"We can very well set a mood of peace out of which a system of peace can be built” - Martin Luther King, Jr., "Dreams of Brighter Tomorrows," Ebony Magazine, March 1965
As we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, I am inspired to explore how his thoughts on peace can be embodied by young children and the people who love them. With the frantic pace of modern life, it is easy for all of us to feel stretched thin, distracted, and overwhelmed. When we are reacting to the ups and downs of our day without preserving moments to slow down and feel grounded in our bodies it can be more difficult to treat ourselves and others with the patience and kindness needed to make this world a more peaceful place.
Luckily there are books that introduce even the youngest children to mindfulness practices that will have the whole family breathing and moving in ways that calm the body and mind and connect us with the earth.
To try something right away, you can do this simple technique to practice mindful breathing together with a child you love:
1. Hold the left hand in a fist. Ask the child to imagine it is a flower.
2. Hold the right hand in a fist. Ask the child to imagine it is a candle.
3. Inhale, pretending to sniff the flower.
4. Exhale, pretending to blow out the candle.
Encourage the child to breathe deeply, to really smell the flower. Then tell them to exhale completely, to really really blow the candle out.