It’s that time again. Time to hit the office supplies store for new notebooks, binders, pencil pouches, and protractors. It’s time to prepare your girl to head back into the classroom. But as she gets ready to start a brand new school year, don’t forget to help her to stock up on more than just the material. She needs some important and intangible supplies too: qualities of character that will help her thrive, not just survive, the school year.
Encourage your daughter to invest in one of the most important school essentials: mindfulness.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a practice that means to pay attention in a purposeful way. It’s a deep sense of focus: an intentional dive into the present moment. So often it can be easy for our girls to get lost in their own minds, either living in anticipation of the future or dwelling on the past. When your girl learns to practice mindfulness, she will unlock the potential of her present set of circumstances.
Want to help your girl navigate her busy world and remain present, no matter the situation? Here are five quick tips to promote and help her practice mindfulness.
For your girl to practice non-judgment, it means she needs to:
1) let go of her expectations for how a situation should be and
2) observe and embraces how it truly is.
Each moment she experiences, if she’s not careful, she may try to color it with her personal preferences and aversions. When that happens, there’s a good chance she’ll miss an opportunity for her to learn and grow. She might miss the truth God wanted to illuminate.
It’s natural to seek out pleasure and happiness and avoid pain and discomfort. What matters most is how she responds when she doesn’t get her way. Perhaps, things are taking longer than she would like. Instead of defaulting to frustration, she gets the opportunity to practice patience. Maybe there’s a certain, and comfortable way she is used to doing something at home. Different environments, like school, mean that she has to adapt and be open to doing things differently.
Action Step: When your girl comes home from school and tells you about her day.
First, ask her to describe the different events that occurred.
Then, ask her to tell you how she felt about each one.
How could she broaden her perspective and practice non-judgment about situations she faced today that were out of her control?
How can your daughter have genuine confidence in her gifts and unique abilities? Guide her to trust the One who gave them to her. The first step in cultivating your girl’s self-confidence is to ensure she is aware of the Lord and how special and powerful she is because of who he is.
Chat with your girl about what makes her so unique. How is she showing up with confidence in the world? How does she cope when her confidence gets rattled? Can she bounce back quickly and return to a sense of wholeness and peace?
Right action means to do what is right even when it may be challenging. It’s a gut feeling that will allow her to follow through and do what we know must be done in the moment to show love to God by serving others.
Right action is in alignment with the code of ethics given to us in God’s Word. For your daughter this may be sticking up for a friend or cleaning up a mess she made.
Right action takes courage. Share with your girl that doing what’s right is not always easy, but it’s always worth it. She may need to make sacrifices and let go of what she wants to fulfill what God wants for her life. God won’t ever waste the choice she made to put others first.
The Japanese word shoshin means “beginner’s mind”. It’s an attitude of openness to the present moment and the opportunity to learn new things. Sometimes we get stuck in old ways of thinking about how things should be done versus being open and eager for God to show us how he wants us to acquire new skills or welcome a change in our own perspectives.
Children tend to be experts when it comes to practicing beginner’s mind. They are full of a sense of wonder, curiosity, and amazement. As parents, we can learn a lot from them, and it’s important to nurture this quality in girls to promote a healthy and balanced approach to thinking. How can we do it?
If your girl naturally excels in one area, encourage her to hone skills in another. Improving technical art skills or learning to play a musical instrument can offer her a chance to embrace learning something new by beginning with the unfamiliar.
Compassion is an act of the heart. It’s the ability to be aware of how someone else is feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally, and meet them where they’re at. To be compassionate is to have the ability to empathize with others and how they are feeling.
Empathy starts by making the choice to engage another person’s emotions because we believe, we know, we trust that the pain they are experiencing, although it’s real, it’s temporary.
Being empathetic also means choosing to engage a person, even when we don’t agree with or share their point of view. Our aim can be to simply understand where they’re coming from.
When your girl confronts a person with a differing perspective from her own, can she shift away from thinking about it in terms of Agree/Disagree (which implies Connect/Distance) and instead move into a state of curiosity with the intent to
Action Step: Encourage your daughter to listen and reflect on the following questions whenever she needs to empathize:
1) What is important to this person?
2) What is this person thinking?
3) What do they need?
4) What do they want?
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34
Have an awesome day!
If you’re looking for ways to teach mindfulness to your girl and prepare her to head back to school feeling confident, centered, and purposeful, be sure to check out our free video series, 3 Keys To Unlocking Your Daughter’s True Potential. Click here to watch.