Thursday, May 19, 2016

Teaching Huna To Children

From time to time I am asked whether any books or courses have been designed and presented by anyone specifically for children, or whether I might consider doing one.

In the first place, I think it would be great if someone would do that (and let me know so I can tell people who's doing it). In the second place, I wouldn't do it myself because I think Huna is so simple that anyone of any perceptive age can understand and apply it. As a matter of fact, most of the time when I'm teaching adults I have to make it more complicated than it really is so they'll accept it. It's often the case that when Huna is presented as simply as it really is, scientifically-trained and intellectually-conditioned people tend to dismiss it as not worth pursuing.

When parents ask me if their children can attend one of my courses I always say yes, as long as they are interested enough to participate in the excercises, discussions and questions. The youngest participant I ever had in a Huna workshop was a young boy of five and a half. He turned out to be one of the best students, with the most vivid experiences and some of the best questions. The only thing I had to make allowance for was his meditation technique of quietly rolling back and forth underneath his mother's chair.

Personally, I don't find any need for a special course just for children (although some parents might). Children have the same basic kinds of problems that adults have (love, fear, anger, success, etc.) and the same desire to be happier and more effective. As long as a child has something he or she wants to change, then they are ready for Huna.

Naturally, it's important to tailor your language to your audience. When I'm teaching a group of mostly adults with a few children I make it a point to include examples the children can relate to, and to cut down on intellectual discussions so they don't get too bored. When I'm teaching a group of mostly children with a few adults I include examples the adults can relate to and toss in an intellectual idea or two so they don't get bored. And I allow both adults and children the freedom to come and go as they please, using the theory that you are only going to learn what you are interested in anyway. Part of my job as a teacher is to make it as interesting as possible for all the participants, but I'm not obsessive about it.

If I were going to teach the Seven Principles to a group of children I would probably re-word them a bit. After all, there is nothing sacred about the wording. As long as you get the concept across you are being true to their spirit. So I might state them in the following alternate ways:
1. The world is what you think it is - How you feel depends on how you think.
2. There are no limits - Everything hears what you say and feels what you feel.
3. Energy flows where attention goes - What you want is more important than what you don't want.
4. Now is the moment of power - Things don't happen yesterday and they don't happen tomorrow; they only happen right now.
5. To love is to be happy with... - The more happy you are, the more lucky you are.
6. All power comes from within - There's always something you can do.
7. Effectiveness is the measure of truth - Always do what works (and if what you do doesn't work, do something different).

These are just suggestions, of course. In a particular situation or for a particular group I might change them in another way.

Children (like adults) tend to be very responsive to imagery, and that means it's important to use a lot of descriptive words full of sensory content when you are explaining something or leading a meditation or other inner experience, because the more abstract you are the less impression you make. Take this line from a guided meditation I've heard: "Now you are in a wonderful place where everyone is happy." Well-meaning, but it doesn't really evoke anything. Here's a more evocative alternative: "Now you are in a park where birds are singing beside a waterfall surrounded by pretty flowers, and lots of children are playing games and laughing." The guideline here is to describe something that could be a specific place or event, and not just any place or any event.

With children in your audience (and certain adults) it's also a good idea to allow for more movement than you might ordinarily. Most adults in modern society have been thoroughly trained over many years to sit quietly in a class situation. Human learning, however, occurs much faster and is remembered better when both mind and body are involved in the process, and children know this instinctively. When children are in my audience I let them do whatever they want, as long as it's not disruptive to the class as a whole. Over the years I've learned that some people learn better when they are walking, lying down, looking away from me or just moving rhythmically. Since children are more apt to be this way than adults I give them as much leeway as possible.

Children don't have to be educated differently because they are children. They have to be educated in a way that allows for their language level, their concerns, and their ability to learn in ways that work for all humans, regardless of age.

1 comment:

  1. Doing it here