Mindful education – teaching meditation to kids via Cartoon Network’s “Steven Universe”

Mindful education – teaching meditation to kids via Cartoon Network’s “Steven Universe” August 27, 2016

“take a moment to think of just… flexibility, love and trust”

Steven Universe is a coming-of-age cartoon featuring a boy (Steven) and his friends in a fantasy land of gems, aliens, and humanoids. All but two of the major characters are female, and the show premiered as Cartoon Network’s first animated series created solely by a woman.

The show’s creator, Rebecca Sugar, has said that she intended to “tear down and play with the semiotics of gender in cartoons for children” because she considered it absurd that shows for boys should be fundamentally different from those for girls. In terms of plot, according to her, the series is developing towards a far-off end goal, although everything in between is kept flexible, in part, because her own intentions have “changed since I’ve started because I’ve grown up a lot” while working on Steven Universe. (wiki)

In this episode, appearing on Youtube August 25, we are taken on an adventure into meditation:

The refrain: “take a moment to think of just… flexibility, love and trust” serves as a mantra for the song’s young protagonist. The scene, and song in full are excellent aids for teaching meditation to children or adults who are young at heart. The words “here comes a thought that might alarm you… ” are accompanied by the image of a butterfly coming into the scene, almost from nowhere, and hitting one character right in the face, giving rise to anger as the song continues “what someone said, and how it harmed you…”

It continues, combining the imagery of white butterflies and lyrics about the little mistakes we make and the proliferation of worries and confusion that follow. “All these little things, seem to matter so much, that they confuse you…” And chaos ensues, white butterflies fluttering everywhere.

Instead; the song breaks briefly and we are back to an image of the singer sitting in meditation posture, hands in dhyana mudra (one hand on the other in the lap, thumbs touching). “Take a moment, remind yourself, to… take a moment to find yourself. Take a moment to ask yourself if, this is how we fall apart.”

But it’s not,

But it’s not,

But it’s not,

But it’s not.

But it’s not…. (butterflies flutter away)

It’s okay.

It’s okay.

It’s okay.

It’s okay.

It’s okay… (connection with friends/loved ones is reestablished)

You’ve got nothing, got nothing, got nothing, got nothing to fear. (seeing oneself in the thought-butterflies)

I’m here. I’m here. I’m here. (letting go to the thought, being present)

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