My son and I started this bedtime meditation together when he was in third grade.
It was a day he said the whole class got in trouble. Apparently some of the boys were playing with the soap in the bathroom. My son is sensitive, and being the kid who hates to piss of anyone, felt targeted by this lecture. (Apples and Trees, y'all.) He said his teacher was angry and looking right at him but then, my young son explained in air quotes, “chuckled” and was a little nicer.
This interaction seemed small to me but I don't dismiss his anxiety. As an adult I can see his teacher, a nice, gentle man, suddenly hearing himself lecture seven year olds about playing with the soap in the bathroom. That silly reality probably made him soften and suppress a chuckle. As an adult, and a parent, I understand suddenly hearing the ironic things that come out of your mouth as you yell at your children to stop yelling or please, jesus, don't bite the dog.
This was the first night we tried this new meditation I heard about. The meditation goes like this: Take three to five deep breaths, close your eyes and picture yourself in a nice, happy spot, seated and waiting. Wait there until an animal arrives to teach you something.
He chose to sit in tall grass under a tree. He sees a lion. It tells him he can stand up for himself. When he opens his eyes, "MAMMA! I GOT ONE!" and I open mine, no animal yet to share, I see his face as he explains this lesson to me. He is soft and excited. I explain that this is a fantastic lesson. There absolutely is a lion inside him and can be with him any time. He might be the one doing the work but inside him is a lion giving him confidence. He nods and we decide to try again.