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How Do We Teach Our Children to Mind?

Mindfulnessmind [mahynd] – verb (without object)

  1. to be in a state of awareness;
  2. to take notice, observe, or understand;
  3. to care or feel concern.

Sunday, leaving the Go! St. Louis Marathon:  We are at a stop light, where a homeless lady stands.  The light turns green and we roll up to her and give her some snacks we had with us. 

By all accounts, it was a rolling stop.  And the lady behind us, honks!  My girls are taken back and do not understand why this lady would honk at me when I was doing a “good deed.”  (They had just completed the Read, Right, Run Marathon, and good deeds were all the talk). 

For the next 3 stop lights, this lady guns it at the green and we pull up next to her at the red again.  I ask my girls, “Should I get out and talk with her.”  “But why, mommy?”  They ask, clearly concerned for my safety.  “She must need a friend,” I suggest.

We talk about the homeless lady, the food we gave her, and where she might sleep tonight.  We talk about the lady that honked at us, where she must be going in such a hurry, and all that stress and nothing gained.

Same day, five minutes later:  We are discussing lunch.  We are hot and hungry, probably a little tired too.  My girls were debating, and eventually crying, over mac n’ cheese at Panera Bread versus Boston Market. 

I am not upset; I do raise my voice.  I simply state, “I am sad that we just gave food to a homeless lady, we are blessed to have the option to go out to eat, and we are crying over mac n’ cheese.”  No more words were spoken, we drove home in mindfulness.

Dad had lunch for us when we got home.  The girls shared the story of the homeless lady and the honker lady, and laughed as they told dad that they were crying over mac n’ cheese. 

The point of this story is that in less than 10 minutes, there were several opportunities to teach my children to mind. 

  • the awareness of the homeless and hungry
  • the art of giving
  • the stress of rushing
  • the heart of gratitude

In everything we do and say, we teach our children to mind or not mind.  What is your child’s mindfulness saying about you?

If there is anything we wish to change in the child, we should examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.  ~C.G.  Jung, 1939

Cultivating Love & Peace,


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Other articles about parental influence you may enjoy:

Why I Gave Up the f Word

I am Putting Limits on the Pacifier

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