My daughter shared the above quote with me the other day, and I cannot get away from it. So many people are searching for joy, and I wonder how many of us have it at our fingertips yet fail to grasp it because we simply do not live in the present. What are you missing in your world that could bring you tremendous joy if you stopped, put worry aside, and lived in the present moment with your family?
I strongly encourage you to resist the temptation to wish that your child would move on to the next level of development. Be present in this moment and center your thoughts on this fact: Your child will be at this stage only once in his life. As he grows, you will look back and realize how magical each phase of his development was and how much joy you felt and/or missed as he passed through it.
Yes … there are trials, struggles, and frustrations with every step of parenting. Exhaustion sets in as you run to keep up with a toddler, money is tight and you get tired of cooking for your ever-hungry teenager, and you are never as sleepy as you are when you are up with an infant … OR a teenager! But each stage is over so quickly, and every missed opportunity becomes a regret that you wish you could correct. The weariness seems to be in the distance past when the house is quiet, and you would give anything to prepare a meal for your son and all of his friends.
As a mom and grandmother, I must say that my children and grandchildren have taught me more real-life lessons than my formal education and work experiences combined. I have learned that life goes by way too fast and that all of the stages are filled with SO MUCH joy if you live in the moment. Living in the moment must be purposeful. It means that you let go of fear, anxiety, and worry for a time and DECIDE that the person you are with is more important than anything else that might be on your mind. Although this single-minded focus might seem difficult, it gets easier with practice.
This week, center your thoughts on the joy that lives in the present moment. Decide that you will tune out everything except that sweet face looking at you with hope. Both you and your child will experience joy when you get lost in playing, talking, and exploring together. We KNOW that children crave connection with their parents and will thrive once they feel safe, loved, and cherished. What do you need to do to totally give yourself to this relationship?
Just remember, “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” Your children deserve parents who purposely choose the joy of the present moment.
Written by Donna McClintock, COO with Children’s Choice Learning Centers, Inc.