We are sounding out words a lot these days, in our home. Interestingly, helping my children with their reading has helped me slow down and focus in a whole different way! When a child is learning to pronounce letters and put them together, it’s imperative they have quiet space to hear their own voice and have the time needed to work through their trials before a correct pronunciation comes about. So, when I was looking at the word “purpose” and reflecting on the habit of “being purposeful”, I realized more fully the value of being intentional about how we spend our time. To exercise the habit of being purposeful really means choosing to do things with focus and attention on one thing, in the moment… like reading with a first grader!
I don’t know about you, but for me it’s rare that I am doing “just one thing in the moment.” As both a wife and mother of 3 kids between the ages of 12 and 4, and a professional counselor in private practice, I’m constantly multi-tasking. Hands down, the most peaceful times of my day are when I am sitting with a client with full attention on the issue of the hour and then again in the evening when I’m spending individual time reading to my child during their bedtime routine. Aha!! Two specific times where I dedicate my time solely to the experience of that time frame…WITH PURPOSE and intention!! And I don’t know for sure, but I’d be willing to bet that if you’re a parent reading this, you could use a healthy dose of PEACE too!
So how can you create time for yourself to be completely present for moments during your day? Let’s not shoot for the moon, here. How about we go for the low hanging fruit…being purposeful in activities we already do daily.
During your daily teeth brushing, try looking at your teeth in the mirror as you brush, noticing which tooth you are cleaning…one at a time. Avoid the temptation to walk around the house doing that “one more thing” while toothpaste is dripping from your lip and at least ¼ of your teeth are not getting clean.
As you shower, pay close attention to the feeling of the water on your hair, then your back and arms and so on….notice the look of the soap as it bubbles up in your hands before washing and notice what the soap smells like. Be attentive to the feel of washing your hair and scratching your scalp. As your attention floats away from what you’re doing in that moment and you begin fretting about your daily to do list, gently connect with what your senses are picking up on as you finish your shower and tune back in.
When you’re packing lunches, pack lunch. Avoid the temptation to butter toast and pour juice as you reach over the opened and partially filled lunch boxes while telling your child to do 3 tasks before everyone loads up in the car to head out the door.
One of my favorite parenting lines…”More is caught, than taught!” Our children are observing us carefully, moment to moment…just like when they are looking carefully at every letter in a word, to be sure they “get it right”. Let’s make it our mission to model for them how to be purposeful in what we do.
Ppp..pp.…purr…pus….. = Ppp..pp...PEACE!