by Lisa McKenzie, Choose Love Curriculum Writer & California Ambassador
Educators have that gift – we can connect with one another because we share a mission and we have empathy and compassion. Sharing the Choose Love Formula with teachers makes me feel like I can do something to support them during these extremely difficult times. Even via Zoom, there is a connection.
My favorite Choose Love lesson is “Courage and the Brain.” I’ve seen such transformations happen when kids realize their brains cause their actions and that they can change their brains by changing their thoughts. The lesson shares some simple science teaching kids about parts of the brain using the Triune Model of the Brain. Students learn about how their brain responds to strong emotions, in particular fear and anger. Teaching them how their brains and bodies respond helps them learn how to manage their emotions and regulate their impulses. A simple phrase, “Leave the Lizard, Nudge the Numbat, Hug the Human” reminds and prompts students to manage their emotions and effectively control their impulses to make appropriate choices.
I started teaching the curriculum during its pilot, and use the Choose Love Formula in my life EVERY DAY!! I share the message with everyone. It’s a practice so it’s meant to be something we do every day. Since I’ve been choosing love, I see the good in the world. I see the future in my students, and that brings me joy and comfort that the world will be okay.
A few tips that I can share with other educators that I find helpful include:
- Teach every child as if he/she were your own.
- Realize that you can give your very best every day and that you may not see the fruits of your labor, but they’re there and will show up later in your students’ lives.
- Take care of YOU! You cannot be there for others if you are not there for you. Find what your soul needs. I have an adventurous spirit. I love to skydive and scuba dive, and I’ve climbed Half Dome four times. Sometimes that risk-taking is just what my soul needs. It leads me to peace.