Humans in 2014 are just too busy, in my opinion. Last night I was talking to my kids about the need for quiet and balance in our lives. From their frame of reference, it is hard to conceptualize. They wake up, go to school, have a day packed with learning, come home, do chores, get ready for sports, exercise, eat dinner and go to sleep, and then get up and do it all again the next day. Only one of my kids is doing sports at the moment, 2 more will start next month. Most of their friends are doing way more activities than they are. I feel guilty that they are not playing piano or have never tried a marital arts program.
In a lot of cases, when kids aren’t at school or sports, they are plugged in to “screen time”. They want some decompressing time after being “on” all the time. Truth be told, my schedule is just as packed as theirs. I’m tired. I want some soul time. To write, walk in nature and just be, without any agenda. They must feel the same way.
How do we make this soul time for ourselves and our kids?
It sounds easy to just plan less or not sign up for sports. But it is hard to break from the cultural norm of this do to much culture. This summer, instead of a million camps, I had them home with a nanny. They went to the library, swimming at the lake and rode bikes a lot. They played with toys and baked blueberry pies. It sounds lovely but in truth, I’m not sure it had it’s intended results. The desire was to allow them to be bored and use their natural creativity. I think that happened some days but others they just read all day. Reading all day isn’t a bad thing. But for my kids because we don’t watch a ton of TV, it’s an escape from having to deal with cleaning their rooms or conflicts with friends. How do we build and support the growth of the inner world of our children? Some people take their kids to church, other’s to mindfulness camps, and still many others don’t ask this question. I don’t know the answer. But I do want to ask this question and not stop asking it until we find a solution.
We are generation of kids and adults growing up over-scheduled without time for our souls to catch up with us. How do we do it? I don’t know but I am trying a few things out. Last night, we all wrote at the table for 30 minutes. My 4th grader was having a really hard time with writing at school, so we all sat down to support him and write. In the beginning, there was some grumbling, but then we wrote together. Man these kids can write! They came up with the funniest stories, I was truly impressed.
It occurs to me that we are our children’s first teachers. Here are a couple of ways I am choosing to teach my kids (and myself) about soul time.
A. Model it – I have been getting up early to write. When they wake up, they see their mama writing by candlelight. That is good for me and for them. I am reading more, just for fun. I am sitting and just doing less. Which is super weird for me.
B. Teach it – I have been waiting for my children’s internal compass to develop, and it has. But what I really need to do is step up and give them the tools. To create some space for downtime, reflection and self-care. It’s time to talk about it and show them what it means. If we are not their teachers as parents, who is?
C. Breathe it – Every day, every moment is a chance for re-centering. To breathe into our lives and stay connected to our core no matter what the to do list looks like. Our breathe is our constant companion and we can check in with center anytime throughout the day.
As I work on slowing down in a culture that seems to value the super busy lifestyle, I am endevoring to remember this three things. It’s not perfect, I totally forget and say “sure I will be happy to sit at your table for that good cause fundraiser”. I’m working on it.
If you are walking this pathway of choosing to do less when the world around us encourages us to do more, may you walk with ease. And let me know how it goes!