It was close to midnight, my son still struggled to fall asleep. He asked me to snuggle with him. I laid down on the floor on his home camping spot since my niece took over his bedroom, and a friend is staying with us and taking over the guest room. I wrapped one arm around his tommy, he bursted into sobs.
“I’m so lonely. My friends are the only ones who understand me in my world. I can’t see them with my own eyes.” He complained. “Awwww, baby! Didn’t you FaceTime them for three hours today?” I knew this kind of comforting was useless, for some reason, I still said it. “But, it’s different. You don’t understand me.” He protested and got sadder. I wrapped my arm tighter around his waist and asked: “What could make you feel better?” “I don’t know! I am worried that it would be a very long time before I could walk down the halls at USM…”
I kissed him on the forehead, “It does feel lonely to be the only child at home, and feel scary for not knowing when it all ends, yes?” He paused a little. “You worked so hard with dad in the yard and started to prepare the vegetable garden, shell we plan one plant for each of your friends, then we will have a garden of your friends at home, what do you think?” I suggested eagerly. “Maybe… I’ll think about it.” I stopped talking, pulled him even closer, and kissed him repeatedly, a few minutes later, he fell asleep.
I’m not an expert at handling and talking about emotions. There are times, I even choose to run away from my own emotions. Often, when I get too overwhelmed by others’ emotions, I shut off or tune out.
As more COVID-19 cases ramp up around the global, more and more kids are stuck home out of their normal routine, a sense of out of control, the feeling of uncertainty, fear, loneliness, frustration and stress… are inevitable. My husband and my friend reported the loss of sleeps, I got restless when I couldn’t take walks, then I became more agitated. Next Tuesday, we will be officially “over” our spring break and resume classes online. I wonder how my classes could be effective. I fear whether my family members might walk into my virtual class in an underwear, or like in some trending videos, people honestly forgot they were on camera and started going to bathroom alive…
The most challenging task is how to bring comfort and support to my students. Back in 2013, I took my first mindfulness class from the Mindful Schools. I remember how helpful the exercise of mindful emotions is. Researches show that when we acknowledge and accept whatever we are feeling and experiencing, it helps us to reinstall a sense of wellbeing.
I have been thinking of my class routine online, as Bill VanPatten has repeatedly said, “Language is too complex and abstract to teach as a subject.” I wonder how my classes could really meet the needs of students during this turbulent time. Then, one idea popped into my head. Let’s talk about emotions as a part of an opening routine.
- Mindful Journal: Looking at the Wheel of Emotions, in your Google doc, please complete the following phrases:
- Mindful emotions: in small breakout rooms (Zoom has this feature), or as a big group, students use the Wheel of Emotions to share about their feelings and emotions, we will set up a body system for them to check in with each other.
- Introducing new materials plus various activities.
- Closing: Loving-kindness meditation.
The Wheel of Emotions is not in a perfect design yet. It took me more than 15 hours to watch countless online tutorial videos, and tried relentlessly all day yesterday to get it together. There are PDF versions in English and Chinese as well as English and Pinyin. A blank editable version and an English editable version are provided as well.
Wish you a mindful day! I hope talking about emotions can bring some calmness and peaceful in little ones’ hearts.