“If your relationship to the present moment is not right- nothing can ever be right in the future-because when the future comes it’s the present moment.” Eckhart Tolle
You find peace, not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.” Eckhart Tolle
“Anything that you resent or strongly react to in another, is also in you.” Eckhart Tolle
I am not being critical as some of my knowledge comes from my own experience. It is vitally relevant that we comprehend, myself included, how we go about teaching our kids the many things we desire to see in them. If we sense our kids are not very empathetic, perhaps we should check on our own empathy towards others. If we never demonstrate any care of others then it will not be found in our kids.Offering a food cart to another before retrieving one for ourselves allows kids to observe empathy or mindfulness in action. It demonstrates in a simple way, our concern for another person rather than ourselves first. There are numerous times we display agitation at waiting for prescriptions or a doctor’s visit. WE get angy at people in the office. Some of us even take it out on these people. They are simply trying to do a job. Our attitude is only adding to their stress. We can be a stress reliever by acknowledging we are aware of the long wait but understand it is likely necessary and unavoidable.
Teaching kids to be grateful is another concern. It is absurd to say, “My kids are so ungrateful. I do all kinds of running around for them yet they don’t even care. To top it off they fight with me.” I agree that is not very nice but how many of us have spent years disagreeing with parents and fighting in anger. We probably go for days months and years not speaking to them. We don’t stop to say, “Oh my parenst spent years working hard to pay the bills as they took care of me.” It is as if we believe we have the right to treat them shoddily because we are an adult now. We have responsiblilities and worries that they don’t know about. It is so much harder for us, so we think. Our parents wrongdoing to us seems to outweigh any wrongdoing we are guilty of regarding our own kids. Even if it is true, forgiving and peace is often a better choice.
Maybe it is true that we can do more spend more and even understand more than our parents did. However, one day when our kids look back on what we did and didn’t do, hopefully they won’t judge us as harshly as we judged our own parents. We get back what we put out. We get back what we teach. It isn’t like one day we wake up and say to ourselves I think I’ll teach my child about honesty, love, kindness, humility, perseverance or tolerance. They are learning each of these virtues on any given day. We must demonstrate such virtues or perhaps our kids will ignore them the way do.
So much is stressed about manners and even talk about mindfulness being taught at schools. It all sounds wonderful but you can’t always teach it. Talk means nothing. Demonstration means everything. When parents demonstrate with actions, their concern for others, it registers in the mind and processes in the heart. Schools can reinforce these attributes but they can’t reach the hearts of the children as easily as parents are able to do.
I remember a teacher saying to a class I was in, ‘If I could just unscrew the top of your head and then pour all of the knowledge into your head my job would be so easy.” I suppose the same is true about righteousness and morality. If we are not wary of what we are actually teaching kids or baking, then when the bread is raised and done, the end result might surprise us. This is likewise true for kids. This is one thing not easily taught because it requires our attention and mindfulness of our own thoughts, actions and words.
It is no surprise that kids from divorced homes have trouble with love and trust. Their lives were disrupted, tossed into turmoil, and cut apart at the heart. Grandparents, aunts, uncles cousins and even parents are many times separated from them. Unconditional love ends up becoming conditional. Feelings of loss as well as jealousy creep in towards step brothers and sisters. It is likely, inevitable in most instances. We don’t understand why they become angry and rebellious. As we have less time money and love to give, it is more difficult to express our love for them.
Kids love their parents unconditionally. They forgive but they will mature into a similar version of what we are. Teaching trust makes it necessary for us to exhibit forms of trust in our own relationships. Stability and endurance require us to accept commitment and forgiveness in our own lives. If we exemplify these virtues in our own lives, likely we have a good chance at witnessing it in our kids lives.
Gratitude is an awesome feeling. We have so much yet choose to deliberately focus on the negative of what we don’t have. When we have love we have all we need. We can get through obstacles. Instruct your kids to be thankful for what they have in their lives including the people such as mom and dad and grandparents and aunts uncles and cousins. They are priceless. Stay connected even if those people are irritating at times. We are all annoying at times. If I can accept your annoying behavior then perhaps you can accept mine. That is how it works.
Mindfulness is a virtue and it can be learned through demonstration, as can anything worth knowing. I know now how much better it is to try to be tolerant of the failings of family and friends. They bring another dimension to my life that can’t be replaced by another. When I start recalling my parents and siblings shortcomings, I work hard to put on the brakes. I know I am being overly critical and I am aware of how much good is in all of them. I would rather express and point out the goodness I find in the family rather than their faults. I hope that one day they will return the favor.
It is so easy to release the fighting and fault finding. We never feel good after such an experience. How renewed we feel after a family episode. If we feel love in our hearts our kids are sure to learn it easily without any effort on our part. We don’t want our kids picking up on distrust anger resentment or fear. Better they learn trust, serenity joy and assurance of the presence of love.
Smiling is very important. If we are not able to smile, then the world will not have peace. It is not by going out for a demonstration against nuclear missiles that we can bring about peace. It is with our capacity of smiling, breathing, and being peace that we can make peace.” Nhat Hanh
“If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you; I came to live out loud.” Emile Zola