One of the joys of being a parent is watching your children grow. Seeing them explore the world around them and take an interest in learning all about it. Noticing the leaves on the trees changing colour, ice melting to water, aeroplanes leaving contrails in the sky. Their natural observation leads them to other discoveries too. Today Munch found a small snail that had somehow become wedged in the opening of a larger snail’s shell.
This interest in our world always helps me to focus on being more mindful as well. I make a conscious effort to notice the small things around me along with the big ones. To take a moment to appreciate the wind on my skin and the varying colours of the clouds above. To engage in the present moment. More importantly though, to give time and attention to the little discoveries that my children make, and to interact with their present too. Whether I’ve seen it before or not, to them it’s important, and that’s what matters. And it matters that we focus on it at that point in time.
It occurred to me, a few years ago now, that whilst mindfulness may seem to come more naturally to children, it should still be consciously encouraged. A wise teacher friend led me in the direction of an excellent book, ‘Sitting Still Like A Frog’ This brilliant book has exercises for you to complete with your children as you move through the chapters. My friend said that an ex-colleague of hers had used it at school with a primary class, such is its appeal.
I really believe in the benefit of practising mindfulness with my children. It can seem at times as though life is a constant rush between one place and the next for us all. That moment of calm though, that focusing of attention on the here and now with no judgement passed, is so important. In fact I think that it’s healthy for us all.
I don’t ever want them to lose those moments of sitting still. Of feeling. Of collecting their thoughts. Of clearing their heads of the noise that can so easily envelop us as we get older.
With this in mind, we are putting more focus on these little moments this year, consciously filling our diary a little less and giving more opportunity for the smaller things in life. Listening to each other. Learning from each other. Celebrating each other.
Do you encourage mindfulness? I’d love to know what works in your family! Do drop me a comment below.