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Culture of Empathy Builder:  Lesley Grant


Lesley Grant & Edwin Rutsch: How to Build a Culture of Empathy with Mindfulness with Couples, Parents & Children

Lesley Grant, founder and director of Marin Mindfulness a unique community cooperative program that teaches mindfulness and loving-kindness practice to parents, teachers and children, preschool-preteens, speaks about how she is adapting mindfulness and applied mindfulness practices for children, parents and co-parenting couples, toward developing a culture of empathy.


She says: “Parents who practice mindfulness can develop the capacities to raise children who seek creative non-violent solutions to problems.” Mindful family relationships and both parents and children’s peer relationships are a foundation of a culture of empathy.
Sub Conference: Education  (Mindfulness)





Lesley Grant & Edwin Rutsch: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy with Mindfulness




  • 00:00 Introduction

  • (transcription pending)

  • (Video Transcriptions: If you would like to take empathic action and create a transcription of this video, check the volunteers page.  The transcriptions will make it easier for other viewers to quickly see the content of this video.)





Lesley Grant is the founder and director of Marin Mindfulness, a cooperative program teaching mindfulness and applied mindfulness to parents, children and teachers, which has served nearly 1,200 people during the last 10 years. The program is under the mentorship of Spirit Rock teacher Guy Armstrong. Lesley has both practiced Dharma and taught adults and children for over 30 years. Graduating from CIIS with a thesis in East/West psychology education, she developed a mindfulness-based somatic therapy program in a neurology clinic in 1984, practicing in medical clinics for 12 years. She also served as the internship director for a yoga-based stress management program in medical and mental health settings, as part of an East/West psychology Master's program through Sonoma State University, and then ordained as a Buddhist Nun. She returned to lay practice as a parenting godmother in 2003. She is a California certified early childhood teacher and director and has mentored teachers during the past 14 years.

Welcome I'm Edwin Rutsch,  Director of the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy. This is Short Stories for Nurturing Empathy:

Here is
a story by Lesley Grant . Lesley is the founder and director of Marin Mindfulness, a cooperative program teaching mindfulness and applied mindfulness to parents, children and teachers, which has served nearly 1,200 people during the last 10 years.







Nurturing Empathy Stories: Mindfulness, Children, Anger & Aggression

1. Mindfulness: Helps Child with Anger & Aggression

I.     Story of the Anger Fish

II.    Children saw Columbine shooting on Television- practice I did with them

III.    A boy heals his violent rage with loving-kindness bee wax practice.

IV.   Wise person said to a child “you can say “n0” strongly with your heart open.



Nurturing Empathy Stories: Mindfulness & a Nearly Mute Child - Find’s Her Voice


2. Mindfulness: Nearly Mute Child - Find’s Her Voice

a. A story about a young girl I worked with who is diagnosed with
selective mutism and finds her voice by practicing mindfulness
and being able to discuss her art work


b. after a year in the co-operative she is on the street corner
shouting out her compassion to advertise a lemonade stand
for an important international children’s cause.


c. she found her voice through mindfulness and compassion


Nurturing Empathy Stories: "Mindfulness Cooperatives” for Parents & Children


3. “Mindfulness Cooperatives” & Basic Good Heart

  1. What “Mindfulness Cooperative “ and how they Help Build a Culture of Empathy

  2. Empathy from children to a stress parent- mindful breathing from the car seats

  3. Parents mindfulness empathy for each other at pick up time,

  4. Circle of parents some moving quotes about how community of parents helps them.




Nurturing Empathy Stories: Mindfulness, Divorce & Co-parenting


4. Mindfulness- Divorce and Co-parenting
Divorcing couple in conflict over child custody – practice applied mindfulness
and really seeing and empathizing with each other hurt resolve the impasse and
become skillful co-parents

a.  Loving-Kindness Practice & Empathy for a pregnant mom victim of family violence ,
lose of her partner heals family –Mom and child practice loving-kindness


b.  How the children responded to the child going through this with empathy & generosity-family healing



Nurturing Empathy Stories: Mindfulness & Preventing Child Abuse


5. Mindfulness:  and Preventing Child Abuse

Dad with history in his own childhood of having been abused and his story and the staged house- empathy story

a.  Dad suddenly saw how little he was- empathy story

b.  Parents have told me mindfulness helps prevent child abuse





Nurturing Empathy Stories: Mindfulness helps Children with Fear 



6. Mindfulness and Self- Empathy helps Children with Fear 

a.  A child who sometimes has frightening nighttime seizures learns how to use mindfulness to calm her fears so she can sleep at night.

b.  The stick floating down the river- image for children working with thoughts

c.   You can pick up the stick to did a hole- just like you can pick up the thought and use it to solve a math problem

d.  Or you can let the thought go down the river

e.  The hamster in the hamster ball and picking up the hamster and scratching it behind the ears. (image for children working with feelings

f.   Children’s quotes help explain how this helps develop empathy for others.