Many of us mindfulness practitioners have children or grandchildren – some of them are young adults, like my own 18 year old daughter.
Before we had her my husband and I did talk about whether it was OK to bring a child into the world. But it was just after the fresh Tony Blair government came to power and we really believed that ‘Things could only get better!’ We had no idea that she would come to adulthood at such a difficult time – especially for the young. Research from the Prince’s Trust (click here) reveals that young people’s well-being is in decline. Like many of us, they feel that they don’t have control in their lives and feel trapped.
To me it seems that many of them work so hard and under immense pressure at their school and university, with the associated student debt, and for what? For many it is to work in an insecure, meaningless job for long hours for a wage which won’t even enable them to have a nice home in which to raise a family should they wish to. They have been bombarded with junk materialistic and celebrity values all their lives telling them to buy endless crap in order to show they are a success in the world. How did we get here?
This was really brought home to me this week, as one of my daughter’s school friends committed suicide at his university just as he was due to return home for the Easter break.
At first I was shocked, then desperately sad for his family, then worried for the rest of this group of friends- some of whom are already struggling with the transition of being at university. Then I was angry – angry about the society and culture in which our young adults have to find their way. I was sad that I was in India and wasn’t at home and there to be with her, although we were able to FaceTime a few times.
So I spent time doing tonglen compassion practice for all concerned and a resolve arose in me – a resolve to do what I can to help our young people. So what can we do?
At the MA, we have a version of our Mindfulness Based Living Course for Young Adults (MBLC-YA) – for 11 to 18 year olds – and we have a teacher training retreat in July (click here) and so I want to encourage anyone who has a strong motivation to help our young adults (and who has done the introductory teaching skills training or the first year end retreat of the MSc in Mindfulness with the University of Aberdeen (click here) to enroll on this course. Those of you who are already assessed as ready to teach the MBLC won’t be assessed again and the retreat will count as your annual retreat for CPD purposes.
The cynical among you may think I just want to sell some retreat places, but the MA is a not for profit organisation, that aims to keep our training as reasonably priced as possible and any profits we make will be reinvested or donated to The Everyone Project to fund mindfulness courses (including the MBLC-YA) for those who otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to learn mindfulness.
Are you inspired to help our young people? The MBLC-YA has an emphasis on training in self compassion and includes a session on life values. We hope the training will enhance the resilience of young people, enable them to embrace and learn from their inevitable mistakes and enable them to flourish and lead a meaningful life based on their true values rather than the junk ones they get from the media.
If you want to help to fund an MBLC-YA course through The Everyone Project we will be having a crowd funding drive shortly to which you can contribute. I will let you know the details in this blog – so watch this space!
So I hope you will join me in my wish to help the young ones in our society. If you know anyone that might benefit, you could at least recommend them the MBLC-YA app, which is completely free and is available on the app or google play stores.
Also, talk to them, connect with them to see if you can support them to be clear about their true values and to support them in their aspirations. Tell them about your biggest mistakes and setbacks and how you learned from them so that they come to know that mistakes and setbacks are a normal part of life and not the end of the world. Be a back- up for them, with financial support or a place to stay so that they feel more secure to take a risk and follow their dreams. I will be doing the best I can to do this for my daughter and her friends – what better way to use the resources I am fortunate enough to have at my disposal.
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