The R.L.S. (Real Life Skills) Program teaches students the skills they need for a more productive, happier life full of success and enjoyment.

A visitor to Riverbend Academy, a successful businessman who had heard about the school and was considering sending his son, walked down the hallways and I could see the puzzled look on his face.

“Is it always this quiet?” he asked.

“Only during meditation times,” I said.

“Meditation?” he asked. His face clearly adding the unspoken, What kind of school is this???

“Meditation,” I repeated, motioning for him to look in the class. Students sat at their desks, some with the heads down, some sitting up with their eyes closed, one girl on the floor in the lotus position.

I stepped back into the hall and my visitor paused and then followed me back toward the the meeting room. “Little old for nap-time, aren’t they?”

I knew that tone which also said, why are you wasting valuable education time?

This was not the first time I’d heard that same concern. “I bet your business and mine have all the same challenges.”

“My business?” he said, snorting. “I’ve got almost 100 employees. I doubt you have my problems.

“Challenges like absenteeism, lack of focus, too many on leave because of stress, poor attitudes, lackadaisical attitudes, incapable of learning new concepts, software, and systems?”

Grudgingly, he nodded.

“Sounds a lot like that class before we started meditating. The benefits of meditation are numerous and well researched but here are the top five that relate to our students.”

1)    After practicing meditation for just a few weeks, students improve in all areas of academic achievement but particularly creative thinking, practical intelligence, and IQ with the added benefit (or possibly the result of) increased focus.

2)    Meditation produces higher self-esteem and emotional competence increasing confidence and generating a more positive, happier outlook on school and life in general.

3)    Meditation reduces the instances of stress, depression, and anxiety as well as ADHD symptoms increasing performance on exams and tests and overall health.

4)    Even after only practicing meditation for a total of 11 hours, brain scans of students show increased levels of function in the areas of the brain responsible for cognitive and intellectual performance.

5)    Studies of elementary and secondary students who practice meditation on a daily basis demonstrate significant reduction in absenteeism and bad behaviour – in some cases reducing both by as much as 65%.

“And then the bonus,” I added. “Not all our meditation happens in low lights and soft music. The place you really need calm and clear thinking is during a crisis. We encourage our students to find ways to calm themselves during all situations and settings, like right before an exam. How valuable would you consider an employee who was capable of bringing down the level of wasted, panicked activity during a crisis simply by their ability to project calm and peace?”

I could tell by the smile on his face that he was remembering one of those types of people – probably someone he wished he could have hired.

“Meditation, eh?” he finally said. “You have anyone that could teach it to my management staff?”

“I’m sure some of our kids would love to trade a couple of periods to do a workshop,” I said.