My last posting was about using mindful breathing and body mediation and reflecting on the process to help focus my students minds when deciding on meaningful action to take as a result of their learning (which was an interdisciplinary unit with Language A English, Humanities, and Science).
After another mindful breathing and body mediation session, as described by Alan Wallace, the question they were focusing on was “How can we help communities ensure access to the resources they need?”.
Various students had already taken individual action as part of this unit, but this posting is about some of the action they decided to take as a group.
Some students took time to think about this question by themselves and others discussed in small groups. After some brainstorming time, we discussed ideas as a whole group.
One of the students had learned about a “water challenge” as a result of reading A Long Walk To Water by Linda Sue Park. He had shared the idea in class earlier, but during this session the idea seemed to take hold of the majority of the group.
The water challenge has specific rules, but the students used that as a base to form their own challenge…here it is:
- For 10 days, drink only water for beverages
- Any money that normally would have been spent on those beverages is saved to support a water project
- Donate the money to the project or use the money to create your own project
I really like the fact that this “fund-raising” activity requires sacrifice and mindfulness of the students…not just asking their parents for money.
Then, students decided what we would do with the funds we raised. From the students ideas, there seemed to be three ideas forming.
- Donate the money to the Water for Sudan project which drills water wells in villages in Sudan
- Donate the money to purchase some Life Straws and donate them to communities that do not always have fresh water, but have water
- Donate the money to local flood victims in our community (these students were mindful about “thinking globally and acting locally”)
I took the challenge as well and am proud to say I have only drank water for the past 10 days, as a result I have saved at least 1500 baht (a little over 40 USD) from my own spending. Students had varied success, but that is okay, the idea is planted and school is about having chances to try things that don’t always work out, then reflect on why. We’ll keep coming back to mindful action as the year goes on…
I feel good about the money I’ve donated, but the real experience for me was the new perspective I have gained about how “un-mindful” I am with what I drink…a good lesson to myself about what I need and what I want!
For more information about the water challenge, visit this Water for Sudan website and/or view this video below. Additionally, I have included a video interview with Linda Sue Park about her experience writing the book and working with Salva Dut (the main character of the book).