I have been asked to create a Stress Management and Performance Enhancement Workshop for parents and their children. While I have had many age groups in my meditation classes over the years, this was an interesting challenge to build a format specifically tailored in this way. This will be an evolving process over the course of the workshop allowing each age group to explore and problem solve their stress management needs within the supportive environment of the group. While different age groups process and experience stress in different ways getting to work in an inter-generational format benefits all.
Meditation is the main tool, although the different stages of brain development of the various age groups within the workshop mean that they will have radically different experiences with it. Our younger participants (I’ve asked that none be younger than 7) will have the easiest time with the visualization/guided portions of the meditations, but may struggle with the quiet focused time, so I have asked that we have a coloring station in an adjoining space so they can slip out if need be, but still remain in a calm playful state, and colouring is a perfect way for them to communicate their experience of the process and express their needs. The benefits for them, outside of the fun they will have in the moment, will be of particular relevance as they head into their teens and retain the techniques they learn in the workshop. Our teen participants who are in the middle of the brain transition from child to adult have already expressed a particular interest in being better able to manage stress during test taking and challenging communication situations with family and friends. Our adult participants have needs spanning the stresses of parenting plus the usual challenges of finances, homemaking, the ups and downs of interpersonal relationships, plus their individual needs based on their life experiences so far. These two groups will fare best with the half hour meditation format, but also benefit by the inclusion of the children for their playful connectedness to their bodies and imaginations help the older folks remember the importance of such things.
As well as the guided meditation with music there is a ten minute window for intro and explanation of that days meditation, with the only real format difference being with the introductory session which will be mostly talking with a relaxation exercises. Outside of that I will make myself available for at least 15 minutes before class and a half an hour after class for one on one interactions with participants so they can ask me questions and I can get a sense of where this groups needs lie on a week to week basis. Being able to understand the forces at work within the body when stressed, and using straightforward, easy to understand tools to react more effectively during these times will be addressed. Working in a no nonsense and fun way, the goal is for younger participants to be left with long term performance enhancement strategies that can be employed into adulthood, and for adults to find ways to ease the challenges that parenting, and life in general, can present.