The Lotus Child: Being

For parents of children aged 3-6

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Workshop details

Facilitator: Kathryn O'Connor and Ramila Rai

Dates: 7th July to 11th August 2022

Duration: Once a week, every Thursday, for two hours

Time: 6.45 - 8.45pm - Nepal time (9 - 11am East Coast time)

Format: Online (Live streaming)

Language: All sessions and instructions are in English

Fee: $60 for 6 sessions*

*Financial support available for those who can't afford the tuition fee

We are delighted to announce that registration is now open for Abiding Heart’s parents' contemplative Buddhist corner for parents of children aged 3-6. 

 

In these 6 weekly online sessions, we will create a sacred space for parents, where they can feel safe to share, learn, meditate, and be nourished. 

The sessions aim to find a balance of head, heart, and habit in the parenting experience, by offering useful insights in the Buddhist worldview. We explore themes specifically to those that arise in the second part of early childhood.

We rest these themes within the Buddhist worldview as nourishment and support to the altruistic  journey of being a parent. We use meditation as support in the parenting of young children's experiences.

These sessions will take place online and parents from any part of the world are welcome to join and connect with other parents and explore the variations and similarities in the journey of parenting in different cultural contexts. 

There will be ongoing sessions for a period of six weeks, to begin with. These sessions are for parents who are in need of ‘an island’ of nourishment and a short pause from a busy life to reconnect with themselves, their path of parenthood and to grow.

 

The aim here is to balance:

  • the head: knowing or the view

  • the heart: experiencing, meditating and contemplating

  • and habit: how to apply or bring the view and meditation into our daily life experiences of being a parent of young children

In this programme, we create space for parents to share their experiences and offer some support on how to manage challenging moments. We anchor this in the Buddhist understanding of change and interdependence. Examples of themes that may be covered in the workshop:

  • Skillful means and working with guilt, worry, shame, and expectations, from the parent's angle

  • The major transition for parents and children from home life to nursery/kindergarten/preschool: This transition requires allowing a stranger to take care of our child and being comfortable with that person having great influences on our child’s being and development. This requires a big act of trust. It may also be the first time the young child is separated from their parents for a prolonged period of time where they are with another adult that is not a family member.

  • Another possible big transition for the whole family: a new sibling, a new baby brother or sister.  

 

  • Parents of young children experience their child's eagerness to be included and participate in many activities they experience around them. How can parents enable that while still getting things done? We explore this in relation to the Buddhist understanding of the paramitas and skillful means.

 

  • Some children expect parents to play and entertain them and, in some cases, the child becomes very insecure when the parent turns their attention to somebody else (a guest, for example). How can we keep the child included and participate in home activities as part of their learning to be independent and to be together with others?

 

  • Caring for the child's well-being cannot be without paying attention to the importance of their physiological processes, such as the influences of the right food on their growing body, healthy rhythm in the family life, and sharing meals together, as an opportunity to be together and connect. 

 

  • Family time also means being present with the child and learning to share experiences and for parents to practice active mindful listening.  A powerful foundation in supporting the child’s wellbeing is through listening to them and enabling them to share with us their story or experiences without interrupting them or offering their suggestions, advice, opinions, or judgments.

 

  • We explore with parents how to ask their children questions that help them learn to articulate and expand details of an event and feelings they are trying to share with them. We learn to allow the child to describe and share their experience in a narrative that is clear and uninterrupted by others. We learn to empathise with the children and let them know that we understand their feelings and help them describe their feeling a bit more in order to give them the opportunity and the vocabulary to express what they experience inside. At first, the description might be lengthy and then we learn to help the child to have the right vocabulary to express their feelings using specific vocabulary with shorter descriptions. 

In the process of delving into the above themes we weave and reflect using a selected Buddhist threads. 

Buddhism offers many contemplative and experiential tools as we journey through raising young children. It offers us profound tools to support our own inner development as parents. Therefore, throughout these sessions, we will also pause to meditate and contemplate on Buddhist aspects and how they can support our role as parents. 

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We anchor ourselves in the Four Immeasurable or loving-kindness and compassion and continue to weave threads, such as:

  • impermanence or recognising that our children are constantly growing and changing;

  • catching up with our child’s developmental changes with wonder and excitement;

  • how everything and everyone is interconnected and interdependent;

  • we all have this innate basic goodness, the Buddha nature;

  • we practice gratitude and appreciation;

  • we learn to witness rather than judge as an act of kindness;

  • we get the nourishment to continue to nurture the relationship with our children and to cultivate a healthy relationship. 

 

We practice together breathing and calm abiding meditation; awareness and experiencing the present moment as a wonderful moment, or simply practicing being present. We meditate on emotions and give and take meditation practice. We also learn simple mindfulness meditation to do with our children. 

 

The structure of the sessions

We will meet once a week for 2 hours over a period of six weeks. The structure of a session will be:

  • Opening and meditation 

  • Introducing a theme 

  • Opening space for sharing and discussion about the theme (end with giving an observation/awareness focus, article to work with during the week) 

  • Meditation/contemplation related to the theme

  • Handwork

  • Closing and dedication

The course will take place when a minimum of six participants are enrolled.

 

We hope that you will join us in creating an island of nourishment for you and others on this path of parenthood.

If you have any queries, please contact us at admissions@abidingheart.education or complete an admissions inquiry form.