This weekend I went to a costume Halloween baby shower. I thought is was the cutest idea ever, come dressed up as a character from your favorite kids book that your are giving to the expectant mother. I initially thought about getting The Lorax, dressing as a truffula tree. It would have been so predictable for me. But then I spent some time perusing the children’s book section at the books store one town over.
Since our bookstore closed of course.
During my outing, I came across the Jon J. Muth section and read all of Zen Shorts as I sat there. I have always loved this book, we picked ours up at a sale somewhere, I can’t even remember now where, but I decided that instant this would be the book I would get and a panda I would be.
Stillwater. He is such a sweet panda. And smart. Or should I say wise?
There are many fantastic kids books out there we have discovered along the way during reading time and long stints at the library, I could have picked any of them. But what I thought about sitting on the floor of the bookstore, reading all of the ‘zen shorts’ in the book was how often we overlook the importance of teaching children mindfulness.
I can promise I was not taught mindfulness as a child.
I know that some schools are now taking it on, teaching empathy, compassion, and even meditation, but so much of what kids learn they learn from us. Not all of what they learn, but a lot. We lead by example, in our stellar moments and the moments that make us want to crawl under the carpet and stay there for a very, very, very long time.
Ahhhh, but the lessons of Zen Shorts, that the magnificent moon is enough, that ‘maybe’ is more realistic than ‘I got this thing all figured out’, and that carrying our burdens around in our minds is a waste of time and energy and it takes us out of the present moment. These are lessons I want my kids to learn.
At least so they don’t have to struggle to learn them like I do, after my brain is already hardwired to do the complete opposite of each of these meditations. Something is missing when we spend so much time focusing our children’s attention on what they need to do to ‘succeed’ and not as much time on how to actually live a life less focused on the future and the material but more focused on the simple majesty of now.
Let us be mindful about the importance of teaching our children to be mindful. It is a valuable lesson that will hopefully keep them grounded in a world that is full of billions of dollars worth of distractions.
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