Ignorant Parents Prefer Bullying To Buddhism
Can practicing mindfulness make kids less likely to bully one another? Maybe; there certainly isn’t anything wrong with putting it into practice. Not unless you’re horrified at the prospect of your kids learning a technique that originated in a different culture, at least. Parents? If the worst thing you have to worry about your kid getting exposed to at school is a little Buddhist meditation, then you should be grateful. There are a lot of worse things that could be happening to them. Like getting bullied, for example.
Some parents of students at Riversdale School in New Zealand have flipped their lid after finding out that the school is thinking about introducing the practice of mindfulness to their students in the interests of shutting down bullying. Despite the protests of a clerk from a local church that it wasn’t just Christian parents who were upset, the primary objection so far seems to be that the practice of mindfulness is related to Buddhism. And that’s bad because … Buddhism, apparently. Not that teaching kids to meditate has to touch on the connection to Buddhist origins at all; there’s nothing inherently religious about taking time out of your day to think about your emotions and actions. But for those who are convinced Buddhism is different and therefore scary (if not outright satanic) there’s not a lot you can say to convince them of this fact.
The chairman of the school district’s board of trustees commented that bullying was “no worse at Riversdale School than at any other school”, which isn’t exactly an argument against instituting mindfulness. Bullying is pretty bad in a lot of schools! I don’t know if teaching kids about mindfulness is going to help anything, but I’d rather that they had a slightly better chance to go home at the end of the day feeling safe and happy; even if it means certain parents have to have a tough talk with their kids about the fact that other religions exist in the world. If it’s hard for you to explain to your daughter that Buddhism is a thing, just not something you personally believe in, imagine having to explain that she has to go back to school the next day even though her bully will be there waiting to make her day as miserable as possible. Now, which would you rather do?
Besides, if your objection to learning mindfulness is that it comes from a culture with different beliefs than yours, I have some bad news for you: you’d better pull your kid out of algebra class (invented by ancient Persians), spelling (the Latin alphabet? Come on, we all know what crazy shenanigans those ancient Romans got up to), and of course most of world history has to go right out the door (Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Communists?! Not in my kid’s history book). If you feel that strongly about mindfulness, maybe you should pull your kid out of public school and educate them at home; preferably with a textbook issued by Bob Jones University. And look on the bright side, at least if they’re home-schooled, they won’t get bullied by other kids.
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