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Slow & Grateful Living (part one): Fostering Slow Living in my Kids

“Mindfulness is a certain way of paying attention that is healing, that is restorative, that is reminding you of who you actually are so that you don’t wind up getting entrained into being a human doing rather than a human being.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn

I realize that this post will be meeting everyone at a different place. Right now in my mind I am thinking of people who are going through life change, emotional traumas, exhaustion, wondering what’s next, and also others where life is alright at the moment and relatively put together. Ha! Life is crazy. We all know this. But in the midst of it all, where do are spirits rest? Are we enhancing the chaos in our lives by our reactions or by our daily habits?

I do not want my children to fall into this chaotic life of doing, rather than being. I don’t want it for myself, for any of you, and not for my children who are the future of this country and this world. I desire that my children be just that- children! That they have a childhood rich in nurturing love, joy, not too much to do, and daily living that is simple and high quality. I want them to learn that it is important to be, and to give, and to compliment, and to come alongside. And so much more. The world can be an unfriendly place, but we are the ones who can help make it friendlier.

We, who are desiring a slower life, are the forerunners in this rediscovery experience. I believe it is imperative that we reclaim our lives and our culture and restore our days on this planet by being mindful, intentional, looking to God, rediscovering who we are, and living in community with one another.

Slow living, the opposite of fast living, is a movement motivating people to be more mindful of their decisions, step away from mass production, fast food, fast cheap fashion, and get back to the basics and what is essential. Most importantly, raising awareness to the fact that our fast lifestyle is slowing killing us, and that we can reverse that if we make more mindful decisions and become aware of what is really going on. And it takes courage to open one’s eyes to see that truth.

We who are desiring a slower life are the forerunners in this rediscovery experience. I believe it is imperative that we reclaim our lives and our culture and restore our days on this planet by being mindful, intentional, looking to God, rediscovering who we are, and living in community with one another. Below are just a few thoughts I have on how we are incorporating this in our own home, in our own family.

In the way we treat each other

One of the phrases my husband and I like to use and hope to keep it up is explaining “well, this is what our family does! We’re a team!” and this reminds me to keep life simpler, and not to stress so much. That’s right, we are a team. There’s no complex formula for bringing up children that’s ever going to work unless we are a team, and we love on one another the best we know how, showing one another the nurturing love and respect we all deserve as human beings.

In the way we treat ourselves

Giving our bodies the respect they deserve. I think about that phrase so often. And there are many aspects to that, mental and spiritual health, exercise, and food. Food is more important than many people realize, it’s how we sustain our very existence, and unfortunately, in modern culture, we’ve lost touch with what food is. We just need it NOW and we need it with cheese. There is a huge movement today however of people getting back to the basics, and to that can we all say a big Huzzah!! I strive to teach my children what real food is and what is not, and as they get older, we will get into the politics of food a little bit more, and why we make the choices we do, and then they will be free to make it personal to them. They’re ALWAYS included in the making of the meal in some way. My three year old can be heart saying “wow, Mom, we should make that!” or “Mom, this is SO good.” And just over the weekend he declared “Mom, this is the best soup you’ve ever made!” (He’s emphatic, he’s definitely my son!) When he’s playing pretend, his ingredients list for his bakery always includes flax seed, fruit, and the occasional dollop of vegan cheese. Ha! It helps me live in the moment with him even when I’m hurrying to get dinner on the table, if he’s involved in the making and cleaning up. And of course, the kids are learning along the way why we eat certain foods and what they do for our bodies.

 

In the way we look beyond ourselves

This isn’t turning into a post about parenting advice, but part of living more slowly with my kids has been my learning how to play again. As a child I was a master at pretend play, and my son is the same way. But as an adult, I have already totally lost touch with how to play. But something magical happens when I do, and we both gain so much joy from it. We identify on a deeper level with one another. That is all helping to shape the adults my kids will become. I also have found the importance of including the kids in what is important to my husband and I, and what is important to other people. When I head out to the gym, for a run, or to meetup with friends, explaining to them why I do what I do and why it’s important to make space for other’s needs.

It’s my aim and hope that my children will learn more and more, as I learn myself, what it means to live in community. I want them to be among the first to offer to help, provide for a need, or lend a listening ear. I also want them to be brave and strong, and have the confidence that can automatically come alongside a lifestyle of slower living.

In closing, I do things like this Slow & Grateful Living challenge for more than just myself. I love how it changes me, yes. But I also do it to be an example, I do it for you! To be a forerunner in re-learning about what is important. I do it to show my children that life is rich, and that more successes will come when we are more in tune to paying attention. I do it to be an inspiration, even if it’s to one other person, that is worth it to me. And I love what I glean from it in the process and how it grows me.

To see or be reminded of what my goals are for this week and how to make your own, you can read my challenge introduction post here: Slow Grateful Living Challenge: 7 days of creating more space in my life for gratitude. And comment below or follow my Restoring the Day Facebook page HERE! Also follow my instagram here.

Lets check in on one another in this journey of slower living, and finding deep gratitude before we enter into this holiday season! Are you a parent? What will your children learn from you as you make decisions each day to live a little more slowly? Not a parent, that’s ok. We are all in community with one another, people around us pay more attention than we realize. Set a new precedent!

5 thoughts on “Slow & Grateful Living (part one): Fostering Slow Living in my Kids

  1. I’m also fostering slow living for my son. He’s four and I keep his schedule minimal. He goes to preschool three days a week and we don’t have any weekly commitments outside of that. After preschool and on non-preschool days we can just go with the flow. I try to make sure we have at least one weekday and one weekend day where we just hang out at home. Life is so much better when you aren’t rushing.

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    1. Oh Amy, I love this! What great ideas! Sounds like you agree that kids should just be allowed to be kids. Do you find that it takes personal discipline as a parent to say no to things you may otherwise want to do, for the ultimate benefit of your family? I’m asking because I’m totally curious, I know it does for me!

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      1. In short, yes! I could go on about this for ages, but what I need to be most disciplined about is comparison. I see other families doing lots of stuff and then doubts can creep in. A bit of reflection is fine, but it is very easy for that “should” voice to come out. My husband and I are both on the same page, which really helps in these moments. A quick chat with him is very reaffirming.

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