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Embracing The Beauty Of Stillness

Author : Maricruz Ferrari LCSW

This story is about my children and how, together, we continuously try to find the right balance to help them grow emotionally, socially, and spiritually.

“Mom, I’m bored.” - My thought: Well, maybe you can use your creativity and imagination to un-bore yourself.

“Mom, what are we doing next?” - My thought: Umm… but we did so much already, can we have a moment of peace and quiet?

“Mom, can we go somewhere to have fun?” My thought: As if you can’t have fun right here, right now, on your own?

“Mom, I don’t know what to do now. Can I play on my iPad or watch TV?” My thought: I never had an iPad and had to wait until Saturday to watch cartoons. What did I do with all that time? Why can my kids come up with fun ways to fill their time on their own?

Not too long ago, I found myself feeling frustrated since my children kept repeating these comments, and I was becoming their private master of ceremonies, always presenting the next act in the show. I understood that by nature, children are active and energetic; therefore, they were almost always ready to do more. Everyone around me would tell me, “they’re children, what else did you expect?” Did I just have to accept this reality? In the beginning, I was resigned to the fact that I had to try to keep up with my children’s level of energy and curiosity, but then it just occurred to me that my children didn’t know how to enjoy silence and stillness. They had no understanding or appreciation for the beauty of aloneness.

My generation and the ones before mine had no option but to learn what to do with ourselves when life seemed so dull. There were no electronic gadgets, cartoons were not on 24/7, and there were not a million extracurricular activities to choose from. I would arrive at home after school, get my homework done, and then had to figure out what to do with myself. Some days I would go out and play with my neighbors, but other days, I had to enjoy the privilege of being in my own company. I never expected my parents to entertain me; I would play for hours uninterrupted with my few toys or coloring. Even though we shared many moments as a family, there was always room for silence and alone time. I don’t know if my appreciation for stillness came from there, but I’m pretty sure it somehow helped.

I started thinking about the importance of stillness in my children’s life. How would I implement this at home? I began by telling my kids I had nothing on the books for them to do, and they were free to figure out something to do on their own. I would carry on to complete home chores and pretend I was unaware of what they were doing. I would purposefully avoid looking at or coming close to the beast! Initially, they would complain about how bored they were and followed me around the house. With a little bit of time, they found themselves using this quiet time to do some amazing things, including, science, art, reading, meditating (which my husband introduced to them) and yoga. I was amazed at how fast they took to it. I quickly learned my children were receptive to silence and stillness; we just had never taught them this practice.

What is so magical about stillness, and how is it helping my children’s life? Based on what I have witnessed, silence allows you to be with yourself, your thoughts, and your feelings. The more acquainted you get with yourself, the more you understand your strengths, weaknesses, what makes you happy and what doesn’t. The more you go within, the more you learn to appreciate the magic within you and therefore, have more love for it. Loving yourself is part of the foundation that supports confidence, self-reliance, and strength. As confidence grows, children grow up with a sense of completeness, feeling who they are is enough. A genuinely confident child, can’t be easily broken by the pressures that society imposes on him/her. Other things I’ve noticed, stillness gives you a chance to quiet your mind and process things that happened throughout the day. Silence offers children the opportunity to analyze problems and explore solutions. It fosters creativity as it allows your imagination to take over and come up with beautiful ideas.

Now, let me clarify, I don’t think this practice alone is going to make all these things happen for all of us. I do believe it is a crucial ingredient in the journey of personal growth. If something, it’ll teach our children that being alone in silence is nothing to fear because as long as they are comfortable with themselves, they will never feel the need for fillers. Instead, they will seek authentic connections and valuable relationships.

I know if my children had to choose between a scheduled packed with activities and calmness, they would probably go with the first option. They totally dig the chaos and craziness over silence, calmness, and meditation. However, I think that through this regular practice, we are planting seeds of self-love, strength, and confidence, which will produce beautiful sweet fruit when they are older. How about you? How can a practice of silence, calmness, and stillness help your children grow?

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Maricruz Ferrari is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has worked in healthcare for multiple years. Throughout her career, she has provided supportive services to people struggling with numerous psychosocial stressors, including parenting issues. Although nowadays there is more information available on effective parenting techniques, many parents are still hesitant to share their honest feelings, especially the negative ones. Maricruz’s purpose is to help parents in need to enhance their relationship with their children by showing them practical ways to cope with their parenting struggles.

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Tags:   parenting, parenting skills, conscious parenting, terrible twos, toddlers, parent-child relationship, child development

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Submitted : 2019-05-21    Word Count : 902    Times Viewed: 1308