It comes naturally to savor the early development of our children, particularly the milestone moments. We can very easily experience gratitude, appreciation and delight with the first words spoken, the first time they crawled, or their first steps taken.
The intervening turbulent teens can dampen our enthusiasm and sense of gratitude and blind us to the opportunities to savor the moment in the child’s development. When they insist on walking on the other side of the road when “with” you, get into trouble at school or meet your questions with a shrug or grunt, it is more difficult to find the moment to savor.
It gets even more difficult when the influence of their peers starts to outweigh your influence as a parent – as you start to lose a sense of control as they insist on their independence. But there will be moments to savor if our vision is not clouded by negative thoughts and emotions.
One of these rare moments may be the expression of love and appreciation that may come in the form of a thoughtful birthday or Christmas present or some words written on a card that disclose a deep sense of appreciation and gratitude that provides a very pleasant surprise. Certainly, a moment to savor.
Then there are those occasions when your normally mute teenager suffers from verbal diarrhoea when they are sitting next to you in the car as you take them to their favourite sporting or cultural event. The act of sitting side-by-side seems to generate a flood of information that you have waited so long to hear. A time to savor that sense of closeness and connection.
There will be lots of other moments in the life of your child that create delight and satisfaction, e.g. sporting, cultural or academic achievements; kindness and thoughtfulness shown to other children or adults – each represents a moment to savor.
However, as they grow older and move further away from us (either physically and/or psychologically) and develop new relationships and friends, it is very easy to overlook those precious moments that we could savor as an act of mindfulness.
There is the opportunity to appreciate that they have survived their teens and grown into young adults making their way in the world. There are those occasions when you glimpse how they have matured, the respect that other adults show towards them, their wisdom in decision making, the values that you admire, their concern for the environment or disadvantaged groups, their genuine consideration for others, their willingness and readiness to help out, the time they started to cook for themselves (and occasionally for you) or their manifestations of empathy and compassion. There are the successes that they achieve despite early setbacks and extreme difficulties. Each of these moments in a child’s development can be savored.
As we grow in mindfulness, we more easily see the opportunities to savor our child’s development. We are more able to make the most of those opportunities to develop a gratitude meditation. Our mindful experience of appreciation and gratitude can lead to a loving-kindness meditation for those who feel isolated and sad through the loss of a child. So, as we begin to develop the habit to savour the moment in our child’s development, we become more aware and connected to others.
By Ron Passfield – Copyright (Creative Commons license, Attribution–Non Commercial–No Derivatives)
Image source: courtesy of simple_tunchio on Pixabay