This news update is a continuation from Essential Education’s updates from the January-March 2011 issue of Mandala located on page 26.
Children start small and in time grow in all directions – just like the activity of Ready Set Happy (RSH), the children’s resource based on the 16 Guidelines for Life. RSH is a collection of playful activities that engage children of all learning styles to think about and play with these sixteen ideas to develop familiarity and their own convictions about the value of cultivating these positive qualities. The first Ready Set Happy workshops in Italy and Mexico were followed this year by a crop of activities in the USA: in New Mexico, New York and North Carolina, where facilities and programs for families expanded. In other places around the world, seeds became new sprouts that broke ground or blossomed into full programs.
Santa Fe, New Mexico: In June, Thubten Norbu Ling Buddhist Center hosted a three-day RSH workshop which followed on from a 16 Guidelines introductory weekend. We wanted to empower people to use RSH with individual children, within families, and in group settings. Participants called the workshop “personal, delightful, engaged, inspiring, playful and gratifying.” They concluded that we all can find common ground in these guidelines, and that RSH is an exciting program both for families and those without families. Participants also plan to use the ideas to increase their own mindfulness, with their families and spouses, and to build a homeschool family network. During one exercise, resident teacher Don Handrick wrote and shared this haiku:
Children seem distant
like apples beyond my reach.
16 new ladders.
Chautauqua County, New York: Faith Woolson is one of a dozen parents and teachers who originally tested RSH worldwide. As a long-time resident of the New York area, she enthusiastically suggested a week-long class on RSH at historic Chautauqua Institution. I delivered the course in August and met hundreds of people ready to engage in meaningful conversation, new friends from diverse faiths and many states and countries, eager to learn about RSH.
Course participants plan to take these ideas to kindergartens through high schools from coast to coast and described the week as “revealing, nurturing, and a stretch – it’s going to add to our lives.” They suggested the course be subtitled, “Warning: Contagious!”
This group really touched my heart – seeing the parents work so sincerely to develop and share these positive attitudes with their children and their community. It feels that the positive ripples beginning here will reach far and wide to people of many faiths, one heart at a time.
Raleigh, North Carolina: This will be the fourth year that Kadampa Center has been using RSH and 16G in classes with children every Sunday. About 30 children attend every week, from toddlers to teens, in five age levels. In June, generous donors and dedicated volunteers helped to make a new classroom building a reality to serve the growing numbers. Bricks on the walkway to the building are etched with the guidelines and other inspiring messages.
“The ‘secular’ approach is very comforting to my daughter’s other parent who is a different faith from me. They can talk about these ideas, too.”
“The lessons are presented so the children can relate to the topics directly from their own personal experiences. It is about them and their lives and how that affects others.”
Blossoms further afield: RSH-based programs continue to bear fruit in Mexico, Malaysia and Australia, while more programs are taking root in the USA (in North Carolina and West Virginia), Canada, Korea and China.Tags: 16 guidelines for life, essential education, ready set happy