This week’s theme was “Träge hälfe” (lending a hand). I acted out the story of the Lion and the Mouse. I had a lion hat, a ceramic mouse, and a net for bathtub toys as my props. (Good that I never throw anything out!) I hammed it up, changing voices for the characters, exaggerating the gestures (ie, being something other than my normal uptight self), and the kids loved it. (Thanks to kkollwitz at Smaller Manhattans for the tips!) Even quiet little Ana Raquel looked animated and engaged. Afterwards, I offered them to act the story out themselves, with a narrator, a Lion, and a Mouse. We have ten children in class. In my HGU (home group instruction) handbook, it says that when we do skits, everyone should have a chance to participate. I had this advice in mind when I let them do two rounds of the story. However, I learned that hearing a story 3 times gets very boring for the audience. This is my first take-home lesson for the day: just do the skit once. (I should’ve figured this out beforehand, had I thought it through.) Only half way through the second round, Mateo, Emanuele, and Diego were running around the class, playing commando shooting games. Ultimately, I end up spending a lot of the class chasing them down, telling them to stop. We are using the handcraft classroom for our session, and there are a lot of delicate things around that I worry the children will break. To be honest, I sometimes feel out of my depth with these kids. With my own kids at home, I would just yell at them to stop and send them to their rooms if they didn’t. I am not sure what options I have with these children. Last week, I asked Rolf, our catechism coordinator for advice. He suggested getting a Tibetan singing bowl (Klangschale)! I should use the singing bowl to get their attention at the beginning of class, and ask them to be still until they no longer hear the sound. He felt that this 30-seconds in the beginning, if done regularly, could make a difference in the general behavior of the children. On Monday morning, Olive and I went to Jecklin, a big music instrument store in the city, to try to find a singing bowl. (Going into the city is no small feat for us. It’s a once-a-month sort of thing.) They didn’t have one in there, but referred me to another shop where I could perhaps find one. We didn’t have time to go to the second shop, so we’ll have to schedule another city trip for that.
I'd like one a little bit smaller (image from wikipedia)
In any case, one often has to make do with what one has at hand. I didn’t have my singing bowl, but I do have a 200-hour Anusara yoga teacher training course under my belt. So I thought to try starting the class with some yoga to get the children more grounded. We did parts of Sun Salutation A (from Tadasana, raising arms to the sky on inhale, stretching as far as you can upwards, then deep exhale as you bend down, hanging there for a while) a few times. The children loved the yoga. They love everything new. It went great until we tried Tree Pose, and they fell over each other and Diego started to cry. For next week, I’ll replace Tree Pose with something more grounding. Perhaps Baddha Konasana, Paschimotanasana, or Child’s Pose. Second take-home lesson for the day: no balancing poses for kids if the goal is to calm them down.