Giving Happiness, Receiving Happiness

Cognitive develpmental neuroscientist Adele Diamond, speaking with Krista Tippett from “Learning, Doing, Being: A New Science of Education,” Speaking of Faith, November 19, 2009:

My husband who came with me to Dharamsala said, "If you're going to give [the Dalai Lama] a present, I want to give him a present, too." He wanted to give him a kite because he didn't think the Dalai Lama got to spend enough time playing.

And so then he found online that he could get a package of ten plain, undecorated kites very inexpensively. Vancouver kids with kitesHe asked me if I could find classes of school children to decorate them. I contacted a colleague, Kim Schonert-Reichl, and she helped me find a class of children with developmental disorders, many of them ADHD, who were either not on medication or on reduced medication because they were doing mindfulness.

They had heard of the Dalai Lama, and they were very excited to be decorating these kites. And there were two children per kite. On one side, they did self portraits, so it looked like a Picasso because half of the kite is one child's face and half of the kite is the other child's face.

My husband brings all these to Dharamsala and we get a private audience with His Holiness Adele Diamond, her husband, and Dalai Lama with kite pictureand we had the wisdom not to bring all the kites with us to the audience because the Dalai Lama said thank you but it was very clear he wasn't going to fly any kites; he's was going to put them in a drawer.

After that we went to visit Matthieu Ricard at Katmandu, where he has a Tibetan monastery. And he has many humanitarian projects in connection with that and one of them are schools for poor children. Any background, doesn't matter, religious or ethnic. They call it Bamboo Schools because the buildings are all made out of bamboo. So we went to these bamboo schools and we brought the rest of the kites and we gave them to the children there.

They had never flown kites before, and they were so happy to be flying these kites. And Matthieu was so happy to see the children so happy. And we took photos and videos and I brought them back to the class in Vancouver to the children who had been studying mindfulness and I showed them the pictures and they were so happy to see how happy they had made the other children.

SoundSeen: Flying Kites for the First Time from On Being on Vimeo.


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