A Public Response to My Article on Bullying, Mindfulness, and Gifted Kids

My friend Barry Gelston, who provides math instruction for homeschool kids–including many gifted/twice-exceptional kids, has published a response to my last post on his Tumblr:

Buddhists separate out pain from suffering. One can feel pain, but it is up to us how we manage our relationship to pain. It is this point where westerners have engaged mindfulness. How do we take the pain in our lives and control our suffering from the pain? The pain may be beyond our control, but how do we manage our relationship to the pain we are experiencing for ourselves and those around us?

The tool of mindfulness is used to disconnect pain from suffering. One does not need to meditate to be mindful, however, meditation is a useful tool in learning how to focus and control our attention. It is this control of our attention that is the essence of mindfulness and provides us the greatest value for children as Pamela asserts in her article.

When we address mindfulness at this level, we can see the similarity to the skills needed in self-regulation used in Executive Functioning management. In education, I would argue that our main role as educators is to support executive functioning regulation in our learners so that they are self-directed learners who are able to manage themselves 1) as learners and 2) as members of the learning community. [ Read More ]

I love that Barry made the connection to executive functioning, and I think he’s SPOT ON. In fact, at some point I want to circle back to discuss how the rise of improved executive function in my own life coincided with decreased frustration with relational aggression, including bullying. But for now, just go read what Barry wrote and let us know what you think!

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