The snow on the pumpkin almost kept me in.
Jacket? Check. Hat? Nah…headband. Mittens? Check. Garmin? Check. Three miles today, Girl.
Phone? Check. Earbuds? Check.
I opened my front door and met a brilliant orange, pink, blue sky.
Ready. Set . . . Maybe not.
Earbuds. Uncheck. Phone. Uncheck. Not today.
Too much orange. Too much pink. Too much blue.
Today I decided to unplug the ears and open the eyes. Not that I can’t listen and look at the same time. I really can walk while I chew gum . . . if I’m not going too fast.
But today I decided to open my ears and eyes to everything around me.
Some of my writing for children (most, I should say) centers around the theme of mindfulness—mindful of the world around you, the people who love you, the Creator who made you.
It’s not hard to name the distractions that take us out of the moments we wish we could hold on to. What’s hard to hold is a posture of being present in the moment—giving our full attention to the task, the conversation, the sunrise in front of us. We find ourselves multi-tasking. We think we are anyway. Multi-tasking is a myth. Neuroscientists call it “task-switching.” There are dangers in believing this myth. If you’re not convinced, get convinced here.
But it’s hard to help our children grow in mindfulness. Those little energizer bunnies don’t quit!
But it’s not impossible.
When I have some of these bunnies around my table, I plant a few seeds of mindfulness by eating in “slow-mo.” We each take a bit of food, chew it slowly, and think about how it feels and what it tastes like. It’s hilarious! Slow motion with kids is like a foreign language—it makes no sense! But they do it! In fact, they see who can chew the slowest! (Gotta make everything a competition, right?)
On your mark. Get set. S-l-o-w.
After a few rounds everyone’s getting hangry so it doesn’t last too long, but it puts us in the moment, keeps lunch serene, and builds a little vocabulary. I know—I’m a stikler for turning any captive audience into a classroom. Oh, and Class, the word “good” is not acceptable!!
My five-year-old-cute-as-a-bunny-grandaughter now asks for “slow-mo” when we have lunch together. I love it. We’re in the moment . . . together. And the more time I have to look into her eyes the better, because before long her batteries will be recharged, she’ll be off her chair, and I’ll be trying to keep up.
I’ll plant what I can when I can. Because being mindful brings us fully into the moment.
And moments don’t last forever.
Like this sunset this past weekend. I wanted to be all there. And I was.
Here are a few books to help plant seeds of mindfulness into your little shoots. (And when I have some of my own books to share, I’ll let you know!)
THE LISTENING WALK By Paul Showers Illustrated by Award Winning Author/Illustrator Aliki
A young girl takes a walk with her father and dog.
We go down the street and we do not talk. My father puts his hands in his pockets and thinks. Major walks ahead and sniffs. I keep still and listen.
TAKE YOUR TIME by Eva Furrow and Donna Jo Napoli (A mother and daughter team!) Illustrated by Laurel Molk
Harriet the Tortoise does everything slowly. (She even eats slowly! Way to go Harriet!) Despite her speed, there are adventures at every turn!
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE PRESENT? By Rana DiOrio
Illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
…and today is a gift—that’s why we call it the present!
This book would make a great present!
Enjoy each moment today . . . one at a time.