Mary Ducette, WTIU’s educational services coordinator, recently attended and was a speaker at a national conference in Seattle. Mary was one of five people from throughout the country who participate in Ready to Learn programs asked to make a presentation at the “Seeds of Compassion” event in Seattle. Organizers said they found Mary’s work throughout the state as something very “powerful, rare and special.”
Parenting Counts is a program to educate thousands of parents on early infant brain development and good parenting practices. Ducette regularly leads workshops on parenting and has trained coordinators around the state to lead the sessions. She also is the co-director of the WTIU For the Love of Kids Positive, Practical Parenting Conference.
The keynote speaker at the Seattle conference was His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The conference purpose was to “engage the hearts and minds of our community by highlighting the vision, science, and programs of early social, emotional, and cognitive learning.”
Each of the five days of the event provided parents, educators, business and community leaders with an opportunity to better understand the real benefits of compassion, and concrete steps on how to bring compassion into their lives.
Granted, the Dalai Lama was undoubtedly the most prestigious person in attendance but he was not the only reason for any of us being there. The 150,000 people in attendance included medical doctors, neuroscientists, social workers, researchers, religious figures, educators, parents, students and other people from all walks of life. They all joined together on this momentous occasion to kick off the first ever, worldwide Seeds of Compassion Campaign, Ducette said.
“From all different paths of life, people came to share their knowledge and expertise about the importance of raising happy healthy children. They also came to celebrate and affirm a shared belief that by teaching compassion to the children we can create a better world. It has become common knowledge that children who grow up in healthy, happy and peaceful environments with secure emotional ties are better able to communicate with others and to explore their world, both of which lead to success in learning,” she said.
As the Dalai Lama said, “I am just one man among 6 billion people on Earth; and I am a 73-year old man who is about to say bye-bye to this life. You are all just one person among 6 billion people on Earth, it is up to you to be the difference the world so desperately needs.”
Ducette also said, “It was the most inspiring conference I have been to in ages. Yes, the Dalai Lama was there to share thoughtful insights and words of wisdom in his quiet non-assuming joyful way, but also every time I sat down the person next to me ended up being someone highly educated in their field of study, someone that impressed me to no end. Funny thing about that was, those people were just as excited to hear my story as I was to hear theirs. We were all there for one common purpose, which was to affirm our commitment to ensuring that the current generation of young people will be able to live in a world filled with peace and caring for one another.”
WTIU’s Ready To Learn Service teaches children and their grown ups to be wise media consumers via the Learning Triangle (View, Read, Do). Articles that miss the point of an historic gathering such as this conference are the very reason we at Ready To Learn teach children to question everything they see and hear in the media with an analytical mind.
After the Seattle conference, Ducette returned to participate in a week of sessions with the Indiana Association of the Education of Young Children conference in Indianapolis.