Category Archives: Mindfulness

To Resist, Use DARE. Written by: Nelson C’19

By: Nelson C ’19

Dare has influenced me greatly this year and has made me a more confident person when it comes to being in a tricky situation. We, the sixth graders, have learned so much in DARE class and know what to do in situations involving drugs, resistance, stress, and bullying. DARE has changed my perspective on stressful and negative events. From my DARE classes with Officer Ammaturo, I now know what I will do when I am faced with extreme choices and pressure. Without the knowledge and experience that comes with the DARE sessions, it would be hard to handle the unsuspecting turns and thrills we call life.

Situations such as drugs, stress, resistance and bullying can affect our personalities and lives greatly. Alcohol kills seventy-five thousand people a year in the United States alone. Alcoholic beverages can cause loss of coordination, memory loss, slow reflexes, and loss of self-control. It weakens the heart and can damage every organ in your body. Smoking kills more than four hundred-fifty thousand people a year in America. Whether you are using cigarettes, cigars, the pipe, vape pens, or Juul, tobacco contains nicotine which causes heart disease, colds, respiratory problems, lung cancer, tooth damage, and ruined skin. Alcohol and nicotine are both considered a drug and are very addictive. Remember what they can cause, so you can avoid them in the future. This knowledge can save your life.

Stress is another negative problem that you will most likely run into. You may get frustrated, warm, and start to sweat. Having a fast heartbeat and blushing are other symptoms of stress. You may have a temper tantrum when you are stressed. Therefore, it is important to be mindful of your words and not get mad at people who are trying to help you. Possible ways to relieve stressful feelings are breathing deeply and calming yourself with relaxing thoughts. Bullying is probably the most feared negative situation. There are four kinds of bullying: social, verbal, physical, and cyber. Social bullying is delivered by a group of people. Cyberbullying takes place on social media while verbal bullying is with words. Physical bullying is probably the most serious kind and it involves fights and injuries. All forms of bullying can be solved by telling a trusted adult or standing up to the bully. Use your DARE experience to stick up for yourself and others, for resistance is a mountain, and you can use your strength to charge up the first part, but your knowledge will get you to the top.

When I was younger, I would get scared when thinking of bullying, drugs, and stress but thanks to DARE I now know what I will do when faced with challenging choices. If I am ever in a situation involving drugs, I know that I can remind myself about the negative health effects of drugs, use resistance strategies to avoid them, and use the DARE decision-making model. We all know now when in times of uncertainty, to D) define the problem, A) assess the situation, R) respond to the problem, and E) evaluate your decision. As confident people, we should be able to fight against stress and know yourself and your mistakes as well as you know your good points. Life does not focus on mistakes; eventually, you will realize that happiness is the key to a good life. Along with stress, bullying is not an unsolvable matter. It is not something to dread. It can be solved and there are ways to avoid it. Just appreciate the joyful moments, and when a difficult moment comes, harness your rope, hold it tight, and take a big step forward.  The way you approach a situation is the way you overcome it.

Growing up can be stressful and challenging, but I know I can overcome and take care of these situations, so I should not be scared of them.  I can deal with bullying when I am older, and I will strive to be nice to people and not become a bully myself.  Resisting bullying and drugs should be easy if I think of what I know about them and confidently stand up for myself or say no to drugs.  As I get older, I know we will run into these challenges and face them confidently.  To choose the right path is a mediocre problem, to stay on that path is the greatest challenge of life.  Remember DARE and use it wisely, for we are the future and the future is great.

DARE has greatly changed my perspective on many topics including drugs, stress, and bullying.  Along with being confident about what to do in these problems, I have learned what these situations can cause and create.  Resistance is not hard when you learn and experience what can happen in the difficult settings of life.

Mindfulness at Meadowbrook

The new school year has begun and with it comes a wonderful enhancement to our curriculum – Mindfulness.

Michael and Louise Okin apimg_0830proached Head of School, Michael Reardon in the spring.  Their son, Matthew ’92 had recently passed away and they wanted to be sure that he was remembered in a way that benefited the Meadowbrook School community. Louise, a clinical psychiatrist, had been studying mindfulness and had come across the organization Minding Your Mind.  After meeting with one of their speakers, Julie Coopersmith, the Okins became convinced that starting Matthew’s Mindful Moments at Meadowbrook was the perfect way to honor Matthew’s memory.

Mindfulness is the process of bringing one’s attention to the thoughts and experiences occurring in the present moment without judging them and in the name of self-empowerment and joy.  Research has shown that the practice is strongly correlated with health and well-being, as it helps to reduce rumination and worry which both can contribute to depression and anxiety. In addition mindfulness supports self-regulation and teaches skills for stress reduction to support attention and focus. It is, essentially, a skill that contributes to individual resilience: the overcoming of both small and large adversities which our kids face every day.
It was fortuitous that at the same time we were in discussions with the Okins about how to implement Matthew’s Mindful Moment at Meadowbrook that we were able to hire Diana Caramanico as a teaching assistant. While Diana is enhancing our language program and enriching our math program, her passion is mindfulness and positive psychology. In partnership with Julie Coopersmith of Minding Your Mind, Diana has already begun implementing, or “sprinkling”, as Diana calls it, Mindfulness among our students. We will have a Matthew’s Mindful Moment during assemblies and each teacher will be trained so that it can be implemented in every class.
Yesterday was the perfect day to bring Mindfulness to Meadowbrook. Julie visited with the students in grades 1 through 6 and introduced ways to be mindful. First and second graders learned to “take 5 for peace” and experienced taking deep breaths to the letters P-E-A-C-E. Third and fourth graders learned to visualize,  and fifth and sixth graders learned how to focus on the importance of breathing.
The Meadowbrook School is proud to be at the forefront of this educational movement by introducing Mindfulness to our young elementary aged students. With these enhancements to our existing curriculum, we are giving our students the tools they need to be able to overcome adversity and live out our mission; i.e. to be prepared and eager to take on challenges.

Matthew’s Mindful Moment

Mathew’s Mindful Moment is a memorial fund started in memory of Mathew Okin. He was a student at the Meadowbrook School from kindergarten through 6th grade.

The mission is to transform the lives of children by providing vital social and emotional programs. Mindfulness has proven success with reducing stress in children. Also, noted was less aggressive behavior and more tolerance for understanding differences with other children. Academic performance had increased and the ability to concentrate and focus. Mindfulness teaches tools and strategies to help children emotionally regulate and build self-esteem and resilience. Presently, it has been instituted in many schools and over 400, 000 children have participated.

The Okin family is excited to bring mindfulness to the Meadowbrook School. We know that our son Mathew would be aligned with our mission to create a world where children can thrive by teaching mindfulness, positive psychology combined with brain science to all our students, teachers and parents.