by Kim Harrison, Choose Love Curriculum Writer & California Ambassador
In my workshop, Choose Love Experiential Journey, I provide a step-by-step guide through the curriculum and the Choose Love Formula pillars. As an educator myself, I love engaging with my fellow teachers to help them learn about the Choose Love Movement. Scarlett Lewis has created a worldwide movement to Choose Love and I had the incredible opportunity to be a curriculum co-writer for the Choose Love for Schools and Brave New World PreK-5 curriculums.
Choose Love lessons…
Naturally, I love to share the curriculum, best practices and ideas for schools and districts to optimize their Choose Love journey. Jesse’s message of Nurturing Healing Love is at the core of every lesson and has helped positively transform students, classrooms, families and communities around the world!
While creating the new Choose Love For Schools™ PreK-5 curriculum, we added in literature to every lesson which is my favorite component. Literature allows children to search deeper into their hearts, explore their feelings and beliefs through the feelings and experiences of others, and discover Jesse’s message for themselves. Literature is the pathway to the heart and connections with others.
In addition, Choose Love is based on 30 years of neuroscience research. Teaching our students of all ages the Hand Model of the Brain and the awareness to know which part of the brain is controlling how you react is empowering even to our youngest students!
Here are some of my favorite lessons…
Accepting Our Flaws and Embracing Ourselves
Courage to Begin Being You
Gratitude- The Great Mind Shifter
My 3 favorite tips for educators…
1. Practice the formula in your personal and professional life.
I had the fortunate experience to work with students in inner city schools, suburban and private schools. I truly wish that I had the Choose Love curriculum at my fingertips when I was teaching. The Choose Love message, inspired from Jesse’s message of Nurturing, Healing, Love is universal because we are all the same in the want and need to love and be loved. We know that we are not born with these skills and tools and that they must be taught and practiced.
Choose Love Educators surveyed stated that teaching the Choose Love curriculum has proven to be the “best professional development” they have ever experienced because it has not only improved their professional life but their personal as well.
2. Be self forgiving and self compassionate.
These past few years have been exceptionally difficult for Educators and remembering that we are all doing the best we can under the circumstances. Be gentle with yourself and think of all the things you have accomplished rather than what you have not.
3. Have a lot of fun!
Jesse’s final message to his big brother was to “Have a lot of Fun”. What an amazing note from a little brother to his big brother and to all of us is to enjoy our time here and live our best lives.
How I practice the Choose Love Formula in my life…
Throughout my day, I remember the formula to bring me back to my “why”. It’s easy to practice Choose Love when everything is going well. The challenge is when things are problematic and stressful. I can check in with myself to see if I am in my lizard brain or in my human brain. I can change my mindset from “I have to..” to “I get to…”
Practicing the formula helps me be present in the moment. Remembering that we as humans have a negative bias. Over 70% of our thoughts are negative and 95% are repetitive. In addition, it takes 12 seconds for a positive thought to go into memory where negative thoughts immediately go into our memory. Each day, I can “catch” my negative bias and then have the opportunity to practice the formula. Instead of feeling badly, I now know it’s just our human wiring and I can change a negative thought to a positive thought. It is not always easy, but practicing the formula is the key.
What inspires me each day…
Living in Newtown during the tragedy at Sandy Hook School was one of the most traumatic times in my life. Many families were inspired to create foundations or tributes to honor their loved ones. As an educator, a mother and a resident of Newtown – I was immediately drawn to what Scarlett Lewis was doing in creating a no cost, SEL curriculum to cultivate and foster safety from the inside out. These skills and tools are not innate and need to be taught and practiced. Spreading the message of Choosing Love is following the formula to make our world a better place. What could be more important than that?