I was able to present the Mind in the Making (MITM) workshop of the 7 Essential Life Skills with Elizabeth Sierra to parents at Alta Vista Elementary School in partnership with UnidosNow. The group was very diverse in terms of ethnicity, people from various Hispanic countries, and social status. Amongst all these differences, there was one common goal: learn for the benefit of future generations.
The group was dynamic and eager to learn about executive functions. During the games and exercises, participants applied the executive functions we discussed, thus helping Team Lion to realize how simple and easy it is to teach children the same principles through play.
Team Lion met once a month for two hours at a time. You would think that with such a big gap between classes, it would be hard to have some flow and continuation between topics. That proved untrue. For every workshop, our guests were more than ready and could remember very well the discussions a month prior.
During the workshops, a few people realized that they were controlling / protective of their children and that sometimes, they had to let their kids make mistakes and learn on their own. They needed to teach the children not to be afraid of new challenges, but to be creative in trying to solve them.
During the communication module, it was interesting to see parents understand that for Hispanics living in the United States, raising kids is a little different. Having a bilingual household can create certain communication challenges. Just because we raise them speaking one language in the house, doesn’t mean that they will understand everything we say the first time because they grow up surrounded by a completely different language outside the home. As parents of bilingual children, we need to be patient when communicating since we don’t really know in what language our children’s thought process is. It might take a few seconds for them to understand what we are saying or asking them to do.
They were excited to be there and learn, which made our job a lot easier. Even after class, parents were still asking questions about the topics discussed. Many saw the benefits of these essential life skills and how they would be able to translate them to their workplace, family dynamics, and everyday tasks.
What I enjoyed the most as a facilitator was the real interest and engagement of the group. Many participants shared they had bought board games to play at the house with their children. Knowing Team Lion is putting into practice what they learned in their personal lives and the lives of their children is satisfying. It is very exciting to see people ready and eager to help their children achieve their greatest potential and that it is never too late to reach our potential and learn new things.