Author: 

Susana Yee

Date: 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017
We live in the age of distraction. With technology, busy and hectic schedules, and constant multitasking, it always feels like I am distracted by something. Honestly, even as I was writing this article, I was distracted countless times.
 
However, life is constantly unfolding in the present. Time doesn’t stop for anyone. So often we allow the present to slip away, allowing time to rush by unobserved without seizing the moment, often wasting precious time as we worry about the past or the future. Being present means slowing down enough to actually notice moments we’re in. Like so many people, I’ve spent much of my life dwelling on the past or looking forward to something in the future that I’ve forgotten how to enjoy the here and now.
 
The first graders have currently been learning life lessons and morals through fables. After reading about the well-known race between the tortoise and the hare, the students learned the moral, “Slow and steady wins the race.” We’ve been talking about how to be happy with where you are now in this very moment—not being worried or distracted about what happened in the past or what will happen in the future, but instead to actually focus and be content with where we are now.
 
During this busy holiday season, I want to encourage you to take time to enjoy and cherish this moment in your children’s lives. We’ll never have another day exactly like this one again.
 
Here are some ideas of how to be more present with your children:
 
1. Create more space in your schedule: Allow time to just be, to rest, to create, to read, to connect, to be together, to be in nature, and to enjoy life.
 
2. Think about your breath: Get into THIS moment, and clear away space using the breath. Try having your child use a “breathing buddy” like a stuffed animal or a small stone. As they lie down on their back with their buddy on their belly, they can focus their attention on the rise and fall of the stuffed animal or stone as they breathe in and out.
 
3. Practice gratitude: Help your children develop gratitude as a way of thinking and being. Gratitude practices help us to be in the present, seeing what there is to be grateful for and focusing on that, rather than on what’s missing or still left to accomplish.
 
Susana Yee
First Grade Co-Teacher