Friday, 20 July 2018

How to become our best, most authentic self?

I was listening to the Typology Podcast   about how to become our best, most authentic self – and I was hooked. I thought this is a great way to support the Religious Education curriculum for our students. It is so important to “begin with the end in mind”! (Thank you to Stephen Covey and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.) So how do we help every student to become their ‘best self’?

Rabbi Evan Moffic wrote a book called ‘The Happiness Prayer – Ancient Jewish Wisdom for the Best Way to Live Today’.  The Happiness Prayer is a Hebrew prayer written over 2000 years ago, but according to Rabbi Evan, it is still perfect for today. “Happiness is not always pleasure. It is not always easy. It is connection.”

A review of this book on the Huffington Post by Nell Minow,  says that Rabbi Evan Moffic “begins each day with an ancient prayer, but could just as easily be called meditation or a mindfulness exercise. It is just a way to connect to essential elements for happiness: purpose, meaning, direction, and gratitude. The prayer calls on us to honour our parents, to keep learning, to comfort others, and to recognise the sources of joy in our lives…”

Rabbi Moffic says that we can get addicted to stress and victimhood. Happiness is a choice we have to make and it takes certain actions. Focussing on The Happiness Prayer is a way to realign our lives to help us find happiness.

Here is a paraphrase of the Happiness Prayer from Lisa notes
How will you find happiness in this world and peace in the world to come? By learning these wisdom practices from your ancestors:
  • Honour those who gave you life
  • Be kind
  • Keep learning
  • Invite others into your life
  • Be there when others need you
  • Celebrate good times
  • Support yourself and others during times of loss
  • Pray with intention
  • Forgive
  • Look inside and commit
It is the little things or the habits which lead to happiness, according to Rabbi Moffic. He teaches that it is the ongoing, consistent attention to these practices that will make us happier. Just as the action of the water will reshape a rock, these practices will reshape our soul. It is not the once in a lifetime really magnificent events that will change us, but rather it is the consistent attention to these practices that will transform our character.

You might like to take time to share this with your students. This could be fabulous as part of a sermon, or indeed, a lesson for Religious Education. You could easily link this to your Character Education focus as well. It is filled with teachable moments and great wisdom.

As you reflect on these ideas, challenge your students with some big questions.
v  So what is happiness? The ancient Greeks defined happiness as the joy you feel moving towards your potential. Do we agree?
v  Is happiness the same as pleasure?
v  Is there a connection between faith and happiness?
v  Do you need faith to be happy?
v  What practices lead to a life of joy and happiness?
v  What is the connection between happiness and success?
v  What is it about religion that makes spiritual people happier?

Rabbi Moffic has a fabulous way to dovetail positive psychology with spiritual truths as he explains the ancient Jewish guidelines for following God and in turn, achieving happiness. If we seek to find ‘shalom’peace, inner harmony, wholeness and ultimate wellbeing, then taking time to read The Happiness Prayer: Ancient Jewish Wisdom for the Best Way to Live Today might be just the answer!

Monday, 9 July 2018

NAIDOC Week 2018 - Because of her, we can!

"NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. The week is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community."

"NAIDOC originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’. This committee was once responsible for organising national activities during NAIDOC Week and its acronym has since become the name of the week itself."

The NAIDOC week site has some resources that can be used in the classroom. Find them here.

The theme for 2018 is "Because of her, we can"