Nurturing Educator Well-Being:
Mindfulness Practices That Support Responsible Decision-Making

Mark T. Greenberg

Too often we give children answers to remember, rather than problems to solve.                                                                                                                                                   - Roger Lewin

Have you ever felt regret after you did something hurtful to another person or made a bad decision. Regret is often a signal that we acted impulsively and did not take the time to think through our decision and its consequences. 

There are lots of steps in decision-making. These include learning how to think through a problem to understand what is happening, understanding how people are feeling, considering how you would like the problem to end (the goal), generating alternative solutions, considering the consequences of each solution, and then making a plan. Many of these steps happen quickly, almost unconsciously, but these abilities develop slowly over our childhood and adolescence. 

As children evolve into adolescence, they are faced with new challenges (risk-taking, relationships and sexuality, drugs and alcohol) and the decisions that teens make can have consequences that affect their entire lives. teachers we build trusting relationships with our students and help them develop interpersonal problem-solving skills and how to make responsible decisions.

Responsible decision-making is the final, fifth competency on the CASEL wheel – and without using these skills it is difficult to make positive and healthy choices. Responsible decision making is the glue that bonds together the other four competencies into action.  It requires social and self-awareness, self-management (self-control) and relationship skills. By learning the skills of interpersonal problem-solving, we strengthen our understanding of our self and others and develop an ethical stance that leads to positive choices for all involved.

We all know that even as adults we often struggle to make the right decisions.  It is a lifelong process.

Christa Turksma (Co- developer of CARE & Director of Training) has developed five short mindful audio practices for each of the five CASEL Competencies.  Today we are releasing the five practices that focus on the competency of Responsible Decision-Making. The focus of these short practices are:  3 Breaths, Setting an Intention, Body Scan, Awareness of Scripts, and Caring for Others.  These five Responsible Decision Practices can be found here.

I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way (s)he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.     
                                                                                                             
– Maya Angelou


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