There is no greater example of presence than in a young child. I walk my kids to school; fair weather of course. If not it is the SUV, and the trip much more abbreviated, and a lot less beneficial.
I find that many of the things I find myself coaching my kids to abstain from, are simply the examples of youth, innocence, exploration, and harmless expressions of being present in the moment. They often mention to me, “Daddy, I want to grow up right now!” I recoil in horror as many of us wish we could turn back the clocks. I say this not in the dream of having the svelte and slender frame I had as a youth, as somewhere my six-pack turned into a keg; but that the circumstances of our life were so different. It was all about the context.
We had fears, we had obstacles, we had dreams, and we had relationships as we do now, but man oh man, were the contexts much different.
The only ladder we had to climb was to get the Frisbee off the roof.
War. War was a game we played with cards. We would get through the deck and yell, “Two out of three, okay?” The only blood we would experience would be from a skinned knee while climbing a tree. Miracle cures were mother’s kisses. Rebuilding devastated civilizations were what ants did if we stomped on the little mounds of dirt we found punctuating our play areas.
Snap back to reality...
I guess I find that it is spending time with my kids and their friends that allow me this stroll down memory lane. It happened to me yesterday as I encountered a stranger on the street outside my business. Casual pleasantries about the weather detoured into a string of minutes discussing moments from my small town that would make Norman Rockwell proud. I found he was a widower, a handful of years my senior, and after our brief chat, strolled onward with a smile he did not arrive with. Like my kids share their presence with me, I shared with him. That’s how it works.
I like being where I am I guess. I can now reach the cookies unassisted; once being another life goal. I can go as far as my car can take me as opposed to how far I can peddle. Maybe a little more freedom, but the interpretation of that statement leaves itself for another discussion.
As the presence and living in the moment is precious to a child, it is the ability to be present myself that allows me to recognize these things happening in my kids and around me. If I am in-tune, I can tune-in to what my kids are experiencing more so. Although presence of mind is a true gift, I find it is still healthy to occasionally take a little vacation.
Repost from Artisan of the Human Spirit