Highlights from a past class

which wolf are you feeding?

Guiding children in mindfulness in South Africa

A group of Cherokee children in North America gathered around their grandfather. They were filled with excitement and curiosity. That day in their village there had been a lot of shouting between two adults. Their grandfather was called to mediate to help bring peace.

One of the children asked a question that puzzled him. “Grandfather, why do people fight?”. The old man thought about it for quite some time and then replied: “Well, we all have two wolves inside us, you see. They are in our chest. And these wolves are constantly fighting each other”.

The eyes of the children grew bigger as they listened. “In our chests too, grandfather?” asked another child. “And in your chest too?” asked a third one. He nodded, “yes, in my chest too”. Then he definitely had their attention.
The Grandfather continued. “One of the wolves is filled with fear, anger, envy, jealousy, greed, and arrogance. The other wolf is filled with peace, love, hope, courage, humility, compassion, and faith. The two wolves fight each other all the time inside of us”. The children pondered this for a moment and then one of them asked, “Grandfather, which wolf will win?”

The old man smiled and simply said, “The one you feed.”

In the classes this week, we discussed what this story meant. With the younger children, who often take things very literally, I had to reassure them that they do not actually have two real wolves inside of them. There were some very concerned faces! Once we had clarified that the story was an analogy, we started to talk about how we could feed our two wolves. I was amazed that in 5 – 6 and 7 – 8 age groups, the children had the insight that the way we feel or act feeds the wolves. So, if we are kind to others, compassionate, peaceful and show love to others for example, that wolf will get stronger, but if we are nasty, jealous, arrogant or selfish for example, the other wolf will get stronger. I think this story of the two wolves is a wonderful way to show children how we, as humans, all have comfortable and uncomfortable feelings but we can choose which to act out.

With the younger children, we then went on a yoga camping trip. The kids loved it! From driving to the campsite (bum shuffle) to setting up the tent (triangle pose) to chopping wood for the fire (woodcutter pose) to drinking a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows (breath awareness) and much more in between. Some of the children got fully into it, even frying up some bacon for breakfast in the morning, once we awoke from our savasana.

For the guided meditation, I led the children in a visualisation similar to the “Planting Seeds” visualisation on the CD “Mindful Moments for Minis”. I asked the children to imagine a field filled with flowers with jewel centres sparkling in the sunlight. I asked them to smell the wonderful floral fragrances and notice the sounds of nature all around them. In the visualisation, there were many different seeds in jars. Orange seeds, the colour of a glorious sunset; blue seeds, the colour of the deep ocean; silver seeds, the colour of moonlight. As the children imagined touching the different seeds, I asked them to be filled with feelings of joy (orange), calm (blue) and inner peace (silver). I then suggested that the seeds were magical seeds that could fill them with whatever they needed more of in their lives. I asked them to think of one quality that they wanted more of and what colour seed would offer them that. I asked them to imagine planting those seeds and watching them grow and flourish, thereby bringing them more of that quality into their lives. I personally love this idea that we have our own special garden where we can sew seeds of happiness, joy, love, hope and peace for example.

With the older groups, I extended the idea of the seeds and the growth of special qualities by letting the children build a collage of a wolf filled with qualities that they would like to see more of in their lives. The results were amazing! Just take a look at the photos. So creative and simply wonderful.

So, some really fun and inspiring lessons this week with food for thought for us adults as well. 😊