As a child, my parents always taught us to consider our surroundings. I grew up in Alaska, the child of two parents who’d served in the US Army. Part of our summers involved going fishing, camping, and the occasional hunting trip. In the wilderness, we were taught to always watch, listen, and be very aware of potential danger. The threats included bears and moose or the more frequent fishing hook being cast by a sibling! When we came home from these wilderness outings, my parents didn’t stop their lessons in situational awareness. They reminded us (both myself, sister, and 2 brothers) to be aware of what neighborhoods we drove through and to look a stranger in the eye as we walked past them on the sidewalk. __ Dr. Yolanda Evans
Situational Awareness vs. Mindfulness
Situational awareness involves keeping track of where you are, who is around you, and what is happening in your surroundings. It is oriented toward the outer world, while keeping your own capabilities for reacting to environmental changes in mind.
Mindfulness involves paying attention to what is happening around you, as well as maintaining an awareness of what is happening inside your mind and body.
More schools are beginning to teach mindfulness to children:
Schools in the USA are using mindfulness practices to help students succeed. ref:http://www.mindfuleducation.org/
A randomized-controlled study done during the 2011-12 school year demonstates the social and emotional benefits that occured over a 6 week time period. Children showed an increase in attention, calmness, social compliance, and caring towards others.
Research has found that Mindfulness Training for children increases attention and social emotional awareness.
Students are able to stay more focused and pay more attention in class.
Awareness of their body, thoughts, and emotions increase.
They experience less test anxiety.
Classroom management improves because mindfulness improves impulse control and interpersonal skills.
Executive function increases, a key predictor of academic success. __ http://mindfulnessforchildren.org/research/
Below is an excerpt from a study on the teaching of mindfulness to children. Notice that besides learning a heightened awareness of one’s surrounding and oneself, the practise of mindfulness meditation is also introduced.
Both mindfulness and situational awareness should be practised regularly. Situational awareness can help keep you alive. Mindfulness can help maintain balance in body and mind.
Here are a few drills that you can do to improve your situational awareness skills.
1. Identify all the exits when you enter a building.
2. Count the number of people in a restaurant, subway or train car.
3. Note which cars take the same turns in traffic.
4. Take a look at the people around you and attempt to figure out their stories. Imagine what they do for a living, their mood, what they are focused on and what it appears they are preparing to do, based merely on observation.
5. Next time you’re in a parking lot, look for – and count – the number of cars with people sitting in them, whether you’re walking to the storefront, or coming back to your car, or even driving through. __ http://modernsurvivalblog.com/security/5-drills-for-situational-awareness/
Situational awareness is rough and ready. Mindfulness is smooth and steady. Dangerous children learn to merge one with the other, for a more complete awareness of both inner world and outer world. This makes sense, because if one does not know himself, he is unlikely to be able to choose the best action option under a very wide range of circumstances.
Panic is not helpful in dangerous situations. Both the conscious and sub-conscious minds of Dangerous Children require training from the earliest ages, to develop the type of balanced harmony of thought and instinct that are required to live the Dangerous Life.