Last week, I attended HeartMath, a personal development workshop that aims to develop a certain level of resilience to an individual. Resilience here does not only refer particularly to being able to bounce back when something happens. It also touches on the capacity to prepare and to face a situation with equanimity.
It was generally a great workshop and I would also recommend employees and entrepreneurs to attend it. The batch I attended had participants with diverse backgrounds. They helped me a lot in digesting the concepts presented in the workshop.
After the workshop, I really felt that I had acquired new tools as a teacher. And so Monday came.
The children in my class are in Grade Three. In Steiner/Waldorf Education, children at the age of 8.5 months up to 10 go through a phase called Rubikon. At this time, a child who was once an angel may become “rude” and they will also say their opinions. When before this age, they accept unquestioningly what the adults around them say. This time, they will want to know if you really know everything and if the rules are justified. They will have formed their judgments of right and wrong and they will feel angry when the adults say something and do otherwise. Even so, their judgments may still be immature as they have little experience of the world. In short, the children at this age may be undergoing an unspoken “inner crisis” and the adults surrounding them ought to have better hold of themselves.
Otherwise, the children in Rubikon phase may struggle with more difficulty with lack of support from adults.
So, when I started my class, the children, six boys and a girl, started fighting against each other for no reason. This went on for the whole day. I tried my best to hold myself and it was very challenging. At the end of the day, I felt tired from holding my emotions and striving to avoid losing my patience for the children. Thankfully, I had an idea about Rubikon and I had the tools to keep myself together. What would have happened if I had no idea about these things?
As I was thinking about the events that happened that day, I shared it with Juliefer, a fellow teacher. As a consolation, she said, “We always think that we are very tired because we need to teach the children. But come to think of it, the children have also sacrificed themselves. With their presence, they have allowed us to commit mistakes so that we adults can learn; and it’s really at the expense of their being.”
I was struck with what Juliefer said. Yes, it is too easy to say that we need to teach our children and that we are doing something for them. In this perspective, we can easily lose patience because we may saythat the child doesn’t want to learn. However, once we see them as our teacher so that we can grow, we will be filled with reverence for them.
In my case, when I attended HeartMath, I found an addition to my tools in dealing with the children. But always, it seems to me, that when I say to myself that I am capable, and I have a good meditation practice, a child would arrive, as if to ask me. “Really, Mrs. Joan Mae? You think you have levelled up? Let’s see how good you are with my behavior.”
This is not to say that the children are doing this intentionally. It is something unspoken. Of course, they
do not know that I am into whatever meditation. What I see is that the children are unconsciously asking, “Can you see right through me even when I behave this way?”
It takes a conscious adult to be able to answer that question. I think that to be able to really face that question, a cultivation of awareness of our inner processes and emotions is highly needed. Otherwise, we shall only resort to our autopilot responses. And, in most cases, autopilot responses are not the ones needed in dealing with our little teachers.
If you’re interested with HeartMath, feel free to contact Rowena Ebdane-Suarez on Facebook.
Joan Mae Soco-Bantayan is a Class Three teacher at Tuburan Institute, a Steiner/Waldorf School. She has also written Remember Who You Really Are, a personal development book. Feel free to reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org