Recently I visited my son’s high school for parent-teacher conferences. As I walked through the halls greeting parents whom I knew and avoiding collisions with others, I saw a sign hanging above an arch in the main hallway. The sign read, “Be Present.”
“How amazing,” I thought. “They are teaching mindfulness to high school students.” I was very excited to imagine all the lessons on living in the present, rather than focusing on the past or the future. What good skills these students would gain from the discussions about meditation, relaxation, and enjoying every moment as they experience it.
Then I read the very small line of print below the “Be Present.” It stated, “Know when to unplug and connect with people.”
So the message was not exactly what I interpreted. Students are being encouraged to look up from their technology, divert their attention away from their virtual friends, in order to connect with the real people around them. This is a message that will resonate with young people much better than meditation and relaxation. I hope the students are listening… and connecting with the people around them.