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“Teach Your Children Well”


“If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.”
—Mahatma Gandhi

“Teach your children well,” wrote Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and I believe these are some of the wisest words ever written. It has been said that the future belongs to our children, and the future I envision is one where all people—young and old—across the world can live in peace, well-being, and happiness.

My purpose in life is to spread a message of peace to all who will listen. I believe deeply and say regularly, “Outer peace begins with inner peace,” so I teach tools for cultivating inner peace in our lives in my book The Practice. When we feel peaceful, strong, and loving, these feelings permeate everything we do and have a ripple effect on those around us.

Reflecting Peace
We all know that children pick up our vibes and copy our behavior, so what better way to instill in them a sense of inner peace than to reflect that within ourselves? I have had the wonderful opportunity to teach parts of The Practice to high school students in my area and in other workshops geared for young people. I love how receptive they are to the idea that each of us has a steady source of inner peace that we can turn to throughout the day for support. I have even convinced some of them to sit in silence for one minute when they wake up before using the phone or computer!

As a child and a young girl, I didn’t have tools for cultivating inner peace, and so I found myself looking outside to the world for peace and happiness rather than within. It was a long, difficult road for me to find my way “home” to myself. For many, the times feel different in this age of technology and kids really do seem to have more stress and issues facing them; however, the desire for peace, courage, and happiness is never changing.

It Is Never Too Soon to Start a Practice
Whether or not you call it meditation, it is never too soon to teach children the idea of sitting quietly with themselves first thing in the morning and learning to allow their thoughts to come and go without judgment or engagement to start their day at their best.

Helping your child select a Sacred Mantra—or as I often call it with students, a Focus Phrase—gives them a positive, calming word or phrase to turn to when they are feeling stressed, scared, angry, or sad throughout the day.

As the day comes to a close, teaching your child how to reflect briefly on the day and then leaving it in peace can help them sleep more soundly, knowing that they did the best they could.

Teaching young people these three simple tools and helping them to develop a regular practice of using them will lead to a cultivation of their inner sense of peace. The vibe and message they will be sharing out in the world will be one of peace and love. How amazing it is that their generation has the potential to become the generation that brought light to all.


About Barb Schmidt


Barb Schmidt Barb Schmidt is an international best-selling author, businesswoman, philanthropist, and spiritual teacher with over thirty years devoted to spiritual development and research. In 2001, Barb partnered with Florida Atlantic University’s Peace Studies Program to promote dialogue in the greater community on the topic of inner peace. Additionally, she taught a class on meditation and spiritual practices as part of the life-long learning program at Nova University for five years. For the past ten years, she has been offering workshops and classes on spiritual practices throughout the world. A sought-after speaker, Barb regularly lectures at schools and organizations to spread her message of living a meaningful, happy life.

The Practice for Teens


Kids of all ages amaze me. Sometimes they seem wise beyond their years, teaching us adults a thing or two about life. But most often, they need our guidance and our unconditional love to help them make sense of the world and their belonging in it. We can take many steps to ensure their safety and happiness, but I think Ann Landers said it best when she wrote:

“It is not what you do for your children but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.”

While there are many lessons we are here to teach our children and they certainly learn much of what they need to know throughout their school years, I absolutely believe there is nothing more important than showing them how to get in touch with their innermost selves. This connection to self is where they will hear the guidance of their hearts, the secrets of their souls, and little by little know deep within that they are magnificent beings in this world.

I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to begin sharing aspects of my book The Practice with students at a high school in my area. In my conversations with these teens, what stands out most to me is that they are all seeking ways to be happy and to deal with what one teen called “the unbearable stress” that comes with being a teenager today. They are bombarded by technology and media messages suggesting that what they are looking for can be found in the newest gadget, other material items, or a coveted accomplishment. They feel that they don’t measure up or that they need to do this or that or even that the life they are leading won’t amount to anything. And, last, they feel scared and hopeless about many of the circumstances surrounding them today.

It’s a search we can all relate to…
I write about my struggles as a teen in the seventies, and although we certainly didn’t have the technology back then that we have today, I know very personally how it feels to be stressed out, unhappy, and wanting to feel smart enough or good enough to fit in. What teenager hasn’t felt this way at some point in their lives? It probably comes with the territory. But what I have discovered since my teenage years in my search for happiness, security, and meaning is that there are tools children of any age can use to access their inner strength and feel accepted by the most important person in their lives: themselves. This will make an extraordinary difference in everything they do.

Using the tools…
Meditation, focused attention, mantra repetition, and reflection are the tools I teach in my workshops and in my book The Practice. An overview of each of these tools is available on my website, and in-depth discussions can be found in my book. These tools are easy to understand and implement, but I work to further simplify them with teens. For instance, I explain mantra repetition as turning to a Focus Phrase first thing in the morning for one minute to start the day and then using it throughout the day during stressful times to reconnect to their inner source of peace, confidence, and courage.

I am so happy to say that kids are really open to these ideas. In my talks, they’ve expressed genuine eagerness to try my suggestion: “Wake up, leave the cell phone for one minute, close your eyes, and focus your attention on your breath. Let the thoughts in your mind come and go and just breathe, connecting to your heart, your soul, your quiet within.”

Kids are just like us—they truly want to feel happy and know they really are okay. I believe that sharing your meditation practice with your children—even just a few minutes a day—and teaching them to connect within will provide a solid foundation from which they can step into the lives they came here to live.

Our kids know how to solve math problems, they’ve experienced the fun and mysteries of reading, and they understand the usefulness of knowing a second language. But, most important, they also must know who they are. They can only discover this with a consistent practice of “checking in with themselves.” Once they have the tools, they can tap into their never-ending source of inspiration, intuition, self-love, self-confidence, and support whenever they need or want to.

I would love to hear your insights on helping our teens live their best life!


About Barb Schmidt


Barb Schmidt Barb Schmidt is an international best-selling author, businesswoman, philanthropist, and spiritual teacher with over thirty years devoted to spiritual development and research. In 2001, Barb partnered with Florida Atlantic University’s Peace Studies Program to promote dialogue in the greater community on the topic of inner peace. Additionally, she taught a class on meditation and spiritual practices as part of the life-long learning program at Nova University for five years. For the past ten years, she has been offering workshops and classes on spiritual practices throughout the world. A sought-after speaker, Barb regularly lectures at schools and organizations to spread her message of living a meaningful, happy life.