Given some of the emotional struggles I witness in my students and my own kids, I am always looking for ways to better teach them social-emotional skills, in the hopes of better equipping them to deal with stress and big emotions. I am also a big fan of teaching kids about the brain and how it works. I had heard about and leafed through the MindUP program developed by the Hawn foundation, which does just that, so when I came across Goldie Hawn’s 10 Mindful Minutes, it seemed like a good book for me. I had also recently seen Goldie Hawn interviewed on t.v. and liked what she had to say. This interview is also when I stopped seeing her as Marianne from Bird on a Wire and instead, started seeing her as someone genuinely interested in kids and their social-emotional development. It also helped that the forward for her book was written by Daniel Siegel, one of my favourite authors, who also believes in teaching kids about the brain (see more about his book The Whole-Brain Child here).
I read Goldie’s book from front to back in no time. Although it was a very easy, light, enjoyable read, and a nice way to kick off my holiday reading, whether or not I would recommend the book would really depend on who was asking, and what they were hoping to gain from reading it. Here’s why.
The book shares research-based information about the benefits of mindfulness and does so in plain English, completely avoiding scientific jargon. Yay! Each chapter provides good strategies on how to teach kids (and adults) how to slow down and be more mindful in everyday living. Yay! Goldie also shares personal reflections and stories of parenting which add a human element to the book. Her recollections seemed genuine, were relatable, and I quite enjoyed reading them. Yay again!
While I enjoyed reading her book, it wasn’t quite enough for me. Her suggestions and ideas shared throughout the book were good, but nothing new to me really, and the teacher side of me was left wanting more. Darn! I was also disappointed that the ideas and strategies didn’t really stand out in any way in each chapter. Consequently, it will take quite a bit of re-reading to go back and find them should I want to use them. I regret not reading with post-it page markers at my side. Darn!
Yays win by a margin, so would I recommend this book? If you’re a parent or educator with decent knowledge of mindfulness, or you’re looking for more detailed and organized step-by-step lessons to work through with your students/children, then no, this is definitely not that book. If, however, you are an educator or parent with little to no knowledge of mindfulness and want to learn more, then yes, definitely! Equally yes if you are looking for a light, easy read and a reminder of the importance of living mindfully—the very reason I am likely to re-read it someday! And because I like her ideas and way of thinking, I will definitely be taking a closer look at her MindUP program to see if it can offer a little bit more of what I am looking for.
What resources or programs are you using to teach your students (or your own children) social-emotional skills and mindfulness?