Is it even possible to reflect and slow down? In a world where fast internet speed is the difference between a productive hour and a wasted one. Where we are constantly juggling timetables and start times to get kids to afterschool activities, play dates and appointments. Where a standard response from any “How are you?” is simply “busy” or ” really good thanks but busy”. Whatever the phrase you can bet most people add the word ‘busy’ somewhere. (I am not excluded here)
The dilemma of the modern parent, child or person today is that they are often so stressed and hurried and in desperate need of slowing down, yet they are often so stressed and hurried that they feel they do not have time to slow down.
This last week I have taken a little extra notice of finding time to live in the moment more and be more mindful. I certainly know I am not the first person to call out for this and I also know that with 5 children, being less busy is not always an option. I can however, be more mindful of the moments, and make them really matter.
My friend Kelly Exeter described it beautifully last week in her post about creating whitespace. I think finding that time and space free from having to ‘be somewhere’ or’ be something’ to someone is going to become imperative not only for ourselves, but even more so for our kids.
Admittedly it has been a little easier this last week as I have been on school holidays visited some different parts of our beautiful State and enjoyed this all with friends and family. I have walked up mountains and stopped to take in breathtaking views. I have savoured the taste of chocolate easter eggs and the smell of hot cross buns. I have sat with friends and talked and listened and laughed. I have felt the sun on my face and heard the crashing of waves. I have watched my children play, laugh, fight, run, fight, and kick a ball, swim and wrestle.
I have watched my son wait patiently for that elusive wave as he lay on his surfboard observing each ripple and wondering what it would amount to. I admired his patience and his ability to wait and see in a world that too rarely offers our children the chance to wait and see. This is what I fear for children today. Each moment is filled with doing. With checking or scrolling or darting from one hyperlink to the next without getting a chance to ponder.
Recently I was doing a workshop on online safety with a group of primary aged school kids and before my session they were doing some meditating as part of their ‘wellbeing’ week (watching the earnest faces of these kids trying so hard to put all the other thoughts out of their head was just beautiful). Then that same week my 14 year old son asked for new coloured pencils to do his ‘colouring in’ for his ‘Mind, Body and spirit ‘ class. So the signs are there that we recognise this need be more mindful.
We need it to continue and we need it to be more than one week or one class.
We need those times of whitespace, and those times to reflect.
Because reflection is our time to think, to analyse, to appreciate, to decide, to be curious, to imagine, to wonder, to be grateful, to peruse, to muse and to dream.
Things that are way too important to lose.
This last week I have been using the hashtag #tmpmoments (The Modern Parent moments) to remind myself. I know there is some irony in taking a photo but I have been conscious of taking a quick snap and then putting away the phone and waiting for another time to upload and share. Please feel free to use the hashtag too if you need reminding to slow down and enjoy, listen, taste, smell and feel a moment a little more before moving on to the next one.
What about you? Could you or your kids have a little more time to reflect? Do you think it is something we are in danger of losing?