Teaching Kids Peace in a World of Tragedy
Teen boy with a vision and his dog mascot are helping to heal the country.
I am a mom of many words — I’m actually much like an elderly grandmother who has a story or anecdote for everything. Yet with all of these horrific tragedies seemingly happening nonstop these days, I feel like I’m pretty much speechless (is that even possible?)! I’m constantly grasping for words that won’t permanently traumatize, disturb, and/or scare the minds of my incredibly impressionable kids.
With so much stress and illness affecting our children today — pediatric cancer, diabetes, severe allergies, depression, and anxiety that continue skyrocketing, I refuse to be a blogger-complainer about parenthood… instead, I choose to encourage more positive messaging, relatability, and connectedness. I believe in empowerment and health/wellness, especially when it comes to our children — and I’m happy to say that I’ve found a like-minded kids’ character created by an even more inspiring 13-year old boy, named Adam, with a similar mission.
In selecting Adam as this month’s Superfly SuperKid recipient, I realized that Adam is not just your average 13-year old teen with a helpful heart. He is also a certified teacher of children’s yoga, a published author, and most importantly, the creator of the famed Wuf Shanti dog yogi character taking the country by storm.
Wuf Shanti is an adorable dog yoga character who promotes health, wellness, and happiness in children, and encourages peace and positivity. Although he is growing out of the Wuf Shanti mascot costume, his legacy will continue to tour schools and children’s hospitals, teaching kids through fun games and music. “Thinking like a yogi is a big part of living in health and happiness,” said 13 year-old Adam, creator of the character. “Positive thinking, yoga, and meditation help us to do better in school, better in sports, lessens bullying, and science has also shown that these practices help the healing process. I am really glad that we get to go the hospitals and help the kids smile.”
Wuf Shanti recently visited the children at St. Jude in Tennessee. “His visit not only put smiles on the patients, families and staff that interacted with him, he also shared his message of positivity through activities and yoga. This message is so important, especially for children in the hospital environment,” said Amy Kennedy, Lead Child Life Specialist, Radiation Oncology at St. Jude. “They are faced with many stressors already, so to have this happy, positive character come and engage with them and share a new perspective allows them for a minute to forget about what they are having to deal with daily. It was amazing to watch the impact he made as seen by the kids gathering around him and just wanting to be near him.”
Yoga and meditation help the body, mind, and spirit.
- Physically, the value of yoga and meditation is immeasurable — flexibility, endurance, balance, strength, and performance — which is why many athletes like Shaquille O’Neal, Tom Brady, and Kevin Garnett incorporate yoga as part of their daily routine.
- Mentally, yoga and meditation help to improve mood, concentration, focus, attention, sleep, self-esteem, self-acceptance, and self-confidence.
- Spiritually, the practice teaches us acceptance, love, empathy, compassion, and oneness.
“Incorporating yoga and meditation for even 5 minutes every day helps boost immunity, provide better respiration, circulation, digestion, helps cope with chronic pain and stress, teaches empathy, lower blood pressure, depression and anxiety, and teaches kids to live in the present moment, be kind to one another, and live in gratitude,” said Erika Lee, President of Wuf Shanti, and a certified Yoga Therapist.
More Than a Trend
As I started learning more about Adam’s incredible initiative to empower his generation, I came to find that Wuf Shanti also has a home on YouTube, Florida PBS stations, and the Children’s TV Network (the national and soon-to-be international in-house children’s hospitals tv station). Besides Adam’s collection of Wuf Shanti books, the official mobile app is also available for free download on Apple and Android devices.
“I fully endorse Wuf Shanti, a wonderful educational wellness character for kids. The show espouses great values — parents with young children and children themselves will appreciate the show as it is fun and can help kids cope with whatever life throws their way, whether it is trauma, stress, anxiety, or illness,” said Dr. Robin Leader-Landau, a board certified Pediatrician with a focus in psychology.
Wuf Shanti’s favorite mantras include:
- Positive Thinking Mantra: Think Well to Be Well
- Kindness Mantra: Smile and the World Will Smile With You
- Gratitude Mantra: Smile and Say Thank You
Adam Levine and Maroon 5 also posted about Wuf Shanti on social media because they believe in the message of helping kids deal with their emotions in a productive way and focusing on raising healthy, peaceful kids.
Wuf Shanti is much more than a cuddly, oversized mascot — so much more. This character was inspired and created by Adam to teach children all about yoga, meditation, positive thinking, and living a yogi-minded lifestyle. Simply stated, his overall impact is expansive in helping youth to deal with the stress, anxiety, and emotional rollercoaster that comes with the high’s and low’s of the everyday.
Can the mind control the body? Science thinks it can, and many people believe in the power of positive thinking to help the healing process.
Learn more about Wuf Shanti and his mission, encouraging health and peace intentions, values, hospital tours on their official website
Tap into the Wuf Shanti YouTube Channel (free subscription) for a complete collection of episodes.
In the end, we may not always have the perfect words that will make awful tragedies make sense nor ever justify them, but we can teach this new generation to manage their stress. We can instill the tools to better manage emotions and teach acceptance, inclusiveness, kindness, peaceful practice, meditation, and mindfulness. Namaste.
Originally published at superflysupermom.com on December 2, 2017.