A Day Off or a School Day? It’s What Is in Front of Me.

Is today a day-off? It’s the question my son asked right away after giving me a tired smile at 6:15 a.m.

He is only four years old yet he flipped his body back down on the bed after learning that the answer was no. It’s a school and work day. How is he not excited for all of life’s offerings at his age?

I wonder where is he getting this moan-and-groan sense of dread for school? When him in action in pre-school class, he seems to enjoy the time. He loves bringing home art and showing off his latest creations. He has good friends and loving teachers.

Maybe it’s my relentless urge to leave as early as I am able, so I can be to work on time? Maybe it’s my nagging to get dressed and get you out the door? Maybe it’s leftover from generations of hard working factory, punch-the-clock, industrial age workers? Maybe I’m over thinking things?

I’m grateful for what I have. Most of the time. I may be a perfectionist, but I haven’t hit 100% in this arena (or any arena for that matter). Out of my countless inspirational books and “live your best life” books, all of them stress the importance of gratitude.

The truth is I’m so grateful to have healthy children. Yet, I push for more and more. More money. More car (my four-door compact is getting tight). Better behavior. A cleaner house. It’s a challenge for me to focus on what is in front of me.

And so I want to share a reading titled “Don’t Make It Harder Than It Needs to Be” from The Parent’s Tao Te Ching that helped me put things in perspective the other evening:

Everyone wants to be a wise parent
but few choose this path.
This is unfortunate
for it is an easy path,
filled with joy
and with many rewards.
But it is easy to become sidetracked.
Distractions are everywhere.
As the external pressures mouth
be sure to notice what occurs.

Do you pursue career advancement
while your children choose harmful paths?
Do you buy expensive toys
to medicate your feelings
while your children become
lost in the clutter?
Do you sink into depression
while your children hunger for joy?

Don’t make parenting harder that it needs to be.
It only requires focus.
Worry is not focus.
Attempting to control is not focus.
Distracting yourself is not focus.
Relaxed, non-fretful, attention
to what is in front of you
right now,
is focus.
What is in front of you right now?
No, not your worries or frets,
what is right here,
right now?

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