So I don’t know if I mentioned it already *cough* but I went on a trip to Israel last week.
One of the places we visited was the Essence of Life Centre in Tel Aviv. This is a non-profit organisation owned by the Arison Foundation that is based on the idea that to achieve world peace, each of us needs to achieve inner peace.
The centre welcomes children of all faiths to the centre, to play games and take part in activities designed to teach them how to achieve inner peace.
Now, I’m a Northerner.
So of course I was sniggering like a fool as I sat in the centre’s relaxation room listening to a mantra of self-acceptance (very nice I’m sure, but it was in Hebrew) while looking at images of beaches and rivers and trying to ignore the photographer and camera man, not to mention the light man in the corner, who was shining his light in my direction like an interrogation tool.
Not particularly relaxing, it has to be said.
But I think the idea of inner peace – and teaching children how to create it – is really interesting.
The Essence of Life centre uses games and interactive exhibits to encourage children to think about a set of core beliefs based on the idea that we are all unique and bring a spark to the world. That we are all different from one another, and that we’re different ourselves, from day to day. That everyone has some bad qualities – but equally, everyone has good qualities, too.
However cynical I try to be, I can’t bring myself to think those are bad lessons to teach children.
And of course, they’re lessons that might help the odd adult, too. After all, there’s no point complaining on the one hand that people don’t treat you with respect and courtesy if you’re out in the world snarking at every opportunity. Like Gandhi said: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Except, I’m basically rubbish at inner peace. I have a gift for self-doubt, questioning my own decisions endlessly and seeking to debate anything and everything with most people I meet. Also, I am secretly a bit suspicious of anyone who claims to have inner peace – I can’t help wondering if they’re actually psychotic and about to go postal.
Anyway, because I am a positive parenting GURU (it must be true, Cathy said it) I’ve decided that this summer I’m going to teach Flea swimming — and inner peace.
We were given some special 'The Dolphin Within Me' cards at the Essence of Life centre where you pick a card each day, that has an action and a picture. You then share the card with your child and discuss how to incorporate this lesson into your day.
Bit worried. Does this mean Flea needs to get her own flat?