Like with my daughter, the concept of good and bad wolf has started becoming part of regular parlance in class. That makes me very happy because this simple parable drives home some very important lessons and provides fodder for some rich discussions… Here’s a link to the story in case you haven’t read it before. http://www.oneyoufeed.net/tale-of-two-wolves/
The first one is awareness. Without this paramount quality, we end up functioning in auto pilot mode, a victim to unconsciously created mind patterns, a rudderless boat, just going with the current. This parable helps look within, become aware of our thoughts, words and actions and also start identifying and discerning between helpful and unhelpful patterns.
The second one is externalization. We often say things like good boy/ bad girl etc. to reinforce good/bad behaviour. But putting such labels, though the intention be good, often backfires. Much has been written about it. But when we distinguish behavior from the person, we let the person know that he is essentially different from his experiences and expressions. This distinction is really important in maintaining a healthy self-esteem and empowering him to steer the ship of his life in the direction he chooses.
The third is dropping of judgement. When we look at children non-judgmentally, (as having both good and bad tendencies), we also empower them to see themselves and others likewise. They know that when a person (including themselves) behaves badly, it’s because they, because of a deficiency of wisdom or strength, ‘listened to their bad wolf’. This shifts the focus from patterns of guilt (I am wrong/ bad) and blame (They are wrong/bad) to self-transformation (How can I strengthen my good wolf) and co-operation (how can I help others strengthen theirs).
A very empowering lesson is that we always have a choice. While we all have a different mix of tendencies and patterns, we can now choose which patterns of thinking, speaking and acting we want to nurture with the food of our attention and energy. We don’t need to fight and conquer the bad wolf, we just have to starve him of our attention and stop heeding his unhealthy advice. The wolf we feed is the wolf that wins.
And ultimately, it drives home the karma philosophy. That our every action, positive or negative, not only yields corresponding results, but also strengthens our bad/good wolf thus shaping our character. It emphasizes the importance of attention even to small actions and the cultivation of healthy habits.
After introducing this concept, I invited them to share stories of how they caught their good/bad wolf in action… Whether we noticed the good one or the bad one doesn’t matter. Right now, our aim is to just become aware of how they function… This I hope reinforced the qualities of honesty and the ability to learn from mistakes.
For the first couple of weeks, a young girl in the class shyly wrote out instances of having heeded her bad wolf in her notebook and showed them to me… I encouraged her saying that most people don’t even know when they do something wrong. Recognizing it is a great step towards change… Happily, the time gap between the bad wolf acting up and having recognized what happened kept reducing and eventually she started narrating incidents of having recognized it’s voice before acting on it and choosing to act in accordance with the saner advice of the good wolf instead… 🙂
What a rewarding feeling… :))