Home » Blog » mindful parenting

Category: mindful parenting

Change Your Life on Your Lunch Break: Read a Children’s Book

Change your life on your lunch break

I’ve been toying with this idea for posting about how to change your life in small increments. I’ve even mentioned it on the blog before. And now, I’m bringing it to fruition because this is something I believe so intensely in.

You do not have dedicate hours and hours at a time to make changes in your life. Small pockets of time each day are enough to bring about major changes in your life. A half-hour here, 10 minutes there is enough to transform!

Welcome to my new series:

Change Your Life on Your Lunch Break

Let’s get started with our very first installment…

Today, I want to talk about children’s books.

That’s right!

Children’s Books are gold!

If you want to mine our human existence for little nuggets of truth, you need only visit the children’s section at your local library or bookstore.

We can’t truly appreciate the depth of the meaning packed into these tiny beautifully illustrated wonders until we’re older after all. Like all the best Disney movies, with their references that only the adults in the room understand. You can’t fully appreciate it until now.

What children’s books have to offer:

 

Golden nuggets of life advice
Children’s books distill some of the best paradigms and advice in life down to the most precious little stories. Kinda like fortune cookies: all the best little nuggets might have become cliche and overused over time, but usually their truth runs deep.

I still have a copy of Emma’s Pet that I found when I was younger about a little bear that goes out on a search for the perfect pet. Come to find out, her own daddy is the perfect pet. Tears me up every time. So precious. Family is everything.

IMG_2106.JPG

IMG_2108.JPG

 

Teach yourself Bible stories and history:
K, so I’ve never been good with history. This coming from the model A student. I mean, it’s embarrassing really. But when I need to know about certain battles in history, I turn to the children’s section at the library. All the bite-sized explanations help me wrap my head around what happened.

And Bible stories? Make soooo much more sense when explained in a children’s book. I like to start with children’s renditions of Bible stories when I’m learning about them, because then I can go back to the Bible and glean a whole lot more after the scene has been set for me (usually in kid-friendly illustrations).

IMG_2109.JPG

Learn how to draw. Or knit.
Is it just me, or do adult DIY books sometimes seem a little convoluted? If I want to learn how to knit, I will pick up a children’s book on how to knit. Talk to me like I’m 12 so I can get the hang of it first. Hehe. Then, I might graduate to an adult book once I’ve got the technique down. I’ve learned other forms of art this way too, by picking up a kids’ book to teach me. I don’t need fancy techniques, I just want to learn the basics.

Feel all the feels
Seriously, children’s books are downright funny and adorable and heartwarming and they distill the most important life lessons down into the most beautiful words. If we could all understand the world like a child, how peaceful we would be.

IMG_2105.JPG

And magic-filled.

The Stars Beneath Your Bed is about how wondrous dust is. As adults, dust is a nuisance. But from a different perspective, there could be dust particles from stars underneath your bed! Paradigm…shifted! Magic.

IMG_2110.JPG

 

Maple is one of our newest favorites from the Imagination Library (thank you Dolly Parton!). It completely exemplifies the magic of being outside and hugging trees, like, literally. It’s totally hipster and just perfect.


IMG_2111.JPG

 

Children’s books say everything you wish you could say so eloquently.
This book, On the Day You Were Born just drips my melty heart into pieces all over the floor. It’s so special. I bought it for my son for his very first birthday and it’s about how the entire world is aligned on the day each person is born. The stars are in a particular arrangement, the tides are at a particular spot, the sun takes its rightful place on the horizon, and the world whispers in your ear “we are so glad you’re here.”

Ahhh, gets me every time.

IMG_2112.JPG

 

Promise me you’ll read a children’s book on your next break, will you?

I hope, even if you don’t have kids, you take a minute to stop by the kid’s section the next time you’re at the library or bookstore. The stories are always quick. And always potent.

I didn’t revisit children’s books until I had some little ones of my own, but I realize now how much I was missing out!

Just remember, when everything in life gets confusing…

The world seems so much more approachable in kid’s format.

 

Whatever you learn or piece of gold you extract from the book might be a great starting point for your daily journaling practice or a topic for your own blog post. I hope you’ll share!
 

What’s the last children’s book you read? Do you even remember? What were some of the memorable nuggets you took away from it?

Banning Children

Ok. I get it. Some kids could potentially derail your plans to have a nice quiet dinner away from home. But what’s the deal with the new trend and enthusiasm for banning kids?

Looking at this strictly from a constitutional standpoint, isn’t this a complete and utter example of age discrimination? I mean, I like to get away from my son once in awhile for adult time too, but I certainly don’t like the idea of his rights to enter a public building being stripped away. Especially because of someone else’s lifestyle choice to remain kid-free. I respect that lifestyle choice, but I do not think it constitutes a right to shun someone else’s. Isn’t this the equivalent of putting up signs that, say, people of a certain color are not allowed in an establishment? Let’s blow the entire structure our country was founded upon because someone finds it grating when a child whimpers.

It always made me seethe inside when I was in high school, and the nearby gas station put up signs up that said only three students were allowed to enter the convenience store at a time. And then the owners would watch you like a hawk. This is a small town in WI, mind you. Either way, it’s discriminatory. If you look younger than 18, you automatically hold a scarlet letter that says “most likely to steal” or “most likely to ruin your dinner.” Highly discriminatory.

It’s such a shame that young people are becoming the victims of this modern stigmatization, this new round of sheer discrimination.

Babygazing has got to be located somewhere in the realm of the divine. An evening spent burying our feet in the sandbox, playing “fish” in the bathtub, and lap-reading for an extended time felt so great it was almost spiritual. Peering in at the little boy asleep in stillness topped the experience with pure bliss. Could it be that the free ‘Yoga in the Gardens” session that I went to last night carried over into my parenting?

Could be.

At this very time, I’ve also been reading a soulful book titled “The Creative Family” by Amanda Blake Soule. The book is filled with gentle reminders about the intricacy and delicacy of childhood. How it’s important to engage your children in meaningful activities, especially natural and artistic pursuits. How you should appreciate the sensitivities of a child. The passage that I remember the most was about how it’s essential to appreciate when your child goes jumping in puddles and playing in the mud because of the crucial learning opportunities they provide. These are natural, tactile adventures. It’s all about exploration and spontaneity and experimentation. You could get mad, or you could get mindful.

Soule points to mindful parenting in the resources section of the book. Interested in learning more about where Soule may have learned some of her own unique parenting skills, I did a little research about it. Bingo! Just what I needed.

When I was a brand-new first-time mother of a newborn, the most grounding habit I took up was my yoga hour on Saturday mornings. Afterwords, I approached my son much more gently and the intimidation of new motherhood seemed a little more surmountable. But I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

Now I see that the connection between yoga and mindful parenting is phenomenal. Last night, while I was slowing down my breath and thoughts on that beautiful manicured lawn, moving my body gently on all different planes, and being reminded to feel the earth beneath my feet, my patience was restored and “hurry up” was eliminated from my routine. My relationship with my son last night was all the better for it as I was being mindful of the sand shoes on my feet and being sensitive to my son’s whims and curiosities.

I can feel what nurturing myself and slowing down does for my own body, and now I clearly and firmly recognize what it does for my child.