Tag Archives: family

Midterm Break Message

Let Them Do Nothing!

by Kru Michel, Primary School Principal

With a school break approaching, kids are often looking forward to lots of computer or TV time while parents start scheduling activities and fill up the schedule so no one gets bored. Nothing wrong with joining a club or playing video games but there is one important activity that is usually overlooked: doing nothing!

You might have heard that “The Devil finds work for idle hands”. That could be why we think we should keep our kids busy at all times. However, research shows that creativity and inner peace are more likely to arise during free exploration play. Daydreaming is apparently also linked to better emotional control and the ability to deal with frustration. Read more

Unfortunately, in wanting to make sure our children are not bored, we overschedule their time or give in to their request to have more computer or TV time.

“Middle-class children in America are so overscheduled that they have almost no ‘nothing time.’ They have no time to call on their own resources and be creative. Creativity is making something out of nothing, and it takes time for that to happen,” says Diane Ehrensaft, Ph.D., a developmental and clinical psychologist and professor at The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. Read more

Signs that a child is too busy:

    1. Sleep is disturbed.
    1. Your child has emotional outbursts or displays frustration and anxiety.
    1. He misses spending time with parents, family and friends.
    1. She cheers when a lesson or practice is cancelled.
    1. Performance at school declines. Click to Read more

So, when school is out, provide your child with ample time to be “bored”, time where no computer, tv or organised activities are available, time where they will have to figure out what to do and therefore start enjoying simple activities they would not get to enjoy otherwise.

Also, I wish you have a great vacation with a lot of new experiences.

Looking forward to seeing you again on 17th April!

 

Panyaden 12 Wise Habits 2016

Panyden Wise Habit Mattannuta session at school

Mattannuta

by School Director, Neil Amas

Mattannuta (pronounced ma‐tan‐yoo‐ta มัตตัญญุตา) means ‘knowing the right amount’. When practised, it helps us achieve a healthy balance in life. It is the quality of understanding that, whatever goals we set ourselves, there is an optimum amount of material and non‐material things that we need. It is the ability to assess what is enough, and to know when we are being over‐demanding on ourselves, others or our environment.

phra-payutto
Phra Prom Kunaporn

The Buddha taught that the middle path should be followed by both body and mind. It is a path of neither sensory indulgence nor extreme austerity, but rather one of thoughtful moderation and balance. This does not only refer to specific actions or thoughts in isolation, for example, consuming the right amount of food, but also to achieving the right balance between all the different things we do each day and throughout our lives.

To illustrate this, Phra Prom Kunaporn refers to the importance of balancing the five indriya, or spiritual faculties: conviction (saddha), perseverance (viriya), mindfulness (sati), concentration (samadhi) and wisdom (panya). For example, if our conviction or faith is very strong but we do not use wisdom, we have a tendency to become gullible, a person who follows without question. Conversely, high intelligence but little faith leads to scepticism, and an inability to look inside oneself for the truth. If our perseverance is strong but our concentration is weak, we are likely to become agitated and stressed. Too much concentration and insufficient perseverance, on the other hand, leads to excessive daydreaming or idleness. To find the right balance between these, we need to use the faculty of mindfulness (sati) to observe and manage the impulses that habitually drive our actions and thoughts.

In today’s world of branded ‘must-haves’ and ubiquitous advertising, teaching the new generation how to consume the right amount is very important. Natural resources are stretched and we are experiencing increasing environmental degradation. Understanding mattannuta, therefore, is vital for our students as they grow up and shape the future of our society and our world. Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro counsels that if we think more is better simply in order to make our lives more comfortable, we will end up just wanting more and more and will never be satisfied. His advice is to encourage children to work out the mattannuta point for themselves. Whether eating, sleeping, studying, playing, using the computer or talking, the ability to find optimal balance through self-regulation is a skill which will lead to maturity and social responsibility. This means not dictating the rules to children, but rather helping them see the results of too much sleep – irritability and heaviness – or not enough – drowsiness and the inability to concentrate, or over-eating – stomach ache – and so on. When we ask our children how much sleep they think they need, how much food they should eat, instead of routinely imposing our own limits, they begin to understand mattannuta. If we encourage children to persevere for just another five minutes on a task they are bored with or wish to avoid, or to stop doing something they really crave a little earlier than they would like, this further helps put into focus the pushes and pulls of the mind and the benefits of balance.

Ven. Ajahn Jayasaro, Panyaden International School spiritual advisor
Ven. Ajahn Jayasaro

Venerable Jayasaro suggests that a family which practices mattannuta is one where parents and children are able to come to mutually acceptable agreements. This means deciding how long we think children should watch TV or play on the computer, for example, but also respecting our child’s ability to think for himself and come to a sensible agreement on the right amount of time. When the time has passed, we simply remind our child of the agreement. In this age of ever-increasing ‘screen time’, as adults we also need to reflect on the amount of time we spend on ‘smart’ phones or laptops in the presence of children, and the message we are giving them about what we consider to be important.

Mattannuta means understanding that any goals we set should take into account the optimum balance of supporting factors required to achieve the most beneficial result for ourselves, others and the environment. Practising mattannuta helps us to understand the desires and aversions created by our mind, and that understanding, in turn, increases the peaceful moments we experience. Mattannuta is, therefore, a vitally important wise habit to teach our children, but also to practice ourselves if we are to achieve true balance in our lives.

lotus2 transparentClick here for article in Thai: มัตตัญญุตา

Panyaden 12 Wise Habits 2015

Caga

by Neil Amas, Panyaden School Director

DSCF9031 Gifts for Sri Nehru School donated by Panyaden School parents, students and staff
Gifts for Sri Nehru School donated by Panyaden parents, students and staff

Caga (pronounced jaa-ka) means generosity. It is the quality of delighting in the act of giving, sharing or relinquishing and expecting nothing in return; it is when the love of giving becomes a virtue in itself. Caga is being generous not only with material things but also with your time, your energy, your forgiveness, and your willingness to be fair and just with other people. It is the opposite of selfishness, stinginess, being attached to me and my things, needs or views, and, as such, caga also means to give up those thoughts and habits.

Dana (giving or gift) is the external manifestation of the internal quality of caga. While giving can be done without generosity, such as in order to get something in return or for the promise of a future reward, dana that is motivated by caga is so much greater. Giving up the unwholesome thoughts that prevent generosity, such as meanness and unwillingness to forgive, are also qualities of caga. They are a ‘gift’ to ourselves.

In Buddhist teachings, caga is seen as the foundation of dhamma practice, a pre-condition for sila-samadhi-panya (the Noble Eightfold Path). A mind expanded by generosity is better able to generate the effort and motivation needed to take on the tribulations of life than one constricted by the narrow confines of ‘what do I get out of it?’. Caga is also one of the 5 attributes that must be cultivated if one is to enter the higher stages of dhamma practice (‘stream-entry’): sadda (conviction), sila (moral conduct), suta (learning), caga and panya (wisdom).

pasanno_a_dhamma_compassCaga can be developed in different ways and at different levels. Helping others and offering service are ways of stepping over the boundaries of me and mine which, when stretched, often make us feel uncomfortable or threatened (Ajahn Pasanno, A Dhamma Compass). Forgiveness is a further step, a higher form of dana, because it is more difficult to forgive than it is to give material things. The highest form of giving is dhammadana, or sharing the principles and practice of dhamma. Ajahn Chah reminded us that this is not something only reserved for monks and nuns: “It is enough to set good examples and follow the Precepts.” Like the vine which grows and is shaped by the nearest tree, children are more affected by their parents’ example than anything else. When we think of the people who have most positively influenced our lives, “it is not because of the kinds of cars they own or vacations they have taken but because they have been trustworthy, kind and patient with us. They’ve made us feel good, no matter how badly we feel about ourselves. This kind of giving is not beyond the capacity of anybody. Increasing well-being and decreasing dukkha (suffering) are gifts we can all give,” (Ajahn Pasanno, ibid).

DSCF0921 Panyaden student drawing with Rappaport School student in Bor Kaew, Sameong, part of our annual social contribution initiative

From an early age if children are praised and encouraged for freely giving to others, they grow up with a pleasant feeling associated with being generous. The idea that you gain happiness by giving things away does not come automatically to a young child’s mind, but with practice they will find that it is true. They will learn that when we give, we put ourselves in a position of wealth. A gift, no matter how small, is proof that you have more than enough. Caga helps build confidence in children because by being able to help other people we develop a sense of self-worth. Acts of generosity are an antidote to low self-esteem. They create a sense of openness in the mind which helps break down boundaries with others that otherwise would keep goodwill from spreading around. Caga can used as a catalyst for family togetherness because, as Ajahn Jayasaro notes, ’’few things enhance the sense of connection between family members as group acts of generosity” (Daughters & Sons).

The nature of the desire mind is that, even when we have enough, we feel there is always a lack of this or never enough of that, or we fear that something is going to get taken away from us. The ‘she’s got more than me, it’s not fair’ complaint of materialist competitive societies creates a confined, fearful world because there’s never enough, as opposed to the confident and trusting world we create through acts of generosity. As we practice caga, we realise that we can get by on less, and that there is a pleasure that comes with giving. This, it can be said, is a true sense of wealth.

lotus2 transparentPlease click here for the above article in Thai.

Panyaden Wise Habits: Mattannuta by Neil Amas

DSCF3253 Panyaden School wise habit, Mattanuta (knowing the right amount)
DSC01232 CROPPED smoothed

Mattannuta (pronounced ma‐tan‐yoo‐ta, มัตตัญญุตา, means ‘knowing the right amount’. When practised, it helps us achieve a healthy balance in life. It is the quality of understanding that, whatever goals we set ourselves, there is an optimum amount of material and non‐material things that we need. It is the ability to assess what is enough, and to know when we are being over‐demanding on ourselves, others or our environment.

The Buddha taught that the middle path should be followed by both body and mind. It is a path of neither sensory indulgence nor extreme austerity, but rather one of thoughtful moderation and balance. This does not only refer to specific actions or thoughts in isolation, for example consuming the right amount of food, but also to achieving the right balance between all the different things we do each day and throughout our lives.

To illustrate this, Phra Prom Kunaporn refers to the importance of balancing the five indriya, or spiritual faculties: conviction (saddha), perseverance (viriya), mindfulness (sati), concentration (samadhi) and wisdom (panya). For example, if our conviction or faith is very strong but we do not use wisdom, we have a tendency to become gullible, a person that follows without question. Conversely, high intelligence but little faith leads to scepticism, and an inability to look inside oneself for the truth. If our perseverance is strong but our concentration is weak, we are likely to become agitated and stressed. Too much concentration and insufficient perseverance, on the other hand, leads to excessive daydreaming or idleness. To find the right balance between these, we need to use the faculty of mindfulness (sati) to observe and manage the impulses that habitually drive our actions and thoughts.

dsc6311a Mattanuta presentation at Panysden School

In today’s world of branded ‘must‐haves’ and ubiquitous advertising, teaching the new generation how to consume the right amount is very important. Natural resources are stretched and we are experiencing increasing environmental degradation. Understanding mattannuta, therefore, is vital for our students as they grow up and shape the future of our society and our world. Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro counsels that if we think more is better simply in order to make our lives more comfortable, we will end up just wanting more and more and will never be satisfied. His advice is to encourage children to work out the mattannuta point for themselves. Whether eating, sleeping, studying, playing, using the computer or talking, the ability to find optimal balance through self‐regulation is a skill which will lead to maturity and social responsibility. This means not dictating the rules to children, but rather helping them see the results of too much sleep – irritability and heaviness – or not enough – drowsiness and the inability to concentrate, or over‐eating – stomachache – and so on. When we ask our children how much sleep they think they need, how much food they should eat, instead of routinely imposing our own limits, they begin to understand mattannuta. If we encourage children to persevere for just another five minutes on a task they are bored with or wish to avoid, or to stop doing something they really crave a little earlier than they would like, this further helps put into focus the pushes and pulls of the mind and the benefits of balance.

Ajahn Jayasaro, Panyaden School Chiang MaiVenerable Jayasaro suggests that a family which practices mattannuta is one where parents and children are able to come to mutually acceptable agreements. This means deciding how long we think children should watch TV or play on the computer, for example, but also respecting our child’s ability to think for himself and come to a sensible agreement on the right amount of time. When the time has passed, we simply remind our child of the agreement. In this age of ever‐increasing ‘screen time,’ as adults we also need to reflect on the amount of time we spend on ‘smart’ phones or laptops in the presence of children, and the message we are giving them about what we consider to be important.

Mattannuta means understanding that any goals we set should take into account the optimum balance of supporting factors required to achieve the most beneficial result for ourselves, others and the environment. Practising mattannuta helps us to understand the desires and aversions created by our mind, and that understanding in turn increases the peaceful moments we experience. Mattannuta is, therefore, a vitally important wise habit to teach our children, but also to practice ourselves if we are to achieve true balance in our lives.

lotus2 transparentClick to download article in Thai: Mattannuta_TH

 

‘Caga’ (Being Generous)

Kindergarten 3 students acting out a skit about typhoon tragedy in The Philippines, Panyaden School
This morning, our K3 students raised awareness in the school about the tragedy of the typhoon that devastated the Philippines and left people without homes, food or drink. In their skit they asked their friends to imagine what it must be like to have no shelter, food, water or family. We will be doing fundraising activities raising over the next couple of weeks to show the importance of compassion and giving to people in need.

Update on Children’s Day Event

สุขสันต์วันเด็ก

Happy Children’s Day! Here’s an update on activities you and your children can look forward to this weekend at our Central Airport Plaza booth.

Panyaden student spinning cotton at school

  • Learn about cotton and how this amazing little plant can be used to make cloth
  • Weave small pieces of fabric
  • Make colourful friendship bracelets for your friends and family

Join us!

  • Date: Sat 14 – Sun 15 Jan 2012
  • Time: 10.00-18.00 daily
  • Location: G Floor, D Zone (map below)