On Becoming a Master of the Pause…


I just watched my 10 year old race out the door in a panic. She didn’t even come back when I questioned whether she’d remembered to pack the homework she so diligently completed last night. She was in a ‘tizzy’ you might say. It’s something my husband and I have been watching develop and are trying to come up with strategies to help her with..this anxiety about being late, not doing her best..etc. In fact, before she ran out the door I held her close and reassured her that she was fine, that the worst case scenario would be that I drove her to school today.

After she left my little one said ‘I’ll go check her desk quick, Mom’. ‘Thanks buddy, but she has to learn this lesson’, I replied, feeling very wise.

Then…it hit me. And I mean, it HIT ME. And, I’m trying not to load a pile of crappy feelings on top of this enlightened moment I just experienced, but if you’re a parent, you know that’s easier said than done.

What hit me was this not-so-distant memory of yesterday morning, when we were running out the door, late, to 3 dentist appointments for the kids. I was flustered (I’m being nice to myself) because my 2 younger ones had not gone and put their shoes and coats on as I’d asked and had spent at least 15 minutes being kids and goofing off and giggling. In other words..being happy kids. Thus, the reason we were late. So I had a rare moment of lecturing them on ‘how much you get, and how little I ask’ nonsense that did nothing but help me blow off steam and annoy them. But, the lesson is there right? I was acting panicked because we were going to be LATE…so why should it surprise me that my daughter would interpret that to mean that you act panicked and anxious when you might be late for something.

Now I’m questioning myself about just how often I send mixed signals to my kids, and what might be at the root of it. Today, I think it might be that I am rarely in the moment. I am almost always thinking about something that happened or something that might happen and scripting scenarios for what I could have done differently, or what I might do should the situation arise. Now, I don’t think I own this problem. It’s pretty obvious if you walk through the personal growth section of the bookstore or watch Oprah’s network that we are all working hard at NOT being in the moment. But, I would like to have less of this problem. Not only because it would be good for my mental, spiritual and physical health. But, because it would be GREAT for my children, my husband and the other people I’m in relationship with.

So, I’m working today to start ‘mastering the pause’. Taking time in each moment to really BE in the moment. Pause before responding or reacting to things…and, I think most importantly for me; pausing before I play out those scenarios in my mind. What if..just what if I gave each moment it’s due attention? What if I gave other people, all the time, the benefit of the doubt before writing stories in my mind? What if I paused before responding to my kids..long enough to notice them BEING kids. How would my life change? What about you?……..



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