We are in the third week of our Conscious Parent book study. This week, we are talking about creating a conscious environment in our homes for our children.
Throughout this book, the focus has been on us parents working on ourselves rather than trying to do or say anything that “fixes” our children. In this area of the book, more than any other, it was obvious that children very naturally have staying in the present (AKA: being conscious) figured out already and it is our culture and our parenting that messes it up.
Case in point: The Family Calendar. I think that our family is unusual in how little we actually have scheduled. Most families have a plethora of sports for each child, parents have meetings of whatever sort or sports of their own and of course there are the social gatherings. I was talking with a friend of mine about our calendars and I mentioned that I try and only schedule ONE thing per weekend. She was surprised by this. “How can you fit it all in?” Well, the truth is that I like my life to be quiet and calm. I don’t want to spend every weekend running around everywhere here and there (it often is filled with that ANYWAYS!) Because of this system, I chose my social engagements very carefully. I have many dear people in my life and I try to focus most exclusively on that small few. I may only see many of my friends once every few months, but this is OK. Our time together is precious and meaningful.
I cannot even imagine it being busier. My daughter is not in any sports or any after-school activities. I would actually like for her to be in something since she is an only child and this is one way for her to work on her social skills, but her preference is to just be at home like ours is.
All that being said, I have a lot of work to do when it comes to being present for my daughter. Just as I was putting together the topic for this post, she walked into the living room and I shooed her out. I want to write, undisturbed. I rarely ask for this sort of space to do my own thing so I felt justified – I normally write in the early hours of morning before anyone is up so that I can spend time when I am with my family being WITH my family, but this is definitely not how it always goes. This weekend was very busy with taking her out to a movie with her friends and hosting a sleepover so I guess I am not doing TOO bad, but still – I felt kinda bad for shooing her out to write about parenting her consciously! LOL.
Then there’s dinnertime. Ideally, I would ask Tatia to help me in the kitchen to cook something. This serves a multitude of purposes: 1) it helps me to spend some time helping her with her cooking skills and, God knows, this generation could use it! 2) it gives us time together. Even if we are measuring out flour and chopping veggies, we are being together. 3) it shows that what is IMPORTANT to our family is spending time to prepare and eat together.
What actually happens most days? I don’t think about dinner until oh, about 4:30 or 5 PM. Nothing is prepared, I have no idea what’s in the fridge and so we go out to eat. For us, going out to eat means a 20 minute drive to the nearby restaurant. Once there, we do have a rule that cell phones are not to come out at the table which is followed the majority of the time but on the way to the restaurant, Tatia’s nose is often in her phone browsing websites like Cracked and who knows what else. We don’t talk much with her on the way there.
In The Conscious Parent, Dr. Tsabary talks about how all this scheduling is based on the idea that the parents just are not able to sit still. I think that this is true for me. Even though I do not have a ton of things scheduled, I have a very difficult time quieting my mind and, if you’ve ever visited my #whatareyouworkingon posts you know how much I am working on! My mind is constantly either in the past worrying about how I did on something or in the future, wondering how I will accomplish all these things I want to do in my short little life.
“Worrying is a mask for fear of being present.” ~Dr. Tsabary, author of The Conscious Parent
Dr. Tsabary also talks about how anxiety (in the form of “busy-ness”) is due to our fear of death, ultimately. I think that she has a really good point there. She says that if we are able to face our death, we realize that we should stop wasting time. How many times have you heard stories of people who were faced with a near-death experience and they totally changed after that? If you were faced with death, what would suddenly fall off your “to do” list? What people would you stop hanging with? What activities would seem irrelevant?
Living our lives consciously is a HUGE undertaking, but to me it is one of the most valuable things I could do as a parent. I am in no way perfect, but I feel good about trying. Every day, I make little steps forward on being more conscious. They are little steps, but if I keep doing them every day I will be at least moving in the right direction.
What about you? What do you think of this? In what ways are you trying to be more conscious in your life? Tell us about it in the comments or join the discussion over on GoodReads.com!