Playful Practice

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Asteya

on July 30, 2014

I’m almost caught up sharing our Yamas discussions with you thus far! Last week our topic was Asteya – not stealing. Again a simple translation that goes much further than face value. Of course we know not to walk into a store and take something without paying for it, but I asked the girls what other things we steal. The first response made my heart nearly skip a beat!
“We steal from the earth! When we cut down too many trees and waste too much water.” (Now this was from my own daughter who just so happens to take the longest showers humanly possible, who I have to set a timer for and still remind her when its gone off that time is up! But at least she is hearing my message 🙂
The rest of the girls nodded in agreement and I could see the wheels turning to come up with more examples of stealing.
I also heard, “If somebody copies your answer on a test or something in school they are stealing.” This was a greet example that led me to ask them if they have ever had a group project in school and had some people not contribute their fair share of work. Two of the girls in class together shared a story about exactly that. One of them did the bulk of the work for the project while the whole group got credit. So we discussed “stealing” recognition. When practicing Asetya we wouldn’t take credit where credit is not due.
I then asked “What abut interrupting a conversation” and got an excited “Ooh like if your mom is talking to someone and you run up and interrupt her you are stealing from the person she was talking to”. I do have some “Interrupting Chickens” (children’s book by David Ezra Stein) in class so this was a wonderful way to discuss stealing attention from someone. I gently explained that even in class if we have too many interruptions we are stealing time from the rest of the class. It is such a natural reaction for children to share their excitement, or needs, immediately. But I have worked with adults who interrupt and, to me, it is such an important social skill to know how to politely interject in a conversation when necessary. So of course we discussed how to get someone’s attention politely when you need it!
My poster, which I’ll have to get a picture of to share with you here, say Not Stealing – Things, Feelings or Time. So one of the girls asked how we steal feelings. I told a story about a girl who was REALLY excited about her family going to Legoland and was telling her friend about the day trip. The friend replied by talking about how her family was taking a week long trip to Disney World so that was way cooler. The girls could relate to situations where someone had to “one up” them, or just didn’t share in their excitement. They talked about how one person in a bad mood can take it out on other people and upset them too. The understanding of “stealing” someone’s peace or happiness grew quickly with personal stories to share.
So there was our Asteya conversation. Translated to mean not stealing things, time or feelings.
Do you have anything to add to Asteya?

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