In a world filled with screens and phones and distractions at every turn, paying attention can be challenging, to say the least. The reality is that most of us just aren’t good at focusing on anything for more than a few minutes. Even when we do slow down long enough to do one thing at a time, our minds are often elsewhere, worrying about something that’s already happened, or thinking about the next thing we need to work on. Often, we’re berating ourselves (or someone else) for doing something wrong, or congratulating ourselves for finally getting it right. Either way, we don’t often have the experience of just being in the moment, paying attention to whatever is happening, not trying to change anything.
What greater gift could we possibly give to our children than our presence, our full acceptance of them, whoever they are, whatever they bring? We all know what those moments of mindful connection feel like; we are immersed in the present, in the experience of relationship. We’re full of love for our children, and we feel like good parents. It’s easier to remain mindful when we are doing something fun and interesting together; it’s much harder when someone (or everyone!) is feeling angry, frustrated, or bored. Yet that’s precisely when our children need to know that we love them, and that we value our relationship with them.