Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Slow Down and Take Notice

Ah, how I love a good book. I've been steering clear of page-turner type novels, however, as once I'm hooked I simply cannot put such books down. These days, sleep is high on my list of priorities. I've been known to pull all nighters when engrossed in a great story!

My latest and greatest read is Calm and Compassionate Children - A Handbook by Susan Usha Dermond. It's chock full of practical suggestions and exercises to both create a calm environment for children and to promote kindness. Though this is something I feel our family has been working towards, there is always room for improvement. Mommy's latest "science experiment" involves the use of calming music. Dare I say it is working?! Perhaps the children really are more relaxed. Perhaps it is Mommy herself who is mellowing out and in a better frame of mind to deal with certain "issues" as they arise!

With two very active boys under my roof, I do work on providing a home environment that is relaxing and peaceful. Like most little ones, Chi-Chi and Muffy definitely have the ability to get a little wild and crazy on me. They also have an amazing ability to focus on something quietly and with great interest and intensity. I find it very interesting to observe these two contrasting states of mind, particularly in an outdoor setting. They do love to run about the yard freely, stretching their bodies and voices to capacity! On the other hand, I often witness them silently observing the nature that surrounds them, soaking up the sights, sounds and smells offered to their senses.

Such was the case yesterday when Chi-Chi and Muffy set off on a backyard exploration expedition. I was busy piling firewood while the little guys were investigating our gigantic mud puddle. Last summer we had some hurricane Juan clean up work done on the property. The machines left behind huge ruts in the earth. The heavy dose of rain this summer has turned the area in a bit of a backyard pond. The tiny ecosystem developing within these mud puddles is really quite remarkable. When I glanced over to check on the wee ones, I found them imobile, observing in complete silence (instead of throwing rocks as I had expected). They were sporting huge smiles on their grubby little faces as they had discovered two green frogs. Because they were in a calm and observant state, they were able to witness a beautiful creature first hand. This discovery lead to lots of questions which lead to lots of research, answers, stories and learning!

Dermond's book offers some very good exercises to assist children (and adults!) in achieving a calm, focused state, particularly in a nature setting. Her suggestions are something we could all benefit from as we zoom through day-to-day life. Who knows what sweet surprise is hiding right under your nose!

(As a side, I'm not in the habit of enforcing a blanket helmet policy around here. The kids on are and off their bicycles and skateboards constantly and sport the head protection on their own free will. Bring it on I say, you can never have too much head protection with these two!!)

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