Remember to Be A More Mindful Dad This Father's Day
Todd King, Smiling Mind
Becoming a ‘Mindful Dad’ didn’t happen overnight.
It took years of life experience for me to realise that if we are not truly present or experiencing every little bit of life as it happens – we are missing out on some of the greatest moments that life can throw at us – especially those delivered to us by our children.
I must confess that I am not a new dad, I consider myself an ‘old hat’ in this space…having had two children in a previous relationship but in the experience of having another recently, I have become more mindful than ever.
I now, can definitely say that I’m adhering to the adage that I have finally chosen to ‘look at life through a child’s eyes’ and it is richly rewarding, sometimes mesmerizing.
Never have I enjoyed the smell of my son’s breath so much (I would run a mile just for a fix) the sound of his gurgle, the softness of his skin. Never have I been so present in every little bit of his life and fatherhood this time around is a far richer experience as a result.
THE MINDFUL CHILD
I don’t know if anyone reading this has experienced this situation before, but a simple 100m walk with a two year old can take up to three hours. They observe everything, touch everything, ask a myriad of questions about anything, and provide insights into the world that we as adults just don’t experience at the same conscious level. It is as if the whole world is magnified for them. They actually ‘smell the roses’, find beauty in a rock, or even a banal piece of bark. They jump into the rain, and dance through the world like nobody is watching. This is mindfulness at its very core and we can learn from them.
WE ARE ALL MINDFUL IN THE END
At the other end of the spectrum, I have been in the presence of death on five occasions and witnessed first hand the final breath of four of my immediate family members. These were pivotal moments in my life and provided me with a great insight into what seemed to be the most important aspects of the human condition. Taking the time to experience life’s little things more, being fully present to a conversation and listening better were some of their regrets.
They also spoke longingly of their greatest memories. Sharing moments with their family, the feeling of the sun on their back, an ocean breeze, their favorite food and the laughter of children – not just their own. Again, this is mindfulness at it’s core, and we can learn from them.
BE MINDFUL THAT LIFE MOVES FAST
What happens in between the ‘child’ and the dying’? What becomes of us as adults in the middle years? How many of us get so caught up in the past or begin to worry about the future that we seem to lose sight of these great moments unraveling before us every day?
Have you ever been guilty of not really listening to your children because you were ‘multitasking’, concerned about finances, the football, work or planning for the days ahead?
Do you remember the last time you truly shared in a pivotal moment in your child’s lives? Did you experience their first breath or the look on their face when they had their first bath? Do you remember their baby smell and the exquisite sweetness of their breath? Do you remember how they lost their first tooth, their first step, the first day of school? How present were you really in all of these moments?
When you consciously decide to become a more mindful father, these experiences become the very fabric of your being. They stick with you forever and become part of your story so when they have left home and not such a big part of your life anymore, you don’t have a pang of regret in not experiencing them entirely. You can rest assured that you drank all of them in, that you were there, that you enjoyed some of the simplest and grandest experiences in life that you can take with you every day, until your last.