Do you ever feel like you live life just thinking about what’s next? Do you find yourself rushing all the time? If we have a hard time with this as adults, what does it mean to be “present” for our children? In this busy world of technology, we don’t often have a free moment to just sit and enjoy. We usually take those moments to check email, text a friend, check facebook or browse the internet. Once I started learning about mindfulness, these habits didn’t stop, I just started to become more aware of how much I was doing them!
What Does It Mean To Be Present? by Rana DiOrio is an excellent book for children to begin learning the everyday joys of being present in the moment. This beautifully illustrated book introduces the idea of being present by asking “What does it mean to be present?” Does it mean showing up in class? No! Does is mean wrapping yourself up? No!”, etc. The examples that the author offers regarding being present is listening carefully when other people are speaking, noticing when someone needs help and focusing on what’s happening in the here and now. The author emphasizes the joy of cuddling with your dog, savoring each bite of food and being grateful for your loved ones. The book also emphasizes how “mistakes is how we learn and grow” which can be comforting for those children who always want to achieve perfection.
I love this book because it explains being “present” in a way that both younger and older children can understand. I think as adults we can all benefit from this book because it’s easy to live each day in a rush and harder for many to take a deep breath and slow it down. Being a “rusher” myself, it has been a journey for me to take a deep breath, slow down and enjoy the moment. It’s something that each day I try to work on and some days are better than others. If we live every day in a rush, then our children will always be in a rush. As parents, reading a book such as this one might be able to slow us down a bit, enjoy the world around us and most importantly the beautiful family that we have.
1. Explain the multiple meanings of the word “present”.
2. Ask your child how he or she feels when someone is listening to them.
3. Discuss what your child appreciates about each member of their family.
4. Discuss ways of staying more patient when taking a turn.
5. When eating your meal together, eat slower and discuss what your child likes about the food. Work on describing and commenting such as “The chicken tastes crunchy and warm”.
6. Discuss the weather outside and how it makes him/her feel.
7. Discuss your own feelings about being “present” and what you appreciate and enjoy about being with your family.
To learn more about the author, Rana DiOrio and her other books, click here.
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