Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Classes with a Difference   Leave a comment

shutterstock_105508592Children today are growing up in a vastly different world to the one their parents experienced. The fast pace of technological change, the lure of social media, the prevalence of alcohol, the easy availability of drugs and even the sensational reporting of world events all put pressures on our youth. Today more than ever our young people need to have a strong moral compass to help them make wise decisions, and an inner resilience that helps them meet life’s challenges and rise above adversity. Hara Estroff Marano, Editor-at-Large for Psychology Today, wrote in her article “The Art of Resilience”: “At the heart of resilience is a belief in oneself—yet also a belief in something larger than oneself. Resilient people do not let adversity define them. They find resilience by moving towards a goal beyond themselves, transcending pain and grief …” So how do we fortify our children and develop in them an understanding of their innate ability to rise above adversity?

At the Christian Science Sunday School we do just that. In small groups with a teacher, students discuss the qualities that make life work. Lessons are based around the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus including the Lord’s Prayer. Students discuss the issues that come up in their own lives in light of these invaluable moral guides.

Classes for students from pre-school up to age 20 are held every Sunday at 10.00 am. Babies are cared for in the creche. New students are always welcome. The Sunday School is located with the Christian Science Church at the corner of Macquarie and Bligh Streets in Barton.

Classes with Care   Leave a comment

shutterstock_81539152One Saturday morning I was standing in the foyer of a young peoples’ theatre. Students were gathering for their weekly drama lesson. A teacher who had been away the previous several lessons arrived. I watched as one by one children sidled over to her.
“I did my piano exam,” one told her.
“I’ve auditioned for an arts program.”
“I lost my tooth.”
Their teacher embraced each with a comment, or smile, or hug – an affirmation of value. Children know when teachers or coaches care for them and they shine under this attention. Apart from the instruction in drama, football, or swimming, this is also of real value.

As kids become adolescents they enjoy finding people that care for them enough to verbally spar with them, let them exercise their wit, reason and questioning of the world. They want teachers, coaches, friends and neighbours to care enough not to always agree with them as they develop their own unique identities. Finding a variety of situations where this can safely happen can be a challenge.

In the Christian Science Sunday School time is given for the fostering of caring respectful relationships. Grouped around similar ages up to 20, a teacher or facilitator typically stays for two to three years. Relevant ideas from unique thinkers in the Bible and the book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, prompt discussion.

Along with a pre-teen group, I was part of an exploration of an idea from this book: ‘The divine Mind maintains all identities, from a blade of grass to a star, as distinct and eternal.’ There were no right or wrong answers. It included a discovery of our spiritual identity, our pets and the local water-ways!
This group grew in confidence at school and in extra-curricular activities. They uncovered something about their spiritual identity. As part of the group I learned about soccer umpiring, teenage movies, pokemon and mine-craft. Our regular one-hour a week together was a cheerful win-win all round!

In Canberra the Christian Science Sunday School operates every Sunday 10.00 – 11.00 am. It is located at the corner of Macquarie and Bligh Street in Barton. Visitors and new pupils up to the age of 20 are warmly welcomed. Instruction in classes is based on the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer.

Reading Your Way to Good Mental Health   Leave a comment

Young Woman Reading and Studying.What would you think if you went along to a doctor and you were prescribed a self-help book instead of medication? Well, that’s not so far-fetched as you might think.

A new project initiated by the UK’s The Reading Agency called the Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme, has doctors now prescribing books to patients with mental health problems such as anger, anxiety, binge eating, depression,  obsessions and compulsions, panic attacks, phobias, self-esteem, stress and worry.

The scheme, which works within the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence  guidelines, and is backed by the Royal Colleges of GPs, Nursing and Psychiatry, the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies and the Department of Health, aims to bring reading’s healing benefits to sufferers of anxiety and depression.

According to the Reading Agency, there is growing evidence showing that self-help reading can help people with certain mental health conditions get better.”  GPs and mental health professionals can prescribe patients a visit to the library, where they show their prescription for one or more of 30 endorsed books with acknowledged cognitive behavioural therapy  benefits.

Books on Prescription has made it to New Zealand. It’s also being implemented at Boab Health Services in outback Australia’s Kimberley region. Boab says, “… the best self-help books can be highly effective … Many practitioners regularly recommend particular books to their clients or patients … The use of self-help books is known as ‘bibliotherapy’.” … a  coined term “for the therapeutic use of books in the treatment of illness or personal problems. Evidence in the UK, suggests that bibliotherapy has a therapeutic benefit for people experiencing common mental health issues.”

Books as medicine, sounds like it could be good news for many in the community. Some people have told me that being treated with drugs for mental health issues has led to other problems, such as adverse side-effects and dependency.  With that in mind, reading a self-help book could just be “what the doctor ordered”.

But help can’t be found in just any old tome.  If you want to improve your mental wellbeing, you might want to choose a book that has a proven track record. For example, it could be one that’s been around for a long time, has been read by many people around the world, and has perhaps even received testimonials regarding its practicality and effectiveness.

Another way to gauge a good self-help book is to ask if it’s one that brings inspiration, gives you a lift, encourages you to change your thinking or life-style, shows you how to be fearless and calm in difficult situations, or strengthens your mental resilience.

I can certainly testify that reading a self-help book is beneficial. Over the years I’ve referred to my two all-time favourites – the Scriptures and Science and Health, almost every day. These books have provided me with lots of practical ideas and helped me focus my thinking on life-changing spiritual ideas.  As a result, many times my exact need has been met. I’ve found uplifting, empowering concepts that have enabled me to beat anxiety or stress and lead a happier, healthier life.

Today, a growing number of people are turning to books that discuss the mind-body connection or explain the relationship between consciousness and experience.  This can be seen in the burgeoning number of books and magazines devoted to such topics. It seems that there is even a desire to explore a spiritually mental approach to mental and emotional health issues through books on meditation and prayer.

All of this interest augers well for the future of mental health. It’s quite possible that somewhere down the track, books will also be prescribed to people who suffer chronic pain or fatigue, or perhaps have relationship problems.  Stay tuned for more news on this front.  Books as medicine? I can’t think of a better prescription.

This article by Beverly Goldsmith was originally published on her blog site Spirituality and Health Connect. Beverly is a Melbourne-based health writer who provides a diversity of health content on how spirituality and thought affect health.

Children Develop Spirituality   Leave a comment

shutterstock_123166411A research on Google reveals a multitude of studies that make links between student academic success and the development of spirituality in a religious context.

Studies have found those with gratitude are more likely to have a high grade point average.”

Children who are encouraged to know their spiritual identity find a valuable poise reflected in both academic and secular activities.  In general, students are found to be more successful, resilient and happy.

There have also been studies by psychologists and sociologists on gratitude.  According to the Christian Science Monitor, if you’re grateful, you are more likely to be happy.

It stated that grateful people are more helpful, more satisfied with life and have better friendships.  It said studies have found those with gratitude are more likely to have a higher grade point average.  They tend to be healthier both physically and mentally.

At the Christian Science Sunday School, gratitude for good is fostered along with deep reflection on the nature of God as a law of eternal truth, as well as an all-encompassing divine love.

The Sunday School operates around small discussion groups with students, up to the age of 20, who are encouraged to discover and demonstrate more of their spiritual self as described in the Bible.

Choosing a religious educational context for children is important. It can encourage the life of the child and the community. To find out more about the Christians Science Sunday School in Canberra visit the Christian Science Canberra website.

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