I would like to share a quote with you that I recently read:
I prefer joy in the present to riches in the future. Helen Keller
What a wonderful reminder to remain grounded in the present instead of waiting / wishing for the riches of the future.
I have just finished reading her autobiography titled “The Story of My Life”, which is where I came across this quote. What a remarkable woman she was! Despite being blind and deaf from the age of 19 months (after suffering a terrible illness) she graduated cum laude from university with a BA degree.
She was a fiercely determined woman and filled with a huge love for life and all that the present moment offers us.
I can personally vouch for the author, Tania Ferreira, of this lovely e-book, Introduction to transforming family life with mindfulness. I have studied under Tania and she has a wonderful, compassionate approach in her work with children. She is full of wisdom and offers many practical ways in which to bring mindfulness into family life. This book is well worth a read if you are new to mindfulness and would like to know more. If you are based in South Africa, you might also like to consider the Mindful Minis Foundation Training program which offers parents and teachers the opportunity to learn more about bringing mindfulness into the lives of the children around them.
“It’s so peaceful out there and the air smells so good….It’s like you’re free when you go out there. It’s your own time. Sometimes I go outside when I’m mad — and then, just with the peacefulness, I’m better. I come back home happy, and my mom doesn’t even know why.”
These words speak to my heart. Read more about the benefits of nature for kids at AhaParenting.com.
“Gratitude, when we do genuinely feel it, arises from experiences we are currently having, not from evaluating our lives in our heads. When you feel lonely, for example, simply remembering that you have friends is a dull, nominal comfort compared to how wonderful it feels when one of those friends calls you out of the blue. Reflecting on the good fortune of having a fixed address is nice, but stepping inside your front door after a cold and rainy walk home is sublime.”
Read more about what David Cain says at “Gratitude Comes From Noticing Your Life, Not From Thinking About It.”
As the festive season approaches, I challenge you to give more gifts of “experience”. Gifts that will create lasting memories for your children. Gifts are seen as an expression of love and care, but often material possessions are played with for 10 min and then end up at the bottom of the toy box or in the dustbin because they are already broken.
So this year, I urge you to give mindfully, with intention. You can still wrap the “experience” beautifully so that your child has the pleasure of opening something. For example, you may consider a year membership to the Two Oceans aquarium as a gift. You could then print and wrap some pictures of sea creatures or even wrap a book of sea creatures to give to your child in anticipation of a year of wonderful memories at the aquarium.