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Showing posts from February 23, 2020

Why Activism Is Natural for Young People

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Don't underestimate young people's power to change the world.

By Heather Lawford, Heather L. Ramey


Young people are demanding change. In the last few days, young Indigenous activists and their supporters blocked parliamentarians in Victoria, B.C., from accessing the provincial legislature and led waves of protest across the country.

For some young people, climate change is urgent. For others, gun violence is a crisis. From truth and reconciliation to inclusion and diversity and mental health, young people are bringing awareness to societal crises and making headlines along the way.

Historically, this is really nothing new. Young people have long been leaders and catalysts of important movements. Unfortunately, these change-makers are often thought to be outside of what is considered typical of this age group.

Young people are often labelled problematic, selfish, or not yet ready to lead. This negative view of young people aligns with the multitude of research studies that frame the…

Happy, Sad, or Chopping Onions—The Science of Why We Cry!

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When was the last time you cried? Why did you cry? Crying is our reaction to everything from bad breakups, to awe, to cutting onions, but why is this? Let’s explore this uniquely human reaction that seems to be a fundamental part of our shared humanity.

Did you know humans are the only animals that cry in reaction to emotion? Whether brought on by happiness, sadness, surprise, overwhelm, fear, frustration, or onions, from the moment we enter the world, crying is a part of our life. But why do we do it?

By Sam Burns


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The Monkey and the River

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"The simplest and hardest thing to do each day is to be here --fully, completely, without turning away. There's a story I love about a master who sends his apprentice to meditate by a river until he's learned all the river has to say." Mark Nepo shares more in this short piece.


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A Window as Wide as the World

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"One afternoon, my two-year-old daughter and I idled around our apartment complex in Bangalore, watching a dragonfly hover over a thorn, when suddenly she began pointing toward the fringe of lawn below. There, a cat leaped at a wiry viper hatchling as it peeped out of its hole..." This evocative short piece describes a mother and daughter's glimpse of urban wildlife.


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Announcing a New Resource for Educators: Greater Good in Education

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Find research-based practices for kinder, happier schools on our new Greater Good in Education website.

By Vicki Zakrzewski


This is an extraordinary moment in the field of education. Outdated paradigms and thinking patterns are crashing down around us throughout the world, which gives educators an opportunity to help shape the next generation of humans to be more socially, emotionally, and morally astute.

The fields of social-emotional learning (SEL), mindfulness, ethical development, and other prosocially oriented forms of education have emerged to help support and guide teachers’ efforts to transform education. We here at the Greater Good Science Center’s Education Program would like to offer our support as well with the launch of our new website, Greater Good in Education (GGIE).


GGIE offers free, research-based practices for education professionals to help cultivate not just students’ well-being, but their own, as well—and for school leaders to build positive school cultures. Distill…

How Technology Can Help All Students Become More Grateful

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Schools can teach gratitude in a way that's more equitable and inclusive.

By Giacomo Bono, Michael Fauteux


Think back to your time growing up in school.

Do you remember being surprised or apprehensive about differences between yourself and other students in terms of race, class, gender, age, ability, or popularity? Or perhaps you recall being intimidated about communicating with teachers, administrators, counselors? Such differences in social identity—which sometimes involve differences in social power—can make a young person feel different, stressed, and uncertain about their sense of belonging. Those are feelings that can present obstacles to learning, relationships, and well-being.

Today, more and more schools are using social-emotional learning (SEL) practices to help students navigate their differences, see their identities as assets, and build belonging and wellness. Gratitude is a particularly powerful practice because of how it can help nurture positive behaviors, relationshi…

Hidden Planets in an Everyday World!

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Have you ever received a gift from a stranger that changed your view of the world? Get ready to experience a mesmerizing ball of wonder that fits in the palm of your hand! Let us take you on a global scavenger hunt in search of Josh Simpson’s hidden glass Infinity Planets!

Imagine that you’re going on a casual stroll through the park when suddenly, something catches your eye. As you walk closer, you notice a perfectly round object, glistening inside the nook of an old oak tree! “What is this?”  You pick it up and feel like you’ve got the whole world in your hands, instantly wanting to share this miracle with someone else. And the best part? You can! Get ready for the global scavenger hunt of a lifetime.

By Renee Laroche-Rheaume


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What Baby Boomers & Millennials Can Teach Each Other

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For the first time ever, we have five generations in the workplace at the same time, says entrepreneur Chip Conley. What would happen if we got intentional about how we all work together? In this accessible talk, Conley shows how age diversity makes companies stronger and calls for different generations to mentor each other at work, with wisdom flowing from old to young and young to old alike.


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How the Jump Rope Got Its Rhythm

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The jump rope may be a simple object but for countless generations it has served as a powerful symbol of culture and identity for African American girls and women. The skipping rope is a steady timeline upon which girls add rhymes, rhythms and chants, creating a space that is uniquely their own. It is a word of mouth and word of body treasure passed down from one generation to the next, with influences on hip hop and other music that span the globe.


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Accepting What Is

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"When the word acceptance enters a room, but is never far behind. But what about suffering and injustice? What about the pursuit of our personal goals? What about our individual and collective potential? As soon as the idea of acceptance surfaces, we seem to, ironically, brace ourselves against it as though it will render us incapable of anything other than complacency and apathy." This thoughtful passage explores other ways of approaching acceptance.


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Kids Do Better on the Marshmallow Test When They Cooperate

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Children have more self-control when they are cooperating on a team rather than working alone, a new study suggests.

By Jill Suttie


Imagine you’re a young child and a researcher offers you a marshmallow on a plate. But there’s a catch: If you can avoid eating the marshmallow for 10 minutes while no one is in the room, you will get a second marshmallow and be able to eat both. What would you do—eat the marshmallow or wait?

This is the premise of a famous study called “the marshmallow test,” conducted by Stanford University professor Walter Mischel in 1972. The experiment measured how well children could delay immediate gratification to receive greater rewards in the future—an ability that predicts success later in life. For example, Mischel found that preschoolers who could hold out longer before eating the marshmallow performed better academically, handled frustration better, and managed their stress more effectively as adolescents. They also had healthier relationships and better health…

Meet these Queens of the Bug World!

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Powerful kingdoms are rising and falling all around us, each created and lead by a mighty queen. But what’s it like to be a queen in the insect world? We’re taking a royal tour through the lives of a wasp and a fire ant queen to learn what’s happening inside these busy colonies.

Under your feet and over your head, the dramas of mighty kingdoms are unfolding. Armies unleash defenses honed over thousands of years to protect their fortresses and subjects, but most importantly, their queens—for each of these royal highnesses are the center of the life and death of their colonies. Sounds like a pretty big job, right? Let’s see what it takes to be Queen of the Fire Ants or Queen of the Wasps.

By Sam Burns

How Craving Attention Makes You Less Creative

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt has gotten more than his fair share of attention from his acting career. But as social media exploded over the past decade, he got addicted like the rest of us -- trying to gain followers and likes only to be left feeling inadequate and less creative. In a refreshingly honest talk, he explores how the attention-driven model of big tech companies impacts our creativity -- and shares a more powerful feeling than getting attention: paying attention.


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First Aid for Spiritual Seekers

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Forms of religious devotion are shifting and theres a new world of creativity toward crafting spiritual life while exploring the depths of tradition. Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie is a fun and forceful embodiment of this evolution. Born into an eminent and ancient rabbinical lineage, as a young adult he moved away from religion towards storytelling, theater, and drag. Today he leads a pop-up synagogue in New York City that takes as its tagline everybody-friendly, artist-driven, God-optional. Its not merely about spiritual community but about recovering the sacred and reinventing the very meaning of "we." He shares more in this interview with On Being shares more.


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Just One Thing: Find Common Ground

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Can you find common ground with everyone, rather than excluding certain people from your circle?

By Rick Hanson


One of the most important practices you can do this year is to “us” all “thems.”

By “us” all “thems,” I mean finding common ground with every person—especially those you fear or are angry with or who are simply very different from you. These days, this practice is more important than ever.

For most of the past 300,000 years, our human ancestors lived in small bands of about 50 people in which they survived by being good at caring about and cooperating with people inside the band—with “us”—while also being good at fearing and aggressing upon people outside their band: “them.” And for 2 million years before that, our hominid ancestors lived and evolved under similar pressures.

That’s a long, long time. And during the last 10,000 years, as agriculture produced food surpluses that enabled larger groups, this same tribalistic pattern has repeated at bigger scales. While there are hear…