What we can learn from 6 kids who are masters of their anger

Your brain is like a jar full of glitter and other life lessons from kindergarteners.

The elementary school kids in this video by Wavecrest Films are unexpectedly articulate about their emotions.

Seriously, they are so smart! Listen to what they have to say.

They understand what's happening in their brains when they get angry.


They aren't being fed lines; their thoughts and words are the real deal. These kids benefitted from social-emotional learning and coaching in mindfulness at a charter school in Mar Vista, California.

It's obvious that they have a grasp on understanding feelings that eludes most adults, and, frankly, it's a life skill that all of us could stand to learn regardless of age.

Here are six lessons these children have to teach us about mastering our anger.

Because, anger happens:

All GIFs and images via Wavecrest Films.

1. He's just 5 years old, but he knows where his anger comes from — often, out of the blue.

When somebody says, “I don't like it when you say you don't want to play with me," it makes him angry.

Haven't we all felt that way? This smart kid knows that anger sometimes happens when things outside of our control — like a rejection or unkind word — get us feeling bad. It's usually another person that makes us angry (although sometimes we can be mad at ourselves).

2. His blood keeps pumping, he gets sweaty and red — and he knows something's up.

We can have physical reactions to strong feelings of anger, from turning red in the face all the way to punching someone, even if we don't mean to. As this wise young man says, “Your blood keeps pumping because you're really mad, and you start to get sweaty because you're getting really, really mad. And then, when you start getting really mad, you turn red."

3. This little girl breaks it down: Our brains are like a JAR OF GLITTER.

She's a total emotional ninja and just dropped a wisdom bomb on us all.

This girl has a truth bomb for us.

Our thinking can be stirred up or calm, depending on our emotional state of mind.

And even though her front teeth are still coming in, she said, “It's kind of like, if you had a jar, and then the jar would be your brain, and then you put glitter in the jar, and that would be how you would feel like. If you shook up the jar, and the glitter went everywhere, that would be how your mind looks. And it's spinning around, and then you don't have any time to think."


Have you ever felt like your brain was a swirling mess?

4. This kid knows it's OK to be alone if you need to be.

Being in kindergarten can be pretty overwhelming. This pint-sized student of zen knows that when things gets tough, “First, you find a place where you can be alone, then you find some way to relax and calm down." Sometimes you need to be alone to collect your thoughts. It's OK to remove yourself from a frustrating situation.

5. Even kindergarteners can learn to calm themselves down by breathing.

On the playground, at home, or in class, anger happens, so taking a minute to wind down your breathing is one way these kids stop themselves from getting out of hand. "When I need to calm down, I take deep breaths," says one child champion of calm.

Breathe deeply, in through your nose and out through your mouth.

6. It takes some adults forever to learn what she knows: Stop and think before you act.

This may be one of the hardest yet most important skills we can learn. When this girl pauses before acting out, she describes the way it makes her feel, "My brain slows down, and then I feel more calm, and then I'm ready to speak to that person." Calm and able to communicate? I think she just did a mic drop.

Truly, your brain is like a jar full of glitter. And it can be at peace.

“It's like all the sparkles are at the bottom of your brain."

So, when your brain is a stirred-up glitter jar, how do you calm down, cope with anger, and still the sprinkle-shower?

Family

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

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