My favorite parenting book is The Parents’ Tao te Ching. If you’ve been in one of my classes or read one of my emails, you are familiar with the title and have heard its wisdom over and over again. I read the very first reading once, 6 years ago, and fell in love with it to the point that I carry a copy to every class I teach and reference it weekly in these emails.
In that first reading, parents are encouraged to ‘go for a slow and mindful walk’ with their children and that’s something I had the opportunity to do today.
The air was crisp and cold. The sky, a pale but bright blue. The earth muddy and wet. Two toddlers (and a parent each in tow) and a wagon. There was the simple pleasure of being pulled, stretched completely out, in a wagon that rumbled along…and the pleasure of having the strength to pull that wagon along, navigating bumps and corners. There was laughter and delight in ducking under a canopy of tree branches and digging fingers into the muddy earth. There was the scent of flowering trees and the hum of bees. There was joy and delight in splashing unabashedly in deep, cold puddles of water. There was slow exploration and examination of the water, the stones, the mud…the soaking of socks and pant legs, the sensation of walking barefoot into cold gritty puddles. There were dips of fingers and examinations of reflections in still puddles. There was running and running and running, discovering puddle after puddle…and examination of wet footprints on concrete. There were rocks to sort and dig, empty shoes to fill with heavy stones and carry, fences to climb, and curbs to balance on. There were negotiations over explorations and agendas and social salvos to consider and respond to…or not. There were solitary explorations and coordinated ones. There was no agenda, no curriculum. There were no lessons to teach, but lessons were surely learned.
Have a peaceful weekend,
1. Words of Life
You can speak to your children of life,
but your words are not life itself.
You can show them what you see,
but your showing and their seeing
are forever different things.
You cannot speak to them of Divinity Itself.
But you can share with them
the millions of manifestations of this Reality
arrayed before them every moment.
Since these manifestations have their origin
in the Tao,
the visible will reveal the invisible to them.
Don’t mistake your desire to talk
for their readiness to listen.
Far more important are the wordless truths they learn from you.
If you take delight in the ordinary wonders of life,
they will feel the depth of you pleasure
and learn to experience joy.
If you walk with them in the darkness of life’s mysteries
you will open the gate of understanding.
They will learn to see in the darkness
and not be afraid.
Go for a slow mindful walk.
Show them every little thing that catches your eye.
Notice every little thing that catches theirs.
Don’t look for lessons or seek to teach great things.
The lesson will teach itself.