Mac Paige is passionate about teaching underprivileged kids the life skills essential to living a socially and emotionally balanced life. As the Social Emotional Learning teacher at a Title 1 school in Denver, Colorado, Mac has a knack for finding creative ways to encourage children to be kind, to have a positive relationship with themselves and to do everything full heartedly.
Moon Bath: Where are you from and in what ways is this place still a part of you?
Mac: Despite having lived in many different places, I think there really is something about being a native New Yorker that never leaves a person. I was born and raised in the heart of New York City and that has definitely imparted me with some more classic New York traits such as blunt honesty, which I appreciate and enjoy, and impatience when things aren’t efficient…which I need to work on.
Moon Bath: What are you most excited about in your life right now?
Mac: Right now in my life I am most excited about starting my new job! After being a second and first grade teacher at a Title 1 school for the last few years, I am so excited to be starting a new program called Social Emotional Learning (SEL). Additionally, because I have summers off, I’m excited for all my travels this summer — I just got back from a couple weeks in Costa Rica and am leaving for Iceland next week!
Moon Bath: It’s so awesome that you teach underprivileged kids at Title 1 schools as the social emotional learning teacher. Can you tell us more about what that means?
Mac: Yes! As students are going through school and the world, they are being faced with a myriad of struggles — especially as our world becomes more complicated with every passing year. My job as the SEL teacher is to arm my students with the right life skills to make sure that they are socially and emotionally balanced and that can navigate their way through life successfully. I spend 45 minutes a week with each class in the school working on topics such as empathy, anger management, anxiety, self-expression, how to communicate effectively, creating relationships with people of varying opinions, etc. In short, I teach Good Person 101. It helps our future leaders to think about “us” rather than “me”….honestly, I believe most adults could use a lesson in this as well.
Moon Bath: What might it look like to have a healthy relationship with oneself?
Mac: A healthy relationship with oneself will obviously look different per person, but the trait that is most consistent is the practice of positive self-talk. This really means that you should treat yourself with the same kindness that you would expect from someone you are friends with. Everyone messes up, the key to having a healthy relationship with oneself is in how you deal with your own mistakes. (Though this doesn’t mean not keeping yourself accountable for mistakes.) For example, though it sounds silly, I will often call myself “babe” when I’m in a tough situation. Whether out loud or in my head I’ll calm myself down by saying something like, “It’s cool babe, everyone screws up, just keep going.” Treat yourself how you hope others will treat you…thats the real trick. Take the time and be gentle with yourself. The way you speak to yourself REALLY matters.
Moon Bath: Besides being such a bright light in the world, in what ways do you live as example for the children you teach?
Mac: Other than kindness, the main lesson I try to impart my kids with is a serious sense of adventure. As a world traveller, I love showing and telling my students about my travels — as well as taking them on as many field trips as I can! Simply put, the more you see, the more you know, the more empathy you have for others. The other lesson I try to impart them with is to do everything full heartedly — if we are going to farm for the day, we are going to go for it and get filthy, if we are going to dance, we will dance till we are panting!
Moon Bath: What are your top three most important self-care rituals for staying balanced?
Mac: My three most important daily self-care rituals are moving my body everyday (whether it is dancing, kayaking, hiking, etc), having some alone time everyday to recharge, and soaking in the bath tub.
Moon Bath: What do you do while your tub is filling up?
Mac: Usually when my tub is filling up…I dance! I really love putting on music and moving my body ecstatically before hopping in the water to relax.
Moon Bath: What items are sitting on the edge of your bathtub?
Mac: Oiy…I really am a bath and skincare junkie. While I’m in the bath I usually do a mask, so in addition to my army of Moon Bath products (my favorite is the Milk & Honey Bathing Salt) I have a plethora of scrubs, oils, and masks. Some of my favorite brands include Moon Bath, Mahalo, Tata Harper, and May Windstorm.
Moon Bath: Where does your mind most often wander while you’re immersed in your Moon Bath?
Mac: It may sound a little cheesy, but my ritual before letting my mind totally wander and relax while I’m in the bath is to pick a moment from my day where I really wasn’t my best self. Without being unkind to myself, I think about what I did or said, why I maybe reacted like that, and then how I could do better next time. It’s something that I used to ask my kids to do and has become a part of my ritual for ending my day as well. Big changes don’t happen overnight, but they can happen when we can self-reflect a little bit each day.