On Being Still, for You and Your Children

I am the proud mother of a very willful, extremely intelligent three-year-old girl. Lately she has been going through a difficult (for all of us) phase of testing and tantrums. She demands what she knows she cannot have, attempts to boss her father and me, and either screams or mutters “You don’t tell me what to do.” Needless to say, we are feeling challenged here in the Phillips house.

Yesterday my need to use the bathroom threw my daughter into an inconsolable crying spell. Rather than explain to her why I need to use the bathroom or why she is being irrational, I simply used the bathroom, came out, and quietly scooped her up. I brought her to the couch where she looked at me, continuing to (force herself to) cry, waiting. Eventually she went to her room, got her favorite blanket, and returned to me. She nestled in my arms and fell asleep. 

As I held my beautiful daughter in my arms and watched the pines outside our windows sway in the breeze, I thought about how busy we tend to be as a family and how hard we try to keep our daughter engaged and entertained. This seems to have taken a real toll on my daughter, who like me, needs quiet time to rest and collect herself. While it has taken me years to realize and accept this, my daughter is still trying to fight the need for being present and therefore peaceful.

According to my dad, my great grandmother sat for 20 minutes in her living room daily and did nothing but be present. This wise practice is now being instituted in my home, for the good of my daughter and myself. I recommend doing the same for the rest and renewal of your own family, as a break from our busy, bustling culture. 

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