VIDEO: Teaching Children to Appreciate Life

In her interview with PsychAlive Senior Editor Lisa Firestone, Dr. Donna Rockwell talks about engaging children in the appreciation for being alive.

Donna Rockwell:  Another thing that I did with my kids all growing up is when they would go to sleep at night, I’d say, Before we go to sleep after we’ve read, I’d say, well, let’s have a moment of appreciation.  So lie on your bed and close your eyes and I just want you to appreciate being alive.  I don’t want you to appreciate anything you have or what you do or where you live.  I just want you to feel that rush of appreciation for this gift of being able to be alive.  You know, and I would just be quiet and just let them soak in that feeling.

And I don’t know, I hope it worked, but I think appreciating life is sort of what we might see our children missing, with all the competition and the bullying and the pressure for advancement, they’re missing that quintessential and most important point, which, is to appreciate this precious experience.  And where are they going to learn that from but us?  So that only comes from stillness, too.  The cultivation of stillness and presence and awe and attention and engagement and I think that children need that from us.

We are their teachers in that way but not by giving them a lesson plan.  By being profoundly interested in them as human beings.  And let’s be surprised by what they do when they grow up, you know?  If we approach it that way, then all the gifts of the people in the world will be able to flourish.

Lisa Firestone: Right, what they naturally come into the world with as opposed to something we try to channel them into.

DR: Right.  We are self-actualizing beings as humanistic psychologists say, as Abraham Maslow, you know, told us.  We’re self-actualizing and we just need to remove the blocks to our self-actualization and we naturally will evolve to be able to give our gifts to the world.

About the Author

Donna Rockwell, Psy.D. Dr. Donna Rockwell, Psy.D., L.P. is a licensed clinical psychologist, adjunct faculty member, community outreach worker, columnist, and mindfulness meditation teacher. Dr. Rockwell specializes in both mindfulness and celebrity mental health. She works with clients in her private practice and teaches public meditation classes. You can watch Dr. Rockwell on YouTube or read more of her blogs at The New Existentialists.

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