We have been trying to implement a regular routine of meditation for the kids…
It’s short and sweet, don’t get me wrong.
While eleven year old sits and is definitely interested in ‘getting it’, the others are typical kids and do what they have to to endure the seemingling endless minutes. There’s a bit of fidgeting by seven-year-old. And five-year-old lone girl child feels the need to act out the scenes I describe to facilitate relaxation: eyes scrunched shut, turning her face upwards with an exaggerated smile towards a fictional sun or scratching and digging her toes into the floor as though it’s actually warm Caribbean sand.
Regardless the fidgeting and dramatic performance, it’s a practice. It’s a practice that will provide them with a personally valuable life skill. The ability of being able to still the mind, get quiet, calm down, gather. It’s a practice that will serve them well as they grow and mature and the anxieties and stresses of life intensify. They don’t understand that now, certainly. But I take heart in this being a gift I can give them that will provide them infinite rewards as they evolve into teens and adults.
However, as we- parents- make our way through our own transition right now, implementing new strategies to manage our stress and keep thinking positively, and as we enjoy the benefits of these strategies, it becomes clear that these few minutes early in the day are only part of the picture.
The practice extends beyond just a few minutes of focusing on good feelings for a few moments. It’s an exercise in looking for, recognizing, and even getting excited anticipating, good things throughout the day. Little things, sometimes really seemingly insignificant- inconsequential- things, but together add up to a wonderful day.
As homeschoolers we’re together most of the day. This lends itself to great quality time, but also to more opportunities for conflict and irritation.
So, we’ve begun making lists throughout the day… making a brief stop here and there to quickly consider and jot down those good things that happen, no matter how small. Say, really simply, ‘I had leftover pizza for lunch…” or “I got my language arts done in only one hour…” or “Sister helped me build my fort…”
These little things end up being pretty easy to identify (particularly for kids!) and what’s remarkable about this exercise -an introduction to appreciation and gratitude- is how fast the lists are compiled and how much fun it becomes!
There is no right or wrong in the lists, as long as they’re positive and that they please us to look back upon.
It brings colour to the day.
Of course, this practice doesn’t eliminate the bumps and challenges that can be part of our days, but it gives us a little precious perspective, balancing the conflicts, trials and frustrations with appreciation, fun and wonder.