I grew up with Goldie Hawn.
She doesn’t know that. She was on the TV and I was at home, watching Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. Giggly Goldie from that popular 60s TV series was, of course, a role played by a talented actress. An Oscar-winning actress who remains active professionally today.
She has also been practicing meditation and mindfulness since 1973. That would lead Goldie to create the Hawn Foundation to provide learning programs to improve school performance through better social-emotional learning.
Goldie came to this year’s SXSWedu to describe the road from being a scared young girl to becoming the driving force behind the MindUP™ program.
A Civil Defense movie shown at school terrified her as a child. Opening with an ominous countdown and then a mushroom cloud of death, it issued warnings to “Duck & Cover” if you heard air raid sirens. Haunted by that terror for years, she would panic at the sound of any siren. A siren in the night might prompt a call to the police to make sure she was safe from a nuclear attack.
Add some minor learning difficulties (mild dyslexia) to that feeling of fear and worry, and Goldie had a somewhat difficult time in school. Even with a supportive mother, her anxiety would sometimes overwhelm her ability to learn well. Worse yet, no one much thought there was anything to do to calm her mind down to learn better.
In 2001, when the horrific events of 9-11 thrust all of us — adults and children — back into the grips of terror again, Goldie felt the familiar anxiety rising again. After crying with her children and soothing them and helping them cope with the immediate feelings of fear, she set about creating a new program — MindUP™ — to help children deal with stress and learn to calm their minds so they can do better in school, and in life in general.
As explained on the Hawn Foundation website:
“Founder Goldie Hawn collaborated with neuroscientists, cognitive psychologists and educators to create MindUP™, a program that fosters a classroom-learning environment…proven to reduce stress, improve academic performance, strengthen abilities for concentration and help children and educators thrive…”
Drawing on her years of meditation and practice of mindfulness, Goldie brought the idea to fruition and now, over 500,000 students participate in MindUP™ programs in 5 countries., learning simple brain anatomy and basics of prosical behaviors as well ass the power of a simple “brain break.”
Here is some of what Goldie said at SXSWedu (apologies for the odd shot angles):
Thank you, Goldie — for all the laughter & love throughout our lifetimes, but even more, thank you for caring to create the MindUP™ program.