Busy bodies

One afternoon when I was about six or seven I saw my mom sitting in the living room staring off into space.  “Wacha doin’?” I asked.  “Nothing.” She replied calmly.  “Nothing?!” I thought, NOTHING??!!!  How could someone not be doing a thing?  That was impossible.  Hmmm.”  As I looked at her she seemed peaceful and happy and whole, so I figured that maybe, just maybe, not doing anything was an all right thing to do.

The older I get, the more I try to be like my mom in that moment.  Not the checked out staring off into nothingness part (although that’s kinda nice sometimes), but the part of her that is able just to sit, and contemplate life, and enjoy the present moment.  The more years I get under my belt, the more I appreciate just being.  And the less I think that it’s the “doing” that will define me in other people’s minds (or in their memory of me once I’m gone).  Not that doing is a bad thing; in fact I quite like doing things.  But remembering just to be; And to be peaceful and joyful as I go about my daily life.

This is a foreign concept to kids, or at least it was to me as a kid.  I just wanted to learn new things and grow and reach out in every way I could.  To just sit and breathe was the last thing on my mind.  You see, the thing is, kids are busy bodies.  I’m not sure exactly what it is about being young that makes us want to figure everything out as quickly as possible, or even gives us the notion that anything ultimately CAN be figured out.  But regardless of what drives them, young people are notoriously busy “getting into things”.

As an adult sharing my home with a child, I see it as my job to provide wonderfully rich opportunities for learning and making those activities as safe, easy to access, and perfectly challenging for each child’s unique level of development as I can.  Because in a well prepared environment, being a busy body can be a great thing.  And, if we prepare the environment well enough, our kids will hardly need to bother us at all as they go about the business of learning, which doesn’t mean they actually won’t bother us, it just means they’ll do it because they want to, instead of because they need us to get their markers or a measuring cup down for them.  But for at least some of the time, we can simply sit and breathe and do a whole lot of nothing.

After all, isn’t being a peaceful, relaxed, and happy human the most challenging thing to learn of all?  I’ll write more about preparing your home for children’s autonomy in future blogs.  But for now, I’ll just say, lets figure out ways to let our kids be the busy bodies that they naturally are in positive ways while we practice just sitting and being still once in a while.  Now that’s what I’d call perfectly challenging for everyone!

Have a great week and please let me know how it’s going by leaving a comment below.

Thanks, Shelly