Are you always looking ahead, planning for the next milestone, the next raise, the next event?
We seem to live in a world where we are always preparing for what's ahead. In elementary school we prepare for high school, in high school we prepare for college, in college we prepare for the work place.....
All this thinking ahead is robbing us of the chance to live in the moments of today.
Rushing through childhood
As we prepare children for life, do we push them ahead too quickly?
We have expectations of when they should walk, when they should talk, when they need to learn to read....but when do we expect them to be just kids?
Any parent understands how fast life gets when you watch kids grow up. Three years seems to go by in minutes! It is important then to enjoy each moment, each day because they are only that old, that one day. Every day they change, they learn, they grow and so each day is very unique to who they are. Focusing on who they are and not who they will be should be the goal.
Children are very good at living in the moment. They focus on the toys that are in front of them, the important thing right then is what they are doing at that moment. You probably have noticed that when you ask a child questions about their day you get a lot of "I don't know." That part of their day has gone, now they are focused on spending time with you.
It is us, as adults, who are concerned with time, with past memories, with future plans. Now, as adults we have a lot of plans to arrange and things to do so it is difficult to always live in the moment. But what is important is that we try to allow the kids to enjoy the present. To not have to worry about what they want to be when they grow up, but to just be a kid right now.
As a grandparent I have learned the importance of living in the moment with the kids. As I watch the things they do I realize that I don't remember experiencing the same things with my kids. Certainly there were a lot of things that we did but it always seemed like we rushed to this, ran to that and made plans for the next week.
As a grandparent, I can sit with the kids and only have to focus on them. I don't need to worry about the every day issues that parents worry about, I can just relax and spend time with them.
And although it is harder for parents to not have to plan ahead, to worry about the finances, arrange for child care and so many other things that need to be thought of all the time, it is important to take some time to just live in the moment with the kids. Book some time in your schedule if you need to, pick one day a week for family game night, plan separate outings with each child so you can maximize the focus on that particular child.
Take time to play with them, craft with them or watch a movie with them. Take time to listen to their stories, to answer their questions and to read together. Take time just to sit together enjoying cloud formations, splash together in a puddle or toboggan down a hill.
Not only is this quality time good for your kids, it will be good for you!
Book recommendation: I'm Still Here
This is a story about a struggle to get noticed. Baby bird's parents are distracted by other things in their lives and miss out on seeing the bird fly.
this book is available from the Quite a Character bookstore.
"What day is it?"
It's today," squeaked Piglet.
My favorite day," said Pooh."
-- A.A. Milne
Allowing yourself to enjoy the moments with your child does require a few skills like patience and listening. Check out the blog post Are You Listening to read more about this skill.