value of meditation is in its potential to optimize and improve our lives. Not just to alleviate problems and bring us back to normal, but to make us better than normal.”

For the uninitiated, the concept and practice of meditation can be quite confusing. FreeMeditationInfo.com provides a complete listing of Zen, Tibetan, Christian, Hindu and non-sectarian meditation centers and meditation teachers located in the State of Indiana and throughout the Midwest. One of the best things about practicing meditation is that it doesn’t conflict with our spiritual practice, no matter the path we choose to follow. With an open heart and mind, meditation can enhance and deepen our existing spiritual beliefs, whatever form that may be.

Meditation, combined with yoga, may just be your tools to better pain management, improved sleep and less stress. Tree House Yoga of Indianapolis, Indiana notes, “Yoga is a coming home; a return to the one you have neglected and left behind. The yoga practice is about reclaiming parts of yourself that you have left behind.”

Where does your mind go when it seeks a moment of complete tranquility? Please share your thoughts and comments.