Reuniting with my sixth-grade self at graduation － What I learned from the drug abuse prevention class ―
Reuniting with my sixth-grade self at graduation － What I learned from the drug abuse prevention class ―By Ms. A. N, School nurse, Nagasaki, Japan
This is my third year working at my current job as an elementary school nurse. I recently came across New Dimensional Thought Technology MIROSS, having started down the path of serious self-discovery only a year ago. I’m writing this post to summarize what I was feeling as I began to get in touch with this way of life.
It all started when Ms. Nakahara, the school pharmacist, told us about the drug abuse prevention class, which has been held at the school for the past eight years. In other schools where I’ve worked, drug abuse prevention classes were mostly lecture-style, explaining the dangers of drugs and how to refuse them when they’re offered .
But since children already know that drugs are a bad influence, I wanted them to learn more about how to respect themselves. People often say you should “respect yourself,” but in this new way of life we can tell children what it truly means to value yourself through a drug abuse prevention class. I remember sensing the possibility in this.
『First-year in school』
Since the drug abuse prevention class had been conducted in the form of a lecture for fourth to sixth graders in the previous school year, this year’s class was conducted in the same way. The title was “Respect Yourself.”
The content of the class was too good to hold in a lecture format, so this time we decided to conduct it in small groups and in a more deliberate manner, targeting only 6th graders and changing the format to one in which the children participate.
At the time, there was a drug case in the news involving a popular actress. I wondered, why would someone with such a glamorous life do such a thing? I thought this was a good idea and proposed using it as a subject.
We believed that the cause was largely related to stress, so we had a meeting with Instructor Nakahara to devise ways to reduce the children’s stress levels.
At that meeting, I mentioned that I couldn’t believe that someone from such a bright world could have such darkness within them. When I said, “I don’t like darkness,” I sensed a world that reflected only me, who hated darkness. I believed it was good to act cheerful. “That’s what it means!” I said, and then I started crying.
In the class that day, not only the children but also the homeroom teacher and I were in the same circle, and we talked about ourselves. Hearing the adults talk about themselves on the same theme, the children realized that we were feeling the same way they were, and the atmosphere seemed to become more relaxed. The space became a place where the children could honestly express their thoughts.
Students made comments like, “The teacher is just like me,” ”It’s okay to talk about my feelings,” and “Whenever I’m distressed, I want to talk to my friends, family, and teachers.”
Even the vice-principal was surprised to see the children, who are always very quiet and have a hard time getting their feelings out, so relaxed and talking about themselves.
【Second-year in school】
Based on last years’ experience, this year we’ll further develop the following ideas:
“This is how I want to carry out my work. This is the kind of school we want it to be!”
Ms. Nakahara, the Miross instructor, kindly proposed, “How about learning this new way of life properly?” So, I decided to plan this year’s school classes while participating in my first Miross Practical Course.
The children were divided into small groups, and teachers and fellow Miross staff members joined them to speak to the groups on the theme. Before and after this, the 45-minute class was conducted in the form of a lecture, with Ms. Nakahara delivering key points.
The program, on a theme that I had chosen, was targeted toward a difficult class that had previously nearly fallen apart, so I decided to conduct the program as a series of three sessions instead of just one. I wanted to send these children off to middle school with peace of mind.
Throughout the classes, I made three points that I felt were important when I came across Miross.
(1) We are one-of-a-kind beings born against amazing odds, and we each feel and receive things differently, so it’s okay to value different things.
(2) A solid self isn’t just about not changing one’s mind, but about listening to the thoughts of others, communicating one’s own thoughts, and mixing them together.
(3) When you love and care for yourself, those around you will care for you and be on your side.
I worked alongside fellow Miross staff members, who matched the children with their inner selves. We were so excited that we couldn’t wait to share what we’d experienced. As the class went on, we began to transcend the teacher/child relationship with the sixth graders and to speak honestly with each other and share our feelings from the same perspective.
At the same time, the homeroom teacher, vice-principal, and school principal, who participated in the class, were moved to see the students expressing their feelings so honestly. They shared a sense of unity in their hope to continue such classes in the future to nurture the students’ hearts.
What surprised me most of all was that even my anxiety about sending them off to junior high school was nothing more than a reflection of my concern for myself.
I’d had the sad experience of being ignored by my close classmates around the time of my sixth-grade graduation. At the time, I told my mother, “I feel like none of my friends are talking to me.” But she replied, “It’s just your imagination.” I felt that my mother didn’t understand me. She didn’t do anything for me. I felt sad, but at the same time, I felt that I couldn’t say anything more about it. I think I just gave up.
I decided that even though my friends ignored me, I would still go to school. I didn’t want my parents to worry, but every day was hard. I thought that if I told someone in words, they wouldn’t understand or listen to me, so I tried to appeal to others through my actions, such as intentionally not going to the school assembly, but I don’t remember my homeroom teacher listening or responding to me in any way.
The only person who spoke to me was the school nurse. “Is there a problem? Are you okay?” The
anxiety I had about sending my 6th graders off to middle school came from this experience.
However, by listening to the thoughts of the principal, vice-principal, and homeroom teachers through the drug abuse prevention class, I felt the depth of their love for the children and their concern for each and every one of them. I almost cried when I realized that when I was a child, my teachers were actually watching me with warm hearts—I just couldn’t see it.
Furthermore, when I boldly told my mother that I was sad that she didn’t listen to me when I was ignored in sixth grade, she replied, “Really? Did you say something about that?
I don’t remember. I didn’t notice.”
I replied, “What? So it’s not that you refused to do anything for me. You just didn’t notice it!” I was relieved of my tension. Later, my mother heard me talking about my sixth-grade year experience on our broadcast. She said, “What I did to you was terrible. When your younger sister was being bullied, I noticed and went to talk to the homeroom teacher. But I didn’t notice when you were bullied, so I couldn’t do anything for you, and I’m sorry.”
At the time I thought, adults don’t get it. They don’t do anything to help me.
Now I felt as if the heavy, heavy lump I had in the back of my heart, that told me I was worthless, was melting away.
Instructor Nakahara said to me, “You were the school nurse who approached you at that time. It was the future you who approached you as a sixth grader. That’s why you chose to become a school nurse, wasn’t it?” “Oh, I see!” I said. “So that’s how it was!” Tears welled up in my eyes.
In the last class, I had time to give a message to the children. “You are about to graduate from elementary school and enter junior high school. In junior high school, the environment will change, and at some point, you may be troubled or anxious about your studies, friends, seniors, teachers, and other things. But please try to communicate with someone. Someone will surely understand your feelings and thoughts. The teachers at this school also understand your feelings. Even after graduation, if you feel anxious, please come back here to the elementary school. We will always welcome you warmly.” Even though I was talking to the sixth graders in front of me, it felt as if I was talking to myself in the sixth grade. No one was to blame. It was a space where everything was surrounded by love, where I was truly loved.
I’d like to thank Instructor Nakahara for guiding us to this point and my Miross fellows for witnessing it with me. Through the drug abuse prevention class, you’ll find a relaxing environment that’s life expanding not only for children but for adults as well!
Every experience is a process that takes us toward the ultimate goal, so we can have all kinds of different experiences with peace of mind. I want to enjoy every experience, knowing that it’s my own unique story and that everything I experience is okay. Thank you very much.