Last night I had the incredible opportunity to give a parent-ed talk at our local elementary school on “Mindfulness in Everyday Parenting.” I co-facilitated the presentation with another parent, and we shared an introductory overview of mindfulness, went through some practices together and discussed practical applications of mindfulness in parenting. The workshop was the result of a coalition effort of several parents in our community, who are all very passionate about mindfulness. We wanted to share a bit of our personal passion with other parents in the community with the hopes of inspiring them about a topic that has become such an important part of our lives.
As I reflect on our intention for doing the talk in the first place, I think it’s ultimately about two things…our community and our fierce love for our children. As parents, we all want what is best for our children. We want them to be treated with kindness and compassion and love. We want them to feel happy, and be able to manage the harsh realities of life. But it is not always clear what the best path forward is, or that we even know what we are doing. Parenting is a big experiment. And none of us really know how our experiment is going to turn out. We rely on our intuition, on research, on family members, on practices that work for us- to help guide us along the way. Often it’s other parents that can be our most helpful guides.
“It takes a village to raise a child.” – African Proverb
Mindfulness is something I have gained great benefit from already. I am seeing how it can be such a positive tool for myself as well as my children, but I don’t know what the end result will be for my children yet- the end result of our own experiment. I’m learning along the way and not only trusting the research, the science and the experts, but more importantly, trusting how I feel and how my children feel when we practice mindfulness. While I learn, if I can share with fellow parents what I am learning and possibly help another family along the way, then I will have made a small positive contribution to our community.
We are all on this “sometimes-crazy” parenting journey together. If together, as a community, we can share our learnings with one another- the tidbits of aha-moments, our parenting stumbles and small victories, then we all benefit- and most importantly, our children benefit.