“That Don’t Impress Me Much”

From the first time we try to convince our toddlers that the toy INSIDE the cardboard box is, in fact, the real present, we are imposing our value system on them. We tell them what is important, what is interesting, and how they should be spending their time and attention.IMG_20130204_125905.jpg

And at every turn, despite our best efforts, they defy us.

We spend years carefully crafting homemade dinners, Hallowe’en costumes, and birthday party favours, only to have them rejected in disgust for the “more desirable” store-bought, mass-produced versions.

It can be hard to impress kids, particularly if you’re their parents. Whether you’re trying to show off your  awesome swing dance moves, your fabulous cooking skills or your ability to sing all the lyrics to “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” chances are these talents will go unappreciated if you seek the wrong audience. We take them to our favourite places, and they whine “can we go home now?”

Why are kids so hard to impress?

This was illustrated perfectly for my husband and me on Easter weekend. We had a tremendous ice storm, which led to treacherous roads, power outages, downed tree limbs, and the most spectacular, dazzling, ice-covered enchanted wonderland of a city. This only happens once every couple of years or so. My husband and I stood by the windows in delight, fascinated by the glittering trees, and jumped outside with the camera whenever the sun would peek through the clouds. Each twig was encased in crystal.

We dressed up the kids to take them out to the local woodlot. It would have been a truly magical experience, if it hadn’t been thoroughly ruined by a 4-year old who promptly sat down on the sidewalk and cried about an imaginary injury that had paralyzed his legs. (A note to the more caring and sympathetic parents among you: This “injury” has been popping up every time he doesn’t want to do something.) We kept going, enduring constant howls and declarations of injustice. (If anyone can explain how walking in the woods is “unfair,” I’d like to know.) But, we pushed on, “Can’t you see the magic?”

Last weekend, we took them to the Science Centre. The best part of the day for my youngest? The escalator. I kid you not. We could have saved $100 and gone to Sears instead.

And, by the time they’re cynical teenagers, forget it.

The only thing we can really hope is that some of our intentions rub off on them by the time they grow up. And, I do have hope. It would be easy to say that it’s just this generation of children, that they don’t appreciate what they have and only are entertained by screens these days. But, I’m not convinced of that. Here’s why: I remember desperately wanting the plastic store-bought Hallowe’en costume. I remember being dragged on family car trips, bickering with my sister, and, in general, complaining a lot. I remember being entirely unimpressed by a lot of things. Sorry Mom and Dad.

But, I grew up, and somewhere along the way, I grew to understand the value of the homemade dinners and the time in nature, and to develop an appreciation for the beauty of the world.

So, here’s my plan: I will accept that my children have the right to choose what makes them happy, and where they find value in the world. I’m going to stop worrying about impressing them, but I will continue to revel in the beauty of nature, to cook elaborate homemade meals, and to sing the Fresh Prince lyrics with abandon, because these things make ME happy.

Maybe one day, some of the same things will make them happy too.

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Trails for what ails you

I don’t tend to see things in black in white. I believe most issues are complicated, thorough evidence can be hard to come by, and valid arguments often exist on both sides of a debate. But in this case…I’m going to just go ahead and say:

Hands down….

No point in debating….

All signs point to the fact that….

Time spent in nature is good for your health. 

In fact, it is hard to come up with very many health conditions that can’t be improved in some small (or possibly large) way by contact with nature.  This isn’t going to be comprehensive by any means, but let me give you a few examples.

Mental Health:

Depression, Anxiety and Stress

This is probably the biggest field where time in nature has demonstrated significant power over health and quality of life.ache-19005_640

It is possible that our disconnection with nature was a driving force behind the pandemic of depression and anxiety in society today. It would be impossible to ethically experiment or tease apart the variables, but it does seem a likely candidate as a contributing factor.

This article looks at the link between stress and access to natural areas.

Psychology researchers Rachel and Stephen Kaplan have done a great deal of research on the topic of environmental psychology and have found a strong association between stress reduction and time in nature. Their book “The experience of nature” addresses this thoroughly.

Attention Deficit Disorder

I highly doubt that it was a coincidence that Richard Louv picked the term “Nature Deficit Disorder” for his popular theory on children’s dissociation with nature. Researchers have demonstrated how children with Attention Deficit issues can improve their symptoms through nature contact.

Physical and Mental Health Link:

Mental Health and Physical Health are so closely related, that symptoms and suffering experienced due to physical illness can often be improved by dealing with mental health. In Mindfulness and Buddhist philosophy, they call mental suffering the “second arrow.” We suffer once from pain, and a second time from thinking about the pain, and replaying things over and over. Another blogger explains it here.

So, it can easily be said that any of the mental health benefits we attain from time in room-928653_640nature, will be transferable to our physical health. Here’s a great example:

Hospital studies found that views of nature out of a window significantly improve patient outcomes, including reduced need for pain medication and shortened stays (See here, and here, for examples).

But, there are also more direct physical health benefits.

Physical Health

Obesity

One of the biggest health problems in North America today is the obesity epidemic. Obesity leads to a host of other health problems, and is appearing in younger and younger children. I don’t think I really need to tell you that physical activity is one of the keys to battling obesity, but it does bear mentioning that a community that promotes active transportation, and provides pleasant options for walking or cycling (such as a network of trails) is likely to be more successful in this battle.sphygmomanometer-915652_640

 

On that note, any health conditions that can be improved by physical activity would be subject to this argument. Regular physical activity helps prevent countless conditions, but it can also improve existing ones. While we’re on this, I might as well say that physical activity improves lung function, heart muscle strength, and blood pressure. It reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and heart attack, and helps regulate blood sugar. (National Institute of Health) 

BUT! you may argue, there are other ways to get physical activity. Yes, there are. But where would you rather go for a jog?

 

So, these might seem a little obvious….but wait, there’s more!

Immune FunctionSurgical-mask

In Japan, something called “Shinrinyoku” or “Forest Bathing” has become a popular health treatment. These researchers found improved immune function resulted from time in nature.

Blood Pressure

There is also a measurable reduction in blood pressure during “forest bathing.” This may be in addition to the blood pressure benefits from regular exercise, but I’m not entirely sure.

Myopia

Nearsighted? Me too. But, increasing time spent outdoors may help prevent the development of myopia. Too late for me….but what about the kids? Check out this meta-analysis.  

InsomniaIMG_3778

The artificial light sources that we experience for most of the day are likely messing with our circadian rhythms. Want a reset? Try camping!  This wasn’t a huge study, but if the results tell me to go camping, I’m in.

I don’t really have to stop there, but this is getting really long. Thanks for reading this far by the way.

So, whether you’re suffering from Insomnia, Myopia, Anxiety, Heart Disease, Attention difficulties, or, if you just need a break from American Politics… there’s a trail for what ails you.  

 

Sources:

Faber Taylor A, Kuo FE, Sullivan WC. (2001) Coping with ADD: the surprising connection to green play settings. Environ Behav. 33:54–77.

Grahn, P & Stigsdotter, U. (2003). Landscape Planning and Stress. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening Vol 2, pp 1-18 (2003). Urban & Fischer Verlag, Jena

Kaplan, R., Kaplan, S. (1989) The experience of nature: A psychological perspective. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Li, Q. (2010). Effect of forest bathing trips on human immune function. Environmental Health and Preventative Medicine. 15(1): 9-17.

Mao G.X., Cao, Y.B., Lan, X.G., He, Z.H., Chen, Z.M., Wang, Y.Z., Hu, X.L., Lv, Y.D., Wang, G.F., Yan, J. (2012). Therapeutic effect of forest bathing on human hypertension in the elderly. Journal of Cardiology. 60:495-502.

Raanaas, R. K., Patil, G., & Alve, G. (2015). Patients’ recovery experiences of indoor plants and views of nature in a rehabilitation centerWork, 53(1), 45-55.

Sherwin JC, Reacher MH, Keogh RH, Khawaja AP, Mackey DA, Foster PJ.(2012) The association between time spent outdoors and myopia in children and adolescents: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ophthalmology. 119(10):2141-51

Ulrich, R. S. (1984). View through a window may influence recovery from surgery. Science. 224:420-422.

 

Other Websites and Articles:

National Institute of Health: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/phys/benefits

Scientific American article: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/trouble-sleeping-go-campi/

http://beinghappiness.com/how-mindfulness-helps/

 

 

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Cars vs. Pedestrians: School Edition

Two weeks ago, a headline in our local paper caught my attention:
“Parking rules too tough on parents, guardians?” The article went on to explain that city councillors in a neighbouring community are having staff review school zone parking rules that are “making it hard for parents and guardians to drop off and pick up students.”

Wait … what??

Parking rules around schools are there for a reason.

These zones are designed so that school buses have a safe place to stop, so that traffic is dispersed and children are able to safely benwalkingcross roads near the school, and so that idling, polluting cars are kept away from heavy pedestrian areas. These areas are important, and need better enforcement.

I quickly wrote a letter to the editor, which was published, but I felt the topic deserved some attention here on the blog as well.

“But I’m too busy to walk!”

In an ideal world, children would be walking to and from school all the time. But, I’m not trying to argue that people always have this choice. Realistically, that isn’t an option for everyone.

We are all busy with jobs, appointments and lessons.  (And, of course, trying to maneuver a sled, stroller or screaming, slow, smaller sibling through un-shovelled slush and sticky snow is not simple). As much as I’m in favour of getting kids to walk, this year we only manage to walk home in the afternoon. We live a 25 minute walk (if my turtle-esque children are walking with me) from the school. I think we are actually at the furthest edge of our school zone.

So, I get it, people (myself included) are going to drive.

But, under what conditions can a parking spot a block or two away from the school be considered a hardship? The only exception, as someone brought up in response to the newspaper letter, would be for someone with a disability. But, there are designated spots for that.

So, can we stop pretending we are so busy we can’t afford the five minutes to walk a block? Let’s just acknowledge the fact that running late typically comes from poor planning, and that avoiding a block of walking by parking for twenty minutes in front of the school is sheer laziness. Of course, I am sometimes guilty of laziness and poor planning, but it doesn’t mean I park in the bus zone.

What are the implications of this behaviour?

I am comfortable walking all around the neighbourhood with my kids, even near busy streets. But, there is one place where my heart starts to race, and that’s in front of our school.

We have rules. They are not followed.

We have crossing guards, but only in two locations on one side of the school.bus

At our school, parents race their cars for the prime spots right in front of the building, in the areas designated for school buses. A whole line of cars idles along the road in the winter for a full 20 minutes before the bell rings. They park right up to and inside the intersections, completely blocking crosswalks. I regularly see cars doing u-turns in our crosswalks and three-point turns right in front of school buses. I see cars using driveways to turn around, zipping right onto sidewalks where small children are trying to walk. I see these things every single day and someone is going to get hurt.

Once in a while, there is a bylaw officer handing out tickets. On those days, the rules are followed. When there is no officer, everyone goes back to the same patterns. Maybe the by-law officers need to start jumping out from behind trees?

“What can we do?”

If there is one place in our community that we have to put pedestrian safety ahead of traffic convenience, it is at our schools. We need our children to be able to safely navigate the streets near the schools, and we need to make the idea of walking home desirable and possible again. This will take cooperation from children, schools, parents, community members, law enforcement and politicians.

In summary:

  1. Ideally, when possible, children should be walking to and from school. Recent Ontario research indicates that 42% of children are driven to and from school today, while only 13% of their parents were. (http://www.saferoutestoschool.ca/) Children are getting nowhere near the necessary amount of exercise, and obesity has become an epidemic.
  2. When walking isn’t an option, safe parking zones away from the front of the schools are typically indicated. These must be clearly presented by the schools and observed by parents.IMG_20140106_154109
  3. If walking a block is uncomfortable in the winter, we can wear boots, and scarves, and snowpants (whatever it takes).
  4. We know better than to idle our cars, right? We don’t? Here you go: http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/efficiency/communities-infrastructure/transportation/cars-light-trucks/idling/4415
  5. More by-law enforcement is needed around schools (or at least ours).
  6. There is no excuse for making a u-turn in a crosswalk. Period.
  7. City rules MUST put pedestrian safety ahead of traffic convenience, especially near schools.

Ok, this Mama Bear is done for now. Please help me keep my cubs safe.

Thanks for reading!

If you have seen good solutions to these problems, I welcome you to share them in the comments. Every school has a different set of issues, but I know many of these are common.

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Malleable Landscapes

Many animals are engineers. Beavers build dams, spiders build webs, termites build buildingsmounds, and humans build houses, bridges, log cabins, towers, and monuments. Small humans build snow forts, tree houses, lego castles, and blanket and clothespin hideouts.

I’ve always been fascinated by child-created spaces. I’ve been watching the landscape around my son’s school gradually change over the years and across the seasons and it got me thinking about how important this process is to child development.

 

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In a small forest behind the school, kids constructed a large dirt half-pipe in order to do tricks on their bmx bikes. This was not sanctioned by the city, but the city is aware of it, and (somewhat to my surprise) decided to let it stay.

In the warmer seasons, the sand beneath the play structure in the schoolyard becomes pitted with giant holes dug by the students. Interestingly, (or vexingly, to this laundry-weary mom) my young son is far more drawn to these muddy holes than he is to the play structures.

This winter, as the snow comes and goes, I have been watching the landscape change drastically every day. We’ve seen holes and tunnels, sliding hills, piled up ice bricks and sculpted fortresses. There was a fabulous ice patch going down a hill that the kids loved to slide down, until some grown-up discovered this and put salt down (I get it…. head injuries, lawyers, yadda yadda. Sigh. Grown-ups are no fun.)

Doesn’t a freshly plowed giant pile of snow make for the most spectacular malleable landscape though? New materials arriving at no cost all the time! Unfortunately, as the temperature creeps up to 10 degrees Celsius today, we have little to no snow left. What? It’s February! Come ON!

It isn’t just the joy of creating something though. When given the opportunity, children love to find ways to hide away from disapproving parental eyes (where they are free to lick icicles and make bathroom jokes). Perhaps it stems from our perch-547294_640evolutionary history, when our biggest threat came in the form of human-eating carnivores rather than “mom’s angry face,” but humans instinctively like to have places to hide.

I’ve spoken before about the idea of “adventure playgrounds” which host an abundance of loose materials and tools to build with, experiment and explore. They have caught on in many places around the world. Natural playgrounds that employ naturally occurring land features and materials for playing, climbing and building are also gaining in popularity. In the summer, when it is complete, I’m going to post about a new natural playground in my community that I’m very excited about. Unfortunately these ideas are tricky to balance (and often to gain approval) in our increasingly litigious society, where no one wants to take personal responsibility for safety.

But, if we can create more opportunities for children to build their own challenging environments, they will learn skills that cross so many domains. Think of the possibilities: social skills and cooperation, coordination and balance, engineering and math (just to name a few). They’re also spending time outside, and getting physical activity. If you follow my blog, you may have heard about a few advantages of those two things.

Allowing children to fully engage with environments is so important in their development of self-efficacy, as well as their ability to learn about appropriate risks. Once in a while I still have to remind myself to take a step back, and just watch what my children are capable of creating.

For further reading, check out David Sobel’s book called: “Children’s Special Places: Exploring the Role of Forts, Dens and Bush Houses in Middle Childhood.”

Photo Sources: Me, and Pixabay.com

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The Pinterest Illusion

The internet is teeming with lonely, exhausted mom bloggers (*lifts hand*). At times, it feels like the internet is our only connection to other adults. As such, we turn to it for support, for advice, for inspiration, and for company. We also look to it for validation, and this comes with certain risks.

If you are of a particular generation, and have kids, or friends with kids, you’re inevitably going to see the words “Mommy Wars” and “Sanctimommy” popping up all over the place.  But, I firmly believe that these so-called wars are occurring almost entirely in our own heads as a result of what I like to call the “Pinterest Illusion.”

The fact is, what most people post on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram & Twitter is a highly edited, carefully curated sample of highlights, not the blooper reel.

We look at our own lives: the tantrums, the unidentifiable sticky puddle on the kitchen floor, the piles of mis-matched socks, the KD for dinner (again). Then we open pictures of smiling babies wearing cloth diapers and hand-knitted sweaters and eating organic

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Not wearing cloth diapers

homemade peas in sparkling kitchens. The funny thing is, that picture was taken five minutes before that baby started to scream and splatter peas all over the sparkling kitchen, the homemade sweater, and the tearful mom suffering from post-partum depression.

We look at that perfect picture, and feel it is a judgment. It isn’t. Let me repeat, IT ISN’T. Mom posted that picture in hopes of creating some sort of illusion of sanity and peace in her life. This is the Pinterest Illusion.

The choices we make are not judgments of others.

If I choose to breastfeed my child until he is three or bottle feed from birth, it is not a comment on your choice. If I choose to co-sleep with my child or put him in a crib, it is not a comment on your choice.  If I choose to feed my children McDonald’s or ethically-raised, fair trade, vegan, gluten-free, organic, free-range tofu for dinner, it is not a comment on your choice (though it might be a comment on my understanding of the word “free-range”).

These are simply the best answers I could come up with out of the ridiculous amount of information and advice out there, combined with my particular set of life circumstances and stressors. They’re going to be different than your answers, and that’s ok.

But, we see moms make different choices on the internet, and they make us question our own. The differences make us defensive. But, different is ok. We all have different information and different circumstances that will lead to different choices. My choice is not an attack on yours!

I’m not denying the fact that “sanctimommies” are out there. I’m sure they are. Maybe I’ve just been lucky, but, the vast majority of moms I see on the internet are perfectly nice, normal humans just trying to make sense of all of the information out there, doing the best they can, and most importantly…supporting each other! The only evidence I can find of the existence of “sanctimommies” is blog post after blog post lashing back against these judgmental mothers who take it upon themselves to correct everyone else.  Where are these judgmental mothers? Maybe you’ve met one, but you can’t pretend that’s the norm.

Does posting the highlights of one’s life rather than bloopers make a person a “sanctimommy?”

I threw my son a stupidly elaborate Harry Potter party. When I posted pictures on Facebook, I put up pictures of the homemade wands, the Honeydukes goody bags, the platform 9 ¾ door hanging, my son in his costume, the potions, and all the decorations.

What I did not post was a picture of the kid crying when he lost his wand. I didn’t post the fact that we had exhausted all activities after 15 minutes and that some of the kids ran screaming around the house while some were trying to watch the movie.  I didn’t post the beautiful dinner that was barely touched by any of the children and I didn’t post the mess we had to clean up afterwards. I didn’t post the eye-rolls of the kid who thought the activities were lame, and I didn’t post about the anxiety I experienced from having to throw two birthday celebrations in two days. But these things happened.IMG_20150730_152900056

I regularly blog about outdoor activities, and show my smiling kids playing outside, but I don’t post pictures of me fighting to get them out the door, or the laundry I had to do after one of them intentionally sat in a mud puddle. Why would I? Would you?

We can turn to the internet for advice and for inspiration, but we can’t use it to evaluate our own lives. We all have our talents, and we all have our shortcomings. There are good days and there are bad days.

We are all in this together, so let’s stop pretending there’s a war.

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Battling Ephibiphobia

A number of my friends are teachers, and most of them work in elementary schools. However, when it comes to those who work in high schools, I’ve always looked at them with a mixture of reverence and pity. I thought I was afraid of teenagers (that’s called ephibiphobia… there’s a fun piece of trivia). As it turns out, I simply hadn’t spoken to any since I was one! Sporting glasses, braces and suede vests, my nerdy teen years were somewhat less than socially optimal. But, things change. Oh, I’m still nerdy. I dropped the braces and the suede vests, but I still love learning and I own a star trek uniform. But, I like to think my skin is a little thicker now.

A big part of my research revolved around advocating for child and youth participation in community decision-making. While I fervently pushed this agenda, and firmly believed in it, I always felt like a bit of a hypocrite. I worked for six years at a summer camp with grades 3 and 4. I happily consulted with my target age group (grade 5) for my thesis. And, as I have two young children of my own, I felt justified in speaking about children’s rights and responsibilities as members of community.

But I never quite knew what to do with the youth piece.

So, I became a volunteer tutor for high school students in a low income neighbourhood.

I absolutely love it. Many of the teens are funny, creative, and interesting, and I really enjoy working with them. Even more, I enjoy just talking to them. I have learned so much in a short amount of time.

It seems to me that many adults are battling this same ridiculous unfounded fear or discomfort, and not just when it comes to teens. Many adults simply refuse to engage with children or youth at all.

This becomes very evident by contrast.

For example, on the second day of grade 3, I was dropping off my oldest son, while accompanied by my 3-year-old. Before class, the grade 3

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Having coffee (OK, hot chocolate) with one of my best friends.

teacher came up to us, got down on her knees and had an in-depth conversation with little brother. He was smitten. He kept pointing her out to me and trying to get more attention. How many strange adults make the effort to do that sort of thing? Aunts and uncles, grandparents and close friends will, of course! But when it comes to strangers, people seem to always speak through parents.

Have you ever taken your child to a store to spend their own money, and the cashier speaks with you instead, or even tries to hand you the change? Have you ever witnessed impatient wait staff at a restaurant, who clearly don’t want to wait the extra 20 seconds for a child to give their order? I notice these things. I also notice when people make a concerted effort to speak directly and respectfully to my children. It makes a huge difference. It builds their confidence and self-efficacy. This is something I can’t give them myself.

And then, in the teen years, even though they are gaining more independence, teens still experience this distance in public interaction. They are avoided like the plague. But, it is at this influential in-between stage where teens MUST be granted respect in order for them to become respectful members of society.

I have seen signs limiting the number of students allowed in a store at one time. I have seen a device called the “Mosquito” that is designed to specifically target the hearing range of teen ears by making an irritating noise to keep them away from certain areas.  What sort of messages do these things send? “We don’t want you here.”

Children are taught not to speak to strangers. What a ridiculous idea. How does that teach them to be active and engaged members of society? It teaches them the world is a scary place and people are not to be trusted. That’s a topic I already covered in another post. At the same time, adults now fear BEING the stranger. Any unauthorized adult communications with children can be scrutinized and sometimes reported. How did we get this far? Thanks to media hype, relatively rare incidents have led to fear in parents and children that ultimately does more harm than good.

Instead, why don’t we teach children and youth how to safely speak to strangers, and how to interact comfortably, politely and respectfully with people of all ages?

Or, even better, why don’t we teach ADULTS how to speak to children and youth, comfortably, politely and respectfully. Now THAT would make a difference.

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Passionate Curiosity

A few weeks ago, one of the teachers at our preschool asked me to answer the following question:

What do you know of and/or recognize in your child today that you hope will always remain or be true?

The answers were written on the back of our child’s photo and hung inside clear ornaments.

What a great question!

Sometimes, through all the runny noses and temper tantrums, it is hard to pause and recognize that our littlest people have intrinsic positive qualities. Taking the time to observe these qualities can provide important lessons for adults about life and happiness.  (It’s also probably good for your parent-child relationship).IMG_20140904_092332

My answer came to me very quickly. More than anything, I want my child to continue to be passionately curious and always find joy in discovering new things about the world.  (Yes, I know, a little predictable coming from me.)

Humans are born curious. Small children thrive on new information. As a species, our natural curiosity has led us to do incredible things (granted, some of this was destructive, but we have certainly learned a great deal about the world). But, somewhere along the way, many adults forget about the happiness that naturally comes from engaging with the world with curiosity.

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” ― Albert Einstein

Do you remember how fascinating it was to watch a snail inching up DPP_0049.JPGthe side of a plant? Do you remember the pure joy in the feeling of jumping in a pile of leaves or finding the absolutely perfect seashell on the beach? Do you remember wondering why the sky is blue, or peeling the bark from a birch tree? At some point, did you stop asking questions? Did you stop engaging with the world? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe more than you’d like to admit?

Sometimes, my son’s two tiny little hands will grab my face and point it in the direction of something I should be watching. I have to admit, IMG_20151015_113917577.jpghe is usually right. If you can deal with the runny noses and temper tantrums, a little time with 3 year olds is a wonderful lesson in mindful living.

Thank you little one, for reminding me what is important. Thank you for helping me to step away from my electronic devices, and my obsessions with the past and the future. Thank you for encouraging me to engage in the present with happy curiosity. Thank you for being my inspiration.

Please don’t lose this quality.

 

 

 

Here is one of my favourite book passages of all time:

“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.” 
                              ― T.H. WhiteThe Once and Future King

 

 

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