On Friday evening we went to our friend Sarah’s Birthday get together. We had a lovely time and Noah made firm friends with their new German Shepherd, Bertha. Bertha is only 6 months old and she is really beautiful.
Noah was totally relaxed with her and they played together very happily. Although Bertha was on best behaviour I still felt the need to keep my eye on them and make sure everything was OK. As a parent I have realised that there seems to be an inbuilt safety assessor inside of me!
It got me thinking that there really is a fine line between worrying too much about everything and having the right amount of caution to protect your children. Whilst you don’t want to make your children fearful of things unnecessarily you do want them to recognise danger.
I realised that mindfulness has a lot to offer in terms of allowing us to deal with situations proportionately. When we become mindful we are able to watch our thoughts and recognise that they are just thoughts. We are not our thoughts, we do not have to act on them. It is amazing when you realise you can simply notice your thoughts and then decide whether to do anything about them or not. You can just let them pass if you chose. Watching your thoughts in this way also allows you to make a decision about how to act rather than just reacting on impulse. This can make a huge difference as you bring your children up.
Should I keep Noah away from a huge dog for fear that it could hurt him or is watching from a safe distance ok? Should I stop Noah going fast on his pony or should I just be nearby to help if he needs it? Living life is all about learning from experience and this continues right into adulthood and parenting. Letting your children explore risky situations for themselves can be hard to do but if you learn to be mindful it becomes a whole lot more possible.
So I am not saying ignore danger, you are the adult and you know so much more about the situation than your young child. But if you are looking to allow them to experience things that are simply difficult for you to watch perhaps just noticing your thought pattern will help. Just watching them and taking a couple of deep breaths before you decide if they need your help will make all the difference. In time it will become easier to do and by the time they are ready to fly the next and experience the world you will be so well practised at it that it will be a breeze!
To get started on noticing your thoughts try this simple exercise…
Set the time on your phone for 5 minutes.
Sit upright in a chair making sure your spine is straight.
Close your eyes and notice you breath, where it makes your body rise and fall, how deep it is, the rhythm. Don’t change your breath just watch it.
Then start to notice what distracts you. Each time your mind wanders from your breathing notice whether it is a thought or a feeling.
As you get more practised at doing this you will be able to notice the emotion that is connected to the thought.
One you have noted what distracted you simply return your attention back to your breath.
This exercise is so simple yet we could practise it endlessly and still get benefit from it because our minds will always wander. Practise this regularly and you will notice that you are able to recognise your thoughts in everyday life too. This puts you in a position of quiet confidence. You see situations clearly and can decide whether you need to act or not. It makes life so much lighter and gives you so much head space. Give it a go!
Come on a Revitalise Day to see how mindfulness can fit into your life and help you to see things clearly. It is such a useful life skill and it really can help you enjoy life more from the moment you start.