For Mason, Evans said, the mindset has been especially positive.
“When he was in first grade, he had terrible temper tantrums. He would break a sweat. He would scream, I had to take him out in the corridor,” says the director. “I had to take him out and he was screaming and throwing himself on the ground.”
The new lessons about emotions were not accepted at first.
“We were doing attention and he was yelling at me. “I don’t want to do attention,” Evans says.
For the next two years, Mason was still in third grade, but by the end of grade the outbursts became less frequent and less aggressive, and he could talk after them and think about them. Mason began using words he had learned in mindfulness classes to describe what he was feeling. Now entering fourth grade, she has only had two major crashes this year.
“He’s still working a little bit, but he’s not trying to get involved, [and] he doesn’t scream that much,” says Evans. “I forced him into my office. He lowered his head and said. He knew that’s what you were doing. control yourself, understand that I’m not okay, and do something for me that I’ll regret and get in trouble, he knew he had to stop. That’s what you want.”
Mason also recognizes the role that mindfulness practice has played in his life and in his growth at Rivermont.
“I just take a deep breath, and if it doesn’t calm me down, I just try to keep doing it until it makes me feel better,” Mason says of her new approach to her emotions. “And then when it makes me feel better, I’m good and I put it in the past.”
It’s a big step, but in Evans’ eyes, it’s just the beginning.
“We can’t make children’s lives perfect, we can’t,” she says. “I can’t control what’s going on outside in his life, I can barely control what’s going on inside these four walls, but we’re giving him the tools he needs.”
“Mason would have been a student who would have very easily been labeled a ‘problem kid’ and probably permanently suspended for fighting because he couldn’t control his anger,” Evans continues. “But he regrets and said: “I don’t like to get in trouble. I don’t have to be a bad kid. I don’t want to do it. I didn’t want to do it.”
“What we did as a team for Mason, I really think we changed his trajectory.” ⚡: